The Pandemic exposes the need for changes to the way we fund and Education! (Part 1)

Education Change and Recovery During Covid-19

The size and magnitude of the Covid-19 “black swan” event no one was prepared for, provides a great opportunity for numerous societal, educational, and economic changes. Changes in the form of a major reset and the opportunity to really take stock of what is relevant, necessary, and develop a foundation to support the expected environment of continuous change and socio-economic growth.

The impacts of the coronavirus are cutting across the nation’s more than $20 trillion economies, closing schools, sports leagues, and art venues, canceling concerts and funerals, and shuttering bars, boutiques, restaurants, and many more organizations and operations.

Before the crisis, retailers last year announced a record of 9,000+ store closures amid widespread bankruptcy filings. As the growing pandemic forces companies like Apple, Microsoft, Nordstrom, and Macy’s to close thousands of stores temporarily, analysts say they are bracing for a monumental shift: Approximately 60% of restaurants in North America may never reopen.

How Businesses Practices Will Change

Some businesses might snap back to normal after a temporary reprieve of social distancing. But there are no guarantees how long this new phase will last, and many analysts acknowledge we do not know what businesses will look like after the outbreak subsides. New businesses and ideas are likely to bloom from the agony and opportunity of pandemic and social disruption forced isolation.

Many business practices, such as remote work and the online medical visits of telehealth, were slow to win widespread adoption because of behavioral inertia. But the outbreak — and its indefinite period of upended life — are speeding the adoption of such unfamiliar ways of doing business.

The pandemic is now a relentless destroyer of brick-and-mortar businesses as public health officials warn against in-person interactions. This pandemic and era of social disruption are boosting almost anything that can be done online or with minimal human contact — grocery deliveries, online learning, takeout food, taxes, government program, and service delivery, streaming video, even real estate closings done with online notaries.

The result is likely to be dramatic losses in local retail, travel, tourism, and dining options, with millions of jobs disappearing. The biggest and wealthiest companies — especially those that do much of their business online — will extend their gains with integrated technologies and fewer people, telework, online education, and streaming video will continue to grow exponentially, while a high number of movie theaters, schools, and traditional workplaces close their doors. Some will never reopen in a world where the shift from real to virtual suddenly has gone into overdrive.

People are changing their habits in the short term and some of these habits will stick around and become part of the future norm. There are numerous things where people are slowly shifting and transitioning away from, this will accelerate to become standard patterns for purchases, services, and material demands.

Any traditional face-to-face encounter — going to an accountant’s office, sending children to class, traveling for a business meeting — could someday seem less necessary as more remote options become publicly acceptable and widespread.

Effect on the Education Sector and How to Modernize

Education modernization is one sector that requires an overhaul and the core reason for this article. Taking into consideration the tax dollars spent at every level of government on education over the last few decades. The results are underwhelming and are not unyielding the desired results. It is apparently clear to me that throwing money at the problem is not a solution and has not provided the results we are looking for. The system administrators and managers are lacking accountability at all levels and at the same time, teachers and school boards have watered down the K-12 curriculum to a state that lacks accountability (no one fails a test), relevance, basic skills, and historical facts. In the real world, there are winners and losers, in our current education systems there are no winners and losers, this is not preparing our kids for reality.

Unions and teachers continue to make unsustainable, unrealistic, and unaffordable demands for more funding to feed a system that is clearly not working. I am yet to see an unbiased analysis of benefits per dollar spent over the last 40 years on education. We do not have access to a solid baseline to measure change, variances, and effectiveness, yet we are expected to contribute more tax dollars to education. At what point do we say enough is enough?

The time is now! The impacts of COVID-19, social disruptions and defund movement are making it very clear, that we do have options to reform education, and our choices of education channels go beyond brick and mortar. The traditional brick and mortar model is no longer viable and requires modernization across K -12 to post-secondary levels.

Closer Look at School Infrastructure and the Usage of Assets for Classes

Taking a close look at school infrastructure, the actual usage of assets for classes are typically around 6 hours a day for teaching. We must rethink the use of these assets and use the opportunity presented by the pandemic shutdown to reset and emerge with a more effective and efficient model that is sustainable and more costs effective.

An immediate change is urgent as more and more people are out of work and tax revenues are diminishing. Teachers must also prepare to modernize and transition from the old models to more relevant models. We have the opportunity to put twice the amount of students through the same infrastructure using a shift approach, no different than the manufacturing sector and at the same time incorporate online and distance learning to support those who can benefit from alternate education delivery channels, especially rural communities. This will reduce the travel time, cost of transport and not to mention emissions and carbon pollution from thousands of school buses on the roads across North America. Yes, it will come at a social cost, however, there are means to collaborate and connect to maintain social inclusion. After all, kids are tied to social media for personal connection and interaction, we can leverage this approach and link it into their self-directed integration model.

“If you are serious about wanting to improve education, do not vote more money for the education establishment that has been dumbing down the schools for years. Vote for vouchers, tax credits, or anything else that will transfer decision-making power to parents”. Thomas Sowell

Leveraging Virtual Multi-Disciplinary Teams and Business Platforms

Leverage virtual Multi-Disciplinary Teams and Platforms to enable and support learning

Existing school infrastructure must be used more effectively for learning. We should put a moratorium on school infrastructure spending until we have effectively utilized all alternate and relevant channels to optimize learning delivery.

The traditional format is no longer relevant n affordable

As we can see from the following quotes, the issue of education reform has been percolating for some time now:

I am not sure of the source, someone said (If you have school-age children, the pandemic-induced move to online classes may give you an unusual window into their education.

E.D. Hirsch expects you’ll be surprised by “how little whole-class instruction is going on,” how little knowledge is communicated, and how there is “no coherence” from day to day, let alone from year to year. The current fashion is for teachers to be a “guide on the side, instead of a sage on the stage,” he says, quoting the latest pedagogical slogan, which means that teachers aren’t supposed to...)

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." – Nelson Mandela

“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” – Steve Jobs

‘A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.’ –, Thomas Carruthers

‘The word ‘education’ comes from the root e from ex, out, and duco, I lead. It means a leading out. To me, education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul.’ –Muriel Spark