Learning the Right Way


Although our nation is frequently considered the Land of Opportunity, there is plenty wrong with that statement. One of the biggest issues that our generation has faced and future generations will face is the idea of education, and how to improve educational system in what we like to think of as the greatest country in the world. The problem that we see in education simply is that we are straggling behind other nations; test scores may demonstrate this, but we can look beyond test scores and still see how our students are going through our educational system from elementary school to high school without the skills nor the opportunities to excel in a career and in their lives in general. That lack of skills and opportunities is what I hope to discuss in this blog, and the reason I care so much is because the idea of being a teacher and working with youth has always interested me – we are building the next generation of thinkers.

There are systemic causes of this education problem that we face, as well as consistent changes over time that have altered the way schools approach education. It is abundantly clear that those who are living in poverty do not receive the same opportunities for primary schooling as those who are more fortunate in terms of wealth, and this is a systemic issue that needs to be fixed. In areas where poverty is abundant, you can see entire neighborhoods with kids who don’t go to school because parents either cannot afford it, or do not care enough to ensure their children are enrolled. Even for kids who are enrolled, their ability to perform in school is hindered by the fact of what is going on at home (such as the family’s struggle for obtaining sufficient food) as well as the lack of support in the schools, whether that is from low-quality teachers or low-quality technology in the classroom. This has become the norm as school districts in low-income areas fall behind while other districts in affluent areas don’t give a second glance. The other reason for poor education in my mind is the lack of skills being transferred to students. If we want to have creative students who are thinkers that will solve problems in the future, then we need to give them the opportunity to do so first in school so that they won’t be stuck simply memorizing facts and forgetting them by the next week of class.

So despite these problems that have gone on for quite a while, there are some solutions to ease us in the right direction over the next few decades. Investing in teachers is the first step in remedying this problem. Higher pay for teachers and ensuring the quality of our teachers will allow the educational process to excel for our students, both in and out of the classroom, and will pay its own dividends in the future. Furthermore, to aid some of the systemic issues, the inequality gap is a major issue that needs to be worked on. These families need to be able to sustain themselves, so that students will have the support from their families at home and eventually from the faculty and facilities within the school. Business solutions that could be a part of this process, some of which are already in place, are companies that partner with schools, either nationally or locally, to help give the schools what they need. This could range from materials and equipment to food for school lunches or events.

So yes, I do think that businesses can be utilized successfully to solve social issues. However, as we have read about in this week’s readings, social entrepreneurship can easily be incorporated into improving our education system. I am confident there are many people who want to have a career in helping local schools, and just don’t know exactly how to do so. Social entrepreneurship is the first step in accomplishing those goals. Any company that is created with the goal of solving a social issue can aid their intended beneficiaries, and this would usually be with a stakeholder mindset. There are so many avenues that could be pursued in helping improve education, and if you think of all possible stakeholders, it is basically everybody in this nation – our generation’s students will be the ones leading our country in a few decades. And so, I think you need to take a stakeholder approach in any type of social entrepreneurship that you would like to work in.

Image via Candice Carlson at http://www.myeducationadvices.com/elementary-school/

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5 thoughts on “Learning the Right Way

  1. With the rise of technology in education, this inequality gap has been somewhat closed. One may make the argument that this further increases the digital divide, as only those with better resources and educational systems have access to it. This really isnt true as digital devices are ubiquitous in society. Sure, inner city schools may be less equipped in some senses than other schools districts, but this shouldnt be an excuse for failure. The systemic problem may not be in the educational system as much as it is in the family and social environment. When parents want their children to fully succeed, they have many options such as online and charter schools.

    The educational system certainly needs reform. Businesses are one opportunity to enact legitimate change against this established and institutionalized schooling system whose effectiveness in America is increasingly declining.

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    1. There’s so much to talk about in the realm of education that it certainly couldn’t fit in one blog post. But I’m not entirely convinced that the inequality gap has closed between our schools. There certainly is a digital divide, and I think that an increased use in technology is definitely a major contributor to reducing that inequality gap in schools. But that increased use of technology has to be consistent across all schools, and still, we see some schools in low-income areas that don’t have that same access to certain types of technology in their classrooms. But I do agree with you that the systemic issues I mentioned are intertwined with the environment at home and the social environment. There are so many factors going into this that affect each other, which makes it difficult to find the “perfect” solution, especially if a different solution is needed at different schools.

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  2. There has to be a happy medium between kids being motivated and schools being equipped enough to facilitate for these kids. I agree with you that teachers are the place to start with this problem. I have had teachers in the past that have made it fun to learn about boring subjects such as history or algebra. It should be an honor to be a teacher in this country not a “back up plan”. I think that is priority number one for solving this problem.

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  3. Interesting analysis. I wonder what you would think about this situation in comparison to the rise in homeschooling (which is how I learned throughout my life) and alternative institutions like Montessori Schools that teach more creatively? Would the solution be pumping more funds and resources into the public school systems or could it be to finance and support education alternatives for those who wouldn’t necessarily thrive in a standard school system – be they teacher or student? Whatever the answer may be, I do agree that this is a crucial issue of today’s generation.

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  4. Doug, you raise some interesting points and solutions to the educational system being increasingly flawed as the years pass. I liked that you outlined issues in impoverished areas with individuals lacking necessary resources and/or transportation in order to remain competitive with those easily attending schools each day. I also believe that investing in teachers is a beneficial and progressive way to allow students and teachers to excel in classrooms, contrasting their low pay today. Educational systems must incorporate necessary resources and faculty members to enable students to thrive in their environment. I certainly do not want “the greatest country in the world” to fall behind or lag in education.

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