Well Informed People

“…wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government…” Thomas Jefferson, 8 January, 1789

Thomas Jefferson has been called, “The first Libertarian” also, Theodore Roosevelt called him a “slippery demagogue.” Ironic isn’t it? Two granite faces next to each other for the rest of time, and yet so opposite in thinking? I do, however, think that if there were one thing Thomas, and Theodore would agree upon it is education.

Today we talk about education reform almost as soon as education is mentioned. It’s as if nearly every American knows something needs to be done. I recently asked friends of mine what they would do if they were tasked with reforming education, and most people agreed: more money! Pay the teachers a higher salary, get the children more supplies, and make sure that funding is equal amongst all of the schools. I would have agreed with them six months ago, but you know, it’s not class sizes, and lack of tools that holds the U.S.A. down at number 16 on the list of education systems.

We have failed to realize that education only meets a specific number of students’ abilities to learn, now, before you light your torches, and sharpen your pitchforks I ask you to wait just a moment. I am not saying that our children can’t learn what we try to teach them, I am saying it is the method.  We need to find out what method each student learns best with, and teach them using those styles.

I am not promoting pigeon holing students to one method or another, I am not saying our teachers don’t need an increase in pay, what I am saying is that I would have learned so much better had my teachers given me my lesson’s in alternative ways. I feel I would have done astoundingly better had I been given a single real world problem, then asked to find a solution using whatever materials I had available. I would have combined reading, practicality, testing, scientific method, and logic into my own lessons.

That would not have worked for my foster brother, I won’t give you his name, but I see how my brother learns, and I think that if, given a set of schematics he could have figured out any mechanical issue much faster than myself. Now certainly there are things each student should know, and I am not an educator so I have only cursory experience. I am just saying that our education system has some fundamental issues, and I hope that those can be explored long before we decide that the best solution is simply money.