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June 02, 2008


Chris Ward

What I see of the education system (with 3 children in the K-12 range) shows it running like an automobile production line, or a baby growing in the uterus.

It's designed to bring everyone to the same standard specification.

If you compare that with what happens to an automobile after it gets bought and leaves the showroom, or what happens to the baby after it leaves the womb, you then get divergence and a huge variety. Some automobiles travel a quarter of a million miles, multiple coast-to-coast trips. Others crash at the first intersection.

Is the standard what we should aim for, or the variety ?

The "standard" is the Lenovo-type Personal Computer with Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. That's what they teach at school.

The "variety" is the games consoles. The mainframes. The chips on your credit card. Everything else we do with computers in the real world.

Is it progress ?

Frank Durante

The education challenge is a global one. There is an even larger challenge in regions where education is politically motivated and controlled, managed and maintained. Public education although crucial to society and fairness, is dominated by mediocrity. Economic and market forces affect these politically driven systems over a very long time... usually much too long to be effective to society. One approach to align economic and market forces to "training and continual education" and still create equality across society is to create a publically funded but privately operated structure.... not simple as political organizations of many stripes will attempt to influence it including both big business and big unions. However institutions that are motivated to meet the demands of their markets (eg. High School to elementary School, Universities, Colleges and trades to High Schools and finally Business and Society to Universities, Colleges and Trades), will ensure they are producing appropriate product to survive.

Michael F Kelly

I found systems thinking was my interest and strength after flunking out of Physics in college and reentering in business. A professor in a SUNYAB MBA program later offered the chance to take the quant program based on understanding how to apply it rather than compute it and I did well. I got into computers in systems and 17 years later started a market research company built on systems approach to marketing. So I fell into systems approach and now have rediscovered Systems Dynamics and am applying it to tech marketing. It's a powerful approach that I see coming back in one form or another with a number of senior consultants. But what do we teach? Could you expand on what you think of the systems approach? Sixth discipline and SD is great but it needs to be part of K-12 thinking.

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