Saturday, August 20, 2022

what should schools teach part 2: key questions and trade offs

why funding students not systems is the best choice for today and how it sets up the best tomorrow

 this is a companion piece to the earlier school choice article. if you have not, you should read that first.

..... the minute we create some “accreditation board” for allowable school spending, we’ve lost the game again and surrendered the framing of “what may the children be taught?” back to the state by creating a new commanding heights of educational control and guild erection. you’ve just ceded control to a different group of even less accountable bureaucrats. this seems ill poised to work any better than what we have and could easily wind up worse.

......all schools will need to compete for kids and because they are exposed to consumer sovereignty be forced to get better. fast. because the other schools will be and those that fail to keep up to rapidly improving standards are not going to last long. and they’ll get taken over by people that DO know how to run a school.

what makes a good school? it’s one to which students want to go and parents want to send them.. period. you decide, they compete to provide what you want.

and kids will have to up their game too. schools will not have to take them. if they are disruptive or fail to do the work, schools can simply say “no thanks.” the hostage situation that pertains today will no longer exist. and the benefit to the rest of the kids who just want to learn will be vast.

but the real the grand benefit here will be both specialization and optimization. you’ll get general schools, science academies, arts and performing arts schools, schools for math, schools for engineering and computers and for skilled trades.

the classic high school is just not a great fit for many kids. they have other interests and desires. and forcing them to be there helps no one. maybe they want to learn to code or to fix cars. maybe they do want a classic run of college preparatory work. maybe they want it but at much higher levels. maybe they just want to apprentice in a skilled trade and classes on how to run a small business, something that damn near no high schools teach in any practical/applied fashion. (which is absurd) we could have schools with intellectual curricula, tactile learning strategies, applied activities, career training, and who knows what else?

we could experiment. we could learn what works and what serves the students and have a real “skin in the game vote with your attendance” mechanism to validate it.

what’s a better use of $60k in spending for high school, for a kid that does not want to be there? sitting in class bored and disruptive or learning to be an electrician and accruing money that could be used to start a business when they turn 18?

what benefits them? (and let’s face it, we could use A LOT more skilled tradespeople around here)