For first-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after 2020).  This entry assumes the Revenge Revolution has occurred.  For more information about the anticipated 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution — and more background about the author, Entry #1.  One another note: almost all characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments. 

Scene: Jordan and JC, a long-time friend (and frequent character) are having dinner. Time of year – just about when school starts.

JC: “Here’s a toast to an enjoyable evening.”

122913_1337_14BringingU2.pngJordan: “Hear, hear. Nice to see you, JC.”

JC: “Nice to see you, Jordan. I’d ask what you’ve been up to but Greenie filled me in the other day.” (See Entry #151)

Jordan: “She and I had a fun time talking taxes.”

JC: “She enjoyed it. Now here’s my topic for the evening – what is education?”

122913_1337_14BringingU1.jpgJordan: “You should know. You were a better student than I was…plus you taught middle school for a while.”

JC: “Well, you taught also…and at some big-name university.”

Jordan: “OK, so what’s the issue with education?”

JC: “The issue is the education system seems to be focused on the wrong measure.”

Jordan: “Whadda mean, wrong measure?”

Einstein EducationJC: “Einstein said it best. ‘Education is not learning of facts. It’s rather the training of the mind to think.'”

Jordan: “Great way to frame education.”

JC: “Think about your own education. Did you memorize a bunch of facts for some test? Or did you get trained how to think?”

Jordan: “You need to know certain facts and rules, especially in math, science and any language.”

JC: “Agreed, but the key is how do you use those facts to solve problems?”

Jordan: “You know what teacher I think of who made us learn some facts and then taught us how to think?”

math_clipartJC: “Our mutual math teacher, Miss ‘What?'”

Jordan: “She’d grind you down with her ‘what?’ questions. Then one day you understood and started to think.”

JC: “You were much better at math than I was but she was one of the best teachers I ever had, from grammar school to grad school.”

Jordan: “I wonder how she would be rated today.”

JC: “Probably get points off because she was so demanding…at least in our group.”

TurtleneckJordan: “What other teachers come to mind?”

JC: “Remember Frances…”

Jordan: “…English?”

JC: “Yes. She was right up there with Miss ‘What?’.”

Jordan: “What do you remember most about her English class?”

Sentence diagramJC: “Diagramming sentences. Some of those sentences were incredibly difficult to diagram properly.”

Jordan: “I hope you didn’t split any infinitives or leave your participle dangling.”

JC: “You need to worry about your participle dangling, I don’t.”

Jordan: “Funny, JC. Seriously, though, you learned the basic rules then applied them to the problem at hand, just like Einstein said.”

JC: “OK, we agree we got a good education…”

Jordan: “…in public schools.”

JC: “Yes, public schools. But how do we translate that experience to today?”

Jordan: “The first step is to attract more qualified teachers.”

JC: “Easier said than done. More pay?”

Money-clip-artJordan: “Yes, a lot more pay. Probably at least 50% more pay, maybe even double salaries.”

JC: “Wow that will cost a lot.”

Jordan: “Equally important to pay is showing respect. We…societal we…need to make teaching a highly respected profession, again. I said again because at one time it was.”

122813_2140_15Education4.jpgJC: “Good idea, but who is going to pay for all this?”

Jordan: “The current system is very expensive. It’s just that the cost is located in different buckets.”

JC: “I don’t follow you.”

Jordan: “An inferior education system…”

JC: “Excuse me Jordan, you think our system is inferior?”

Jordan: “Yes and getting worse every year. An inferior education system adds direct costs for lower worker productivity, which makes US business less competitive worldwide. The lower wages then reduce taxes paid by individuals. But a major money_bucketindirect cost is additional crime. The cost to incarcerate a person for one year is the same as tuition at a major university. I know people get all exorcised about the idea but I would rather pay someone to go to college than have them sit in prison and not be productive.”

JC: “No one wants to talk about the indirect costs. Politicians claim it is confusing for voters.”

Jordan: “Well, many of those politicians got voted out of office after the Revenge Revolution. Maybe it’s time to take a new approach to discussing problems — frankness and honesty”

JC: “You know what politician comes to mind – at least for the frankness part.”

TrumpJordan: “The Donald?”

Jordan: “He’s not my ideal role model but I have to give him credit. He changed the dynamic of running for president.”

Jordan: “Let’s not forget Bernie Sanders. He wasn’t as bombastic as the Donald but he got issues out on the table.”

JC: “Alright, we need an honest discussion about the value of teachers…and about the cost of not getting better teachers. Where do we start?”

Jordan: “Remember how we began to measure the appropriateness of policies for government and business?”

JC: “You mean, ‘treat thy neighbor as thyself?’ You want to apply that standard to teachers?”

Jordan: “Why not? Seems simple and straightforward. Ask parents, grandparents, Parent Meetingfamilies, business leaders, other educators what they want from a teacher?”

JC: “And I’ll bet its more than teaching kids to memorize facts for a test. They’ll want the teacher to teach the kid to think.”

Jordan: “Seems like a simple way to start measuring what we should do.”

JC: “Speaking of measuring. A critical storage tank of mine is full. Let’s take a break for a couple of minutes.”