A High-Stakes Feedback Loop
There are twin, parallel forces slowly severing learning from American education.
If it seems contradictory that “learning” could somehow be separate from “education” (one is the purpose of the other), consider that standards for credentialing overwhelmingly rely on time spent in an educational environment (school attendance) and discrete performance indicators (standardized tests). Possibly no one explains the fundamental gap in our priorities more eloquently than Sir Ken Robinson in his TED Talk.
Despite their best efforts, neither of these measures of education guarantees learning; more alarmingly, neither is immune to the interference of grade inflation and school athletics. Continue reading
The ubiquity and glamour of wine does a good job of hiding it, but vineyards—where the grapes are grown and any wine gets its start—are actually a pretty precarious investment.
It isn’t enough to know that people are passionate about wine, that demand is high, or that wineries have a need for large volumes of grapes—to make it as a vineyard, you need a strong reputation. You need winemakers to have confidence and trust in your ability to produce reliable quantities of grapes at a consistent level of quality, and with a consistent character. Their pride of process means high expectations for those they do business with.
Sustainability is not merely an environmental ambition, focused on EPA-administered programs and “small footprint” tips and tricks for changing lifestyles. Sustainability, literally, is about doing things in a way that ensures they can continue to be done indefinitely.
School is definitely not out, and it never will be again.
Education does not–and cannot–occur in clean, distinct segments. The realities of modern workplaces, employment practices, and economics all demand that education be continuous. What this spells is a massive transformation of the old legacy institutions–primarily, universities–as working and learning overlap and interact in more, and more significant, ways.
The modern economy has no real respect for degrees—other than demanding at least a Bachelors for every position and from every applicant.
Higher education in America has become confused with trade school: everything from four-year computer science degrees to Masters-level management schools are concerned with occupational education. They are advertised as the necessary link between academic life and employment: high schoolers take jobs; college graduates enter careers.