Saturday, June 18, 2005

Public education would work if the customer would change

The Greenville News editorialist Nell Stewart could not have more clearly highlighted the innovator's dilemma in public education.

Public schools are designed for children of middle income, educated parents. It is assumed that parents will be active in the PTA, will be close partners with their children's teachers, and will do hours of homework with their children when they get home.

But what if parents either can not or will not be as active in their children's education as middle income, educated parents?

Nell's solution is the parents must change. "All of us must be responsible for our own actions, and effectively help others to accept their own responsibility."

Failing organizations usually blame the customer. You hear, "Customers don't' get it - there is no way we can do it for that cost ... or in that time frame ... or at that level of quality. If customers would only change we could be successful."

No where in Nell's editorial is there any suggestion that the model of delivering education must change. No where does Nell appreciate that who is likely to identify novel new ways of delivering innovative education are educational entrepreneurs. No where does Nell appreciate that entrepreneurs have no opportunity to do what only they can do best in the current system; that to have fundamentally better public education, we need new and innovative methods of delivering education to those poorly served by the current system.

Until we understand that and act on it, we won't make the progress we need to in becoming more globally competitive as a community.

No comments: