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Saturday, May 24, 2014
How to improve Education?
This post is a deviation from my usual.It is written in response to Julia McIntosh who
put forward a June question for ASQ Influential Voices.Enjoy.
One of the advantages of participating in ASQ is
that it crosses all the industry and professional borders.In ASQ we have the opportunity to think about
and apply our common interest of Quality in the broadest variety of subjects
and situations.I think we call that being
engaged in the world around us.
My personal interest in Education is much more at
the adult end of the scale and in particular continuing education in the arena
of healthcare.To be honest, my kids are
well beyond school age, and when they were involved in school, my wife was much
more engaged than me.It would be far to
say that I am not an expert or an authority in the area of Quality and primary
and secondary Education.But that does
not mean that I am without opinion.
Being from Canada, I am pleased with our record of
OECD performance, but also recognize that we too have a ways-to-go to improve
our schools.In comparison to the United
States, I note that on the aggregate Canadian schools and students do better,
but as an observer of successes of the American side of my family (my mother
was from Kentucky) I think that it is probably still true that our education
performance falls within a fairly narrow band, above the OECD average, while the US
performance is much broader with more higher peaks and and unfortunately more lower valleys.
of students and schools does appear to have a powerful influence on
2.Regardless of their own
socio-economic background, students attending schools with a socio-economically
advantaged intake tend to perform better than those attending schools with more
3.Across OECD countries,
first-generation students – those who were born outside the country of
assessment and who also have foreign-born parents – score, on average, 52 score
points below students without an immigrant background
4.Successful school systems
– those that perform above average and show below-average socio-economic
inequalities – provide all students, regardless of their socio-economic
backgrounds, with similar opportunities to learn.
5.Schools with better disciplinary climates, more positive behaviour
among teachers and better teacher-student relations tend to achieve higher
scores in reading.
And in my mind, most importantly…
6.In all countries, students who enjoy reading the most perform
significantly better than students who enjoy reading the least.
My first comment here is that from the OECD
perspective, there is a lot of room for finger pointing at those who design and
administer education, those who work within it and students and their
families.Put in the terms of ISO and Crosby, Education does not appear to be "meeting requirements" for many, or perhaps, hardly anyone.
And maybe within that group
there are some apathetic students and teachers and administrators who think
that “good enough” is indeed good enough, but on first glance the issues seem to be a lot
bigger and maybe a little less petty.
The message to me is that large and powerful
structural issues abound with socioeconomic statues, single parents, ESL, teacher
engagement, and the student desire to read.
And that is what concerns me.The
aforementioned are “big ticket items” that require and demand a lot of thought
on how to address and focus on better schools, better teachers, more societal
wealth stable families and more engaged students who love to read.
These are not issues that Qualitologists are
going to solve.
These are big issues that must be addressed in the arena of
engaged and honest brokers; debate devoid of party politics, and unions, and media
bias.These are not the sort of issues that go
away tomorrow, or next month.OECD
measures time in decades and multiple decades, and that makes sense to me.This is about LONG TERM commitment and
resources and vision. This requires acknowledgement that “Baby Steps” are part
of an important path forward, but certainly not the goal.
So upon reflection, maybe Michelle Rhee is
part of the solution.Maybe the first
step has to be the understanding that “success” will ONLY be found when we
understand acknowledge demand and accept that “Good Enough” will never be good