Change.gov has invited Americans to share their vision of what America can be. Here is our response:
Education, in all forms, affects/influences every other major issue. The short term educational issues that face this country are vast and varied. The decision process will be difficult, and there will be no free lunch. However, the educational system (primary, secondary, & postsecondary) are in dire need of a shift – one that is focused on the long-term.
By simply changing the way Americans interact on/about/with educational institutions, the country can align the entire education system more closely with what is most important to Americans. The highest cost of this effort is time – it requires time and attention from millions of Americans to be effective.
Government regulation is meant to be expansive and rigorous – thus it is slow and not able to quickly change or launch new initiatives. Government, from federal to local, must collaborate with independent vehicles to foster an environment where change is more effective. Government alone cannot tackle the long-term educational change needed to reinvigorate American pride & ingenuity in academics.
The steps needed to shift the status quo:
- Empower the People / Give them a Voice
- Provide a Place for Discourse
- Build Collective Intelligence
- Share the Knowledge
Empowering parents, students, and alumni brings an almost immediate transparency to the education system. This can result in a real sense of accountability for students, teachers, and the educational institutions themselves. This transparency also spreads the burden upon everyone involved, from students to schools.
Over time and with encouragement, the voices of parents and students will become an invaluable asset. Allowing open discussions and conversations will foster new ideas and push for responsible decisions by people and institutions. Activism by a majority of concerned parents/students will also impact apathetic parents/students who are less interested, less invested.
Collective intelligence already exists. It still needs to be directed, harnessed, and shared. This is where government especially needs to collaborate with others to more effectively support and channel the voices of parents and students.
By leveraging technology and ingenuity, the government and the people can create a powerful force that cannot be diminished by special interests or entrenched lobbyists.
In the long run, the American educational system will benefit greatly from an environment that demands more responsibility and more accountability.