Superintendent: We may need to reinvent or discover a new system

October 27, 2010 •

In this report to Minnesota’s Association of School Administrators, the organization’s executive director Charlie Kyte recalls an illustrative comment from a superintendents at a conference.

He said:

The system of K-12 education is not broken. In fact, it is 100 percent successful—doing what it was designed to do. The problem is what we need it to do now is not what it was designed to do. It was designed originally to have a portion of the students be academically ready to go on to college. It was designed to have another portion of the students vocationally ready so they could go out to the skilled job force. And it was designed to hold on to quite a few kids, and even if it didn’t hold on to them they moved into the workforce…
That was the system that we designed for. We’ve been tinkering with it ever sense, trying to make it better and better. But frankly tinkering probably isn’t going to get us to where we want to go in the end. If we want to have a system where literally every student meets their potential, and we have people very well educated ready to go on to the high-skill jobs that our nation needs we may in fact need to reinvent or discover a new system.
That sounds pretty scary, but it’s the reality of what we may need to be thinking about.

Kyte continues on to a very interesting analogy on differentiated staffing from the medical industry. Check it out—particularly the first three minutes—below.

On the Road with Charlie from MASA on Vimeo.