Please Share My Passion For Education!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Education Reform - It is time to change! Now!

January 1st, 2014

We cannot keep going on like this.

I understand that school was set up for the Industrial Age in order to create compliant factory workers.  I understand that those jobs are disappearing.  After talking with over 100 community members and business owners I realize that students need to be able to communicate, collaborate, think critically and be creative.  I know that they have to get much better at technology.  The ironic thing, is that it is now 2014 and they are not required to get better at any of these things.  There are still many classes out there that consist of lectures, rote memorization, and standardized tests that measure questions at the lowest level of Bloom's taxonomy.  The internet was invented and education did not flinch.  What is happening?  I want to go to school every day and look each student in the eyes and tell them that I am doing everything I can in order for them to be successful and reach their potential.  Success and potential are not measured with grades, percentages, and class rankings.  I am sure of it.

In a world with crazy high divorce rates, college & high school dropout rates, suicide rates, escalating diagnoses of mental disorders, the breakdown of the tight-knit family, high unemployment rates, etc.... we should start looking at the problem and trying to determine a solution.  I propose that a solution may be educating people to be critical thinkers, creative problem solvers, lifelong learners, good communicators and collaborators, good listeners and question-askers.  I do not care if someone knows the 8th president of the United States, the year an ancient war was fought in, the molecular steps of photosynthesis, how to solve for x in a quadratic equation, or how to identify the plot and theme of old books that kids hate.

Take a look at a typical semester exam at a school.  What are they "assessing" our students on?  If you are an adult, how would you do on those tests?  Why?  Does it matter?

Critical thinking, creativity, altruism, the ability to "learn how to learn", enthusiasm, responsibility, organization, are all things that can be taught.  Maybe it is time we require schools to throw away the flashcards and memorization exams and start teaching these skills.

Nothing is going to get done unless you start demanding that it gets done.  I don't care if you are an administrator, teacher, parent, student, community member, business owner, or whoever..... you need to step up and demand a change in education.  If you are waiting for politicians to change education for you, good luck with that.  It isn't going to happen.  You, as an individual can help.  Together, we can make a difference.  I believe that the kids deserve this.

It is 2014.  Please do something.  If you have a counterargument I would love to hear it.  I am an open-minded person who is confused.  Please either react or act.

If there is any way that I can help, please let me know!

Oliver Schinkten
Twitter @schink10
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Blogs:  LEARN ON


  1. Great post! I have a lot of the same thoughts and get frustrated when I bring these things up with other teachers, family members, or friends, and I get labeled as a radical. They defend the status quo. The status quo that is not helping our kids succeed in this world. Sometimes it's hard to be so passionate about something, but at the same time, so powerless. I like your call to action. We need to make waves and get our voices heard in numbers.

    1. Thank you for the reply, Timothy! I agree, it is EXTREMELY frustrating when others think you are being too radical or outside the box when you bring up these points. It is obviously going to take some tough work to change the culture of education, but it has to happen! Make waves! Be heard! Please let me know if there is anything I can help with.

  2. Thanks for this post. I am on the same page with you. I have a son that school just does not address his strengths on communicating verbally and self directed project work. The "No Child Left Behind" has left many children, teachers and parents behind.

    1. Thank you for the comment! There are so many students that are not considered "successful" by schools because they are not good at playing the "Game of School". This is so sad. I see this daily. It is frustrating when you have tremendously skilled students at things such as creativity, speaking, athletics, etc... but they are not viewed as "good students" because the "Game of School" (which isn't relevant anywhere outside of school) isn't their strength.

      I hope that businesses and organizations start to find ways to hire the most passionate, hardest working, willing learners who have the specific skill set they need, instead of choosing only from those who have sleepwalked their way to a "degree".

      We should start a program called "IT IS THE 21st Century - NO SCHOOL LEFT BEHIND"

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