Trends I'd Like to See in 2011: Education
- K-12 systems that recognize fluff. All organizations bloat over time. Governments, corporations and yes, even schools. It's actually a sign of wisdom when school leaders acknowledge that fluff develops over time. Sometimes cuts are necessary.
- School leaders that lead with competence and courage. As Stephen Covey says, "The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities." We need more school leaders who put kids first rather than try to keep adults employed.
- College professors with humility. To quote Parker Palmer, "Humility is the only lens though which great things can be seen--and once we have seen them, humility is the only posture possible." Can we admit already that it's not the smartest people in the world who make the greatest difference?
- The continuing rise of online learning. The U.S. Department of Education revealed in 2009 that online classes may actually be more effective than face to face courses. That's not bad news for brick and mortar schools but it does mean that they have to change.
- More iPads and fewer laptops. The magic of tablets lies in their limits, not in the ability to do everything. The fact is that the average teen doesn't possess the discipline to focus for an entire class period on the teacher in front of him when he could be playing Halo on his laptop. Tablets have limits but will still leave a huge impact on education. Let's avoid more potential for scoliosis by putting more textbooks on tablets.
- Catholic parishes that step up and keep schools open. Too many parishes leave the burden of funding their school solely on the backs of those families with young children. A truly Christian parish will involve multiple generations in the sustainability of its school.
- Catholic dioceses that use closures as a means for future growth. What would you rather have? A diocese that runs farther into debt because it feels badly about closing a school or a diocese that stewards resources with responsibility? I'll take the latter any day. Too many dioceses are going bankrupt because of a fear of making the tough decisions.
What trend would you add to this list?