An Elegant Education System?

I’ve always been drawn to the elegant simplicity of well-designed systems.  Perhaps it’s the certainty of success that grabs me, the notion that the desired outcome will be a foregone conclusion once the design is complete and all components working in concert.  Or maybe it’s the inherent leanness, with no extra parts or unnecessary complexities, the entire system existing for a solitary purpose and functionality.

Nowadays we have endless examples of well-designed systems, especially in the technology domain. In fact, we’ve become so good at building them that we find ourselves providing conveniences and applications that we never even imagined ourselves needing or wanting.  Constrained only by our ability to dream up new functions and outputs, it’s not surprising that many view our capabilities as endless with nothing but potential ahead.

Yet in stark contrast to these elegant and efficient applications are the very systems that underlie and affect our most critical societal functions and needs.  And although a number exist, the most troubling by far is the public education system which impacts virtually every facet of our societal health and wellbeing. The target of seemingly endless criticisms and critiques, the education system as we know it continues to be both broken and incomplete with no indication that any of the component pipes or their respective leaders have the capacity- or intention- to reengineer the pipeline into an elegant system.

But since there is no viable alternative to be found, we must forge ahead with the painful yet critical comparisons between an elegant and well-designed education system and our current approach.  For it is only by envisioning our ideal system and ientifying and clarifying the gaps and failures that we can discover the drivers and levers for change.

I look forward to diving into this design and mapping work in the coming months.  I’ll try to post the products of our efforts as they evolve, but please contact me directly if you’d like to participate.

Please view and share my recent TEDx presentation to learn more about why our pipeline is incomplete in addition to being broken….

http://youtu.be/NpNwz0zk7ns

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About mbhuber2013

convener and co-founder of BTEP, instructor for Tanzania Study Abroad course; Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning at University at Buffalo

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