September 19, 2005 -- Author Edward Davis's new book provides a complete overview of why the system is obsolete, what the stakes are if we don't act, and what a new design for public education
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will look like. He says we cannot compete in the global economy or provide citizens competent enough to participate in a working democracy without major changes.
Bill Gates said it to the 50 U. S. governors. Author Thomas Friedman echoed Gates in a series of editorials in the N.Y. Times.
"To continue discussing higher standards, smaller classrooms, more money and better teachers is tantamount to tinkering with a Model-T to make it run better on our freeways," says education writer Edward Davis. "We face cultural deterioration, a weakening democracy and rapidly encroaching economic challenges. To face these problems head on, to have any chance of addressing them effectively, we need to redesign public education."
According to Davis, schools have tended to view knowledge as something that can be transferred from brain to brain, and then regurgitated on a test. But this approach contradicts how the brain actually works. Under the current education system our schools are not equipped to prepare students for the realities of the 21st century. Davis says, "Until schools learn
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to focus on teaching kids how to learn they are not building the higher brain functions that are essential to active participation in today's world."
Davis further asserts that an unwillingness to confront the need for a completely revamped system has contributed to cultural decline, regressive politics and a performance oriented culture that devalues learning. "We need to be able to accurately identify the real issues that have bankrupted the system. This includes taking into account the disciplines and values of cognitive science, management, social science, technology and macro-economics."
His new book Lessons For Tomorrow, Bringing America's Schools Back From The Brink provides an overview of the principles and components of a newly designed "architecture" for learning. It serves as a handbook for teachers and parents, encouraging them to take a comprehensive look at the design of education and ask: "What is wrong?" and "What does the solution look like?" Davis emphasizes that we can't continue to make kids learn in an assembly line process. "We need multiple pathways to meet learning goals and a system that encourages individual inquiry and discovery."
Edward Davis has been a charter school
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teacher, a corporate trainer, an instructional designer, an education writer, a pioneer in the e-learning industry and one of the first to design and promote cognitive-based approaches to adult education. He founded and operated a training company (MetaCommunication), launched the Electronic University Network, the first successful enterprise to offer college credits and degrees online and initiated the first computer mediated college advanced placement program in a U.S. high school district.
Lessons for Tomorrow: Bringing America's Schools Back from the Brink
Softcover; ISBN 100-9769661-0-7, ISBN 13 978-0-9769661-0-4
Available October, 2005