Some Discussion

Yesterday Barbara and I had a discussion about some of the things I wrote.  Concerning the point I made about how much I value a good education and hard work, she asked me how about those people that have a degree and can't find a good job?  Fair question.  How could I restore the feeling that the end of the rainbow is out there when in some cases it isn't?  Just because I found a career path that was good for me, is that same thing out there for all? 

I have to admit that I am shaped by my own experience and I have been a little  "One Size Fits All" in its application.  I was blessed to be one of those tall people that found success a lot.  Was my success amplified by my height or just congruent to the amount of hard work I put in every job I had?  In my lifetime I was fired from only one job and my moving from job to job was almost always the result of a desire I had to change.  Perhaps I was good at reading the tea leaves and realistic and left some jobs when I knew the end was near.  The best example of that was the Army.  In 1969, I was a 1st Lieutenant and could have made Captain on Active Duty but I did not have a degree and pretty well knew that there would be a reduction in force when the lower needs for officers because of the slow down in Vietnam kicked in.  I decided that going back to school was possible and the quickest way towards finding a career that would last the rest of my life. 

Barbara and I discuss education - a lot.  One of the biggest concerns I have is the lack of change in processes they use.  Where is the feedback loop that tells the educators what the hell they should be teaching in the first place?  I read that if you go to College to get a Computer Science Degree today, in the four years you are in school, 50% of what you will learn will be obsolete because of the changing technology.  I feel that was probably the way it was for a Business Degree except that I'm not sure that they taught me one thing I used in my career after I graduated.  I learned a lot, but not that much that really made me successful.  I guess I just kept applying that dumb thing called "Hard Work" in all my jobs and kept that up until they told me to go home.  

One of the things I also struggle with today is all the testing they are doing.  Why do they stop teaching and test.  I think an evaluation procedure needs to be incorporated in every step of the process and keep moving forward with the learning.  I guess I was blessed by being able to learn a lot on my own and felt that test taking was so easy for me that it was stupid.  In my perfect world, students would be given a lesson, have it evaluated and back briefed.  I would reteach the shortcomings and move on to the next topic.  I would conduct a review weekly and adjust what was needed to be retaught and reviewed.  I think the testing required today gets in the way of learning not compliments it.  

The other day, one of the news services gave us the statistic that a very large percentage of 8th graders could not read at grade level.  If there was one thing that helped me more than anything else in life it was the ability to read.  I  personally think that what you learn up to about the fifth grade is unimportant compared to the ability to read.  If you can read, the ability to learn is a door open for the rest of your life.  If there was one available, I had my face in a book a lot as a child.  I hated school except for the fact that it gave me a lot of good books to read.  I can't tell you how many times I would read the textbook for history or science once at the beginning of the year and never look at it again.  I could pass with a lot of D's and didn't worry about it until much later.  

One of the other skills I would focus on was problem solving and planning.    I would introduce the models to kids and have them use those models in all areas not just science.  I would focus on the how to's and let them find ways to use it. 

Oh well, enough of the day shot.  I am now moving on.  I'm not sure but at least it will be not here.



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