America has been on a sugar rush for almost 2 years now. The $787 Billion stimulus bill passed right after President Obama took office is now running out. The extra $100 Billion passed last year for education is running out. The massive 30 year education bubble is about to pop. Basically it’s time for states to pay the piper.
This is going to involve what every other person in America has had to do already; spend less money. It is silly to think that government should somehow be immune from this. Since most education is run by the government, they will have to cut also.
But from where? How? Tom Vander Ark suggests a few ideas in this article listed below. There will be many things passes around for cuts but in the end the only thing that matters is labor costs. If there isn’t a serious attempt to cut the number of people required to provide education then nothing will change. Since schools currently are based on a factory model, how have factories in this country reduced costs with technology? In three ways: computer technology, automation and outsourcing. These are all going to come to education too.
Factories were able to get rid of a lot of administration by using modern computer programs. The days of the typing pool are long gone. Schools will need to drastically reduce their administration costs by eliminating positions that aren’t getting a good return on investment.
Factories replaced many workers with robots. If your job involves something that doesn’t involve thinking, you will be replaced by a computer. Teachers already use scantron machines but much of their time is spent just grading and assessing their students. In addition, they waste lots of time each day in presenting material in class which could be done online while the student is at home. With blended learning, students spend less time at school and more time learning online. This will allow each teacher to handle more students, and yet work in smaller groups with more time for individual attention.
The job a teacher does every day will be split up into many pieces. Some of these pieces you will still need a teacher in the classroom to handle, but many of them will not. For example, if a student is having trouble figuring out why their math problem is wrong, you don’t need the teacher to answer that. The student could connect online with someone anywhere in the world and get the answer immediately. Teachers would then get a report of this contact the next day so they can keep track of what is happening. Teachers are going to be expected to deal with more students, and yet do better with each one. Technology will make that possible.
All these things are going to happen. The reason it hasn’t happened so far is because the funding for the current system was artificially propped up. This coming back down to reality is going to force changes in the system, mostly for the better I think.
Party’s over folks.
Comments are invited!