John Florez: Education needs a vision in today's economy

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  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Feb. 19, 2013 12:12 a.m.

    @Howard Beal--I've done much research on this. Despite complaints of Utah schools, they are miles ahead of the pack, so I see where you're coming from.

    Our country does not supply enough needed skilled workers. Some examples:

    * Edison New Jersey is at the center of major manufacturing. Three fourths of the population are from China, and India. I've been there to know.
    * Our engineers, and chemists are from other countries. Car engines, and transmissions are designed by foreigners.
    * Our doctors are from India, South America, etc.
    * Half our college graduates are foreigners.
    * I've interviewed, and researched many electrical manufacturing companies around the country, and they all say American grads can't cut it, except a few. They recruit Asians, and Indians.

    The way math is being taught in our schools are very confusing, and we do need to go back to 1940/50/60's. Just because it was in the past, doesn't mean it was ineffective.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    I wish the D-News would make up its mind. I mean last week I saw an opinion peace that too many of our population is overeducated for the jobs that are out there. I guess that was the home school/charter school children causing that problem because here is this piece saying that our children aren't being taught anything of value. Of course, not sure if Florez and others have spent more than an hour in a public school say in the last while but they can always seem to find a time to sound off.

    Then there's worf stuck in his time warp. I know he's been there and I give credit for that, but he doesn't seem to realize that scores of students were both as well educated and maleducated as they are today. In reference to the latter, they just were lucky enough to have decent paying industrial jobs to find where our poorer students of today don't, but these people didn't do particularly well in school, many dropped out or scraped by. And some of our best students are still doing the amazing stuff they always have.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Feb. 18, 2013 8:26 a.m.

    Nothing difficult with education:

    * research, and organize the data in a presentable way
    * take notes, while building study habits
    * memorize a paragraph of something once per month. Teaches the mind to focus.

    Base your curriculum around these three things, and students will excel.

  • Leav3ItAlone Payson, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 7:46 a.m.

    The irony is thick. I would argue that the current education system is a direct result of the legislation passed at the federal and state level that govern the education system. Educators didn't create NCLB, our politicians did. They are the "leaders" of the current education system and look what that has gotten us.

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    Feb. 17, 2013 7:20 a.m.

    While my son-in-law studied political science he worked part time communicating with a company's Spanish-speaking clients. Using a broad vision of what made that company successful he began studying the applicable federal regulations. He became one of the few who understood them. He thought the company's software was a bit awkward and studied how to improve the spreadsheets by writing little macros on the side. Meanwhile his peers studied computer science.

    Now he's the Director of IS/IT at corporate HQ, and computer programmers work for him.

    In 1983 the "Nation at Risk" report tried to shame our schools because countries like the USSR graduated more high-tech engineers than we did. Well, guess what? Secretary of Education William Bennett forgot to read the rest of the research cited by his own report. It said that those measly few, supposedly less highly-trained U.S. engineers ultimately out-performed their Communist peers. Our engineers were cross-pollinated by other disciplines, more skilled at collaboration, innovation, and creativity. They created the new technologies for other engineers to study in their "superior" schools.

    We need a broader vision of what education is.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Feb. 17, 2013 6:15 a.m.

    Two plus two before. Simple math. because you can doesn't mean you should. Even if you have the money to buy anything now. Tomorrow is another day.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    Feb. 16, 2013 5:28 p.m.

    I agree that education needs a vision, but I'm not sure that electing a bunch of realtors to public office to determine that vision is the way to go.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 16, 2013 4:30 p.m.

    It seems to me that Mr. Florez's approach is not a real solution, but just a diversion. If the education system is not functioning (and I truly believe that it is not functioning), why would we turn to government to solve the problem? Can elected officials who are afraid of losing votes from teachers ever be counted on to advance education? Elected officials have had many opportunities to change things, but they ultimately have caved to the demands from those who have short-changed our children and grandchildren.

    I agree that we need to use all available innovations. I also think that neither the methods needed nor their implementation are likely to come from current administrators. However, wouldn't it be better to ask businesses what qualifications they're looking for when hiring workers and then adapting training/teaching to insure that graduates have those qualifications?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Feb. 16, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    The overall theme of this piece is spot on. We teach as though nothing has changed. Our kids are going to be living in a highly matrixed and interconnected world. They will be competing for jobs and slots in colleges with kids or people from around the globe. And yet, we teach to standards and use methods that largely haven't changed in 100 years.

    We recently bought the series "The History of Mankind" on iTunes - and in the first episode my 11 year old son turns to me and starts asking really deep questions about what he saw. That doesn't happen in todays world of text books and memorization. Education today has little context in the world we live in.

    Not every kid needs to go to college to do what they want to earn for themselves. We teach to the same paradigm to every child, no matter what their learning style. I was a marginal student until college. And then everything changed, because schooling changed, and I could take classes taught in context.

    Primary education needs to be blown up, rethought, and relaunched a new... not just tweaked.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 16, 2013 9:20 a.m.

    The most important thing for a child to learn is how to learn.

    While we don’t know what jobs there will be in the future, we don’t really know if there will be any jobs at all. Already we are seeing the upheaval and discontent of the lack of jobs for people all over the world. The skills for survival may be entirely different than those required today.

    Sorry but I don’t agree with the notion that our legislators know this. It seems to me that the people in government expect the economic model of today to last forever.

  • Ricardo Carvalho Provo, UT
    Feb. 16, 2013 7:15 a.m.

    I think that John is partially correct here. We do live in a different world with requirements for change in our approach to higher education. In painting Utah's educators as self-interested and uninformed and unresponsive about the changes going on around them, however, he is somewhat inaccurate while setting up an unhelpful us versus them scenario. Have we not seen the tying of charter schools to universities, a significant increase in online learning, MOOCs that are starting to count for credit, the unbundling of bachelors degrees into certificate programs for those seeking to update workforce skills, etc... These changes argue that there exist thoughtful educators who have played and should continue to play a significant role in educating students in our new reality.

    This is not to say that there does not exist a significant role to be played by other thoughtful folks including legislators like Steve Urquhart who has worked very hard to become educated on education. Informed legislators can play a role in ridding education of sacred cows that cannot be eradicated from the inside. It is by working together that effective change will be made.