“Education needs to be recognized as an “organic” process-one that grows and expands not a “mechanical” process that too often remains static or slow moving at best.” Sir Ken Robinson
We must view education through a different lens today. In times past and present education was and is still treated as a separate entity responsible to only itself for its governance. It has a job to do and is provided the resources to get that job done. We could say the same for health care services, the legal system, the penal system, transportation systems and defense systems. Although these systems are independent from one another there has always been an unwritten agreement there would be a collective sense of nationalism that directed some loose idea of community.
As technology speeds up our transformation from a fragmented community of independent service structures we are now faced with the reality that such a system cannot continue to function as it has. We don’t have the resources nor the infrastructure to continue to regulate such an entity. Up to now we haven’t shared our resources with each other. In deed we have competed against one another for those very resources ensuring that none of us will have enough of what we need to get the job done properly.
The managers, administrators, and leaders of our service structures want us to continue to follow their beliefs they know how to guide their agencies better than anyone else. However, by all appearances we are slowly and painfully recognizing that our major public services are now becoming more dependent on each for the other services necessary to provide a better more efficient over-all system but without any formal plan to do so. What’s left–Chaos. Services have become more expensive and in some cases less effective. The common expectation and refrain now is ‘do more with less.’ We’re a wealthy country-we shouldn’t have to ‘do more with less.’
A question, then, remains and that is ‘Is this the best we can hope for? We believe that many are doing the best they can with what they have to work with.
Police services are now more dependent upon the mental health services system. The judicial services are now becoming more dependent upon understanding and seeking the support and knowledge of mental health professionals in order to understand more concretely just who and what they are dealing with. The penal system needs some guidance and direction around what is the best course of treatment for those who suffer from mental health problems who are housed in their facilities. Child care services don’t have enough personnel to do their jobs as they would like too.
Like it or not agencies are becoming more dependent on each other and the expertise of others to offer the best possible service to the citizens who find themselves in need of the ‘treatment’ business they each offer. Unfortunately many of these agencies end up ‘dumping’ their clients on other services in order to keep their costs down resulting in waiting lists for services of up to 6 months for what should take 6 weeks. The judicial system finds it difficult to offer trial dates of up to a year for offences that need to be heard much sooner than that.
Who takes the lead?
Education is at the heart of the ‘Social Survival’ organism which will need to become a unified service provider as opposed to a conglomerate. The current method of trying to provide all the social services demanded of it is too competitive internally to be as effective as it could be or needs to be. Health care competes with mental health and police services competes with fire protection services and they compete with judicial services for funds just to maintain their budgets and yet face greater demand for services. They are told to ‘do more with less.’ The result is a system that struggles to maintain quality services. Wait times at our hospitals are unacceptable. Waiting to hear a case in court can take years. Booking an appointment to see a mental health professional can take months meanwhile the suicide rates and the rates of separation and divorce are more often destroying our family structures which in turn affect our legal system. It is not difficult to link most of these concerns with an Education system that is from another era. It is broken and a new one needs to take its rightful place at the ‘head of the table’.
It is time to share the responsibility of creating a new paradigm, a new pedagogy and a new curriculum regarding how and what will a new educational system look like and what will be its purpose. We will need to define what the purpose of educating our learners will be and we will need to be able to do this working in concert with the other stakeholders.
We need to be very careful that the politicians and those who stand to gain the most don’t hijack education from those who deserve it and need it the most in order to be productive and happy in their lives. We are the only ones who can make a difference in the world we live in. Let’s not give away the opportunity and the right to fashion the world we want to have.
Anyways, that’s how I see it. Comments can be sent to me at: jim.lifechoice @ gmail.com or check out my web site at jimcloughley.com