Gustavo Ballvé on July 13th, 2011
Education, Food for thought, Home, Industries

Reading an article about an interesting Education business had us thinking of regulation and, primarily, goals for Education. The current debate about Public Education in the US focuses on adjustments/ improvements to the No Child Left Behind legislation first passed in 2001, which is all about accountability. In a separate story, Tom Friedman reminds us that the top-notch jobs of the future may require skill-sets (and individual attitude) that current education models may simply be unable to provide. But when you’re a Brazilian public education student and the debate isn’t even close to scratching the surface of the “accountability” trend, it’s definitely a scary future.

The business is a credit-recovery company that provides low-cost, online courses for students who have fallen behind in that subject. The schools/ districts pay for it because it’s a low-cost investment to improve graduation rates, and they do so because if they don’t improve such rates they lose Federal funding as per the No Child Left Behind Act. We have followed that law since it was first proposed by the Bush administration but also kept up with its renewals, which included renegotiations, adjustments, cuts and expansions. The main aspect of the law is to tie funding to improved performance in selected metrics, such as graduation rates and improved scores in standardized tests. It introduces a level of accountability not seen before in US public education. The main criticism regards the “what to measure and how”, but the main point of accountability is not at stake.

Now let’s introduce Tom Friedman’s article “The start-up of You“, about an upcoming book by LinkedIn’s founder Reid Hoffman discussing the new demands on the “jobs” available in the future. The type of people most likely to succeed in Business in the future can almost certainly NOT be produced by the current public education models available in the US, so much of the burden is on individuals.

It’s a scary future for those currently enrolled in Brazilian public education, the debate of which hasn’t even gotten close to the “accountability” theme. When is this country going to get even half-serious about education?

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