"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Betsy DeVos and the Future of the American Educational System

At POLITICO Magazine, Zack Stanton has a very readable piece titled How Betsy DeVos Used God and Amway to Take Over Michigan Politics.

A more useful title might have been: "How Does One Reform the U.S. Educational System? Is the Charter School Option Championed by Betsy DeVos a Viable K-12 Reform Alternative?"

We ourselves do not look at the American educational system politically.

Indeed, we think that the USA still leads the world in the quality of its top colleges and universities. That ranking, however, is the result of institutional money investment in education at the highest levels of teaching and research.

Things do not look that good in the public school systems, however, and we share an opinion about American K-12 public schools that we have heard from German foreign exchange students when they return to Germany to tell about their educational experiences in the USA.

Needless to say, the opinions we have heard about the educational level of some American public high schools have sometimes been nothing short of devastating. We say "some" and "sometimes" because there are of course also shining exceptions. But they are not the rule.

A public education system can not be based on wishful thinking. If the overall results are not as high as they should be, then the system and its priorities must be changed as quickly as possible.

Just consider for a moment what American society currently values in their educational system.

The highest-paid public employee in 39 US states is either a football or men's basketball coach! That tells us something important about our priorities.

We are by no means against athletics in education, quite the contrary.

We champion Stanford University regularly for its top college athletic program. See Reigning Champion Stanford University Leads the Division I Learfield Directors’ Cup Fall Standings for College Athletics.

But that athletic ranking corresponds to Stanford's academic ranking as well.

Mind, body and spirit must ALL be amply promoted by the educational system. There is still a long way to go to reach that objective for everyone.

Change is in the air, and change is necessary.