From Allan C. Brownfeld • The Inherent Inefficiency of Government Bureaucracy
There are few who will disagree with the fact that, in recent years, the governmental bureaucracy has grown dramatically while its efficiency has deteriorated in an equally dramatic manner.
Let’s look at Education in the United States…
In the field of public education, enrollment almost doubled between 1952 and 1972 while the number of teachers and other school employees tripled. In 1952, there was one employee for every 14.8 students, while in 1972 there was one for every 9.2. Comparing the trends in public education and in other areas, Professor Roger Freeman notes that, “Trends in public education and in the American economy generally have been running in opposite directions. While throughout most of industry and agriculture, employee productivity, that is, the ratio between manpower input and product output, has increased consistently and substantially, it has just as consistently and sharply declined in public education.”
The fact is that there seems to be a decline in American educational standards just as the expenditure of money and the number of personnel have dramatically increased. Results of scholastic aptitude test scores show a decline in almost every knowledge and skill area.
If we are to improve education in the United States, we need to take a process view of the problem. We should not be looking to fix the current system, we should start with a clean sheet of paper.
What is our objective? What do we want the students to know when they graduate High School? How will we move them from 1st through 12th grade so that they are ‘educated’? Educated means meeting the defined objective…
Things have changed, there are many more tools to work with than even 10 years ago:
Grading – If you know the material shouldn’t you get an A? Why is it necessary to grade on a curve? Is there research that proves out either method?
Desks – They were arranged for teachers to lecture. They were arranged for easy discipline. Is this still the right way to teach?
Textbooks – What is the objective of the text? I don’t believe that they are targeting a clear objective – what do we want the student to know as a result of working through this book?
Computers – Today we have computers – should the textbooks be electronic? Computers open up new ways to teach – even some that are yet to be discovered.
Websites – These are new resources that can be used to teach. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc are all accessible online.
Search – Search has removed the need for books like encyclopedias. Students can find almost anything in a matter of seconds.
Pace – We have been teaching to the average [or below average] student’s learning pace. Why shouldn’t we change this pattern to teach to the individual pace of the students?
Curriculum – The curriculum should be based on achieving the objectives established for the students.
Teaching skills – With all of these new tools, shouldn’t we look at new ways to teach?
With all of these tools now available to the teaching community, we need to rethink education. Let’s start by establishing the end goal [what we want graduates to know]. Let’s investigate processes that can achieve them and select the best. Let’s get started – we need to make changes and the time is now.
That is just my opinion, I could be wrong.