Learning for 2020

My journey to understand what life will be in year 2020 and how we should prepare our next generation to cope with life at 2020.

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Bill Gate's Solution to American High Schools being obsolete

I have blogged about Bill's view that American High Schools are obsolete. Thanks to the link from OLDaily, I have read the whole speech and am very impressed.

The media has painted a "rough guy" image of Bill Gate in terms of his view towards education. Rumour has it that in one of his speeches, he said:

Life is not fair - get used to it.

The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

You will NOT make 40 thousand dollars a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice president with car phone, until you earn both.

If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure.

Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping they called it Opportunity.

If you mess up,it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

[Side note: Any way, these rules are worth repeating whether they are from "Dumbing Down our Kids" by Charles Sykes or from Bill Gates.]

In the speech, I see some compassionate side of the man - hidden behind a strictly rational economic mask.

Once we realize that we are keeping low-income and minority kids out of rigorous courses, there can be only two arguments for keeping it that way – either we think they can’t learn, or we think they’re not worth teaching. The first argument is factually wrong; the second is morally wrong.
[all emphasis in the quotes are mine]

For the sake of our young people and everyone who will depend on them – we must stop rationing education in America.

After quoting a number of statistics, he finally dished out a solution [why the media did not report this part before? and I should have traced back to the source earlier and written about this part!]:
the new three R’s, the basic building blocks of better high schools:

* The first R is Rigor – making sure all students are given a challenging curriculum that prepares them for college or work;
* The second R is Relevance – making sure kids have courses and projects that clearly relate to their lives and their goals;
* The third R is Relationships – making sure kids have a number of adults who know them, look out for them, and push them to achieve.

These 3 new R's sound good to me. If our schools in Australia can also embrace them, by year 2020, we should still see Australia as a developed country!


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