Schools need to change with times



Trying to keep schools from closing is like trying to keep a rising tide from rising. The world is changed, and changing, and schools must too. Our schools balance on a teeter-totter budget. No wonder pain comes and goes.

In our history, men used to build great sailing ships to exert power and influence over the seas. Yet, the day came when sailing ships were obsoleted by steel and coal-driven ships. It was inevitable.

So it is with schools.

Those in the shipyards (ship builders) had to learn new skills to build the new ships needed. So it is with teachers. They must be adaptable to the changing times and build new ships - lest their “Navy” be sunk by our neighbors overseas.

Those who oppose school closings are also merely like those who said horses were superior to autos. Recognize the change or fall into your small corner, I say, don’t cry for the status quo lest you ride horses into today’s battles.

Twenty years ago, knowledge was encapsulated in paper-based books and lessons by professors in front of a live audience. Is this the world we live in now? Certainly not.

The first step for our very fine educators is to embrace the true change - and what do I mean? Have we seen the World Wide Web lately and what it means? Teachers should lead the way for new ways of teaching, not seeking sympathy for the status quo. It’s pretty lame to see grown adults leading children to believe the status quo is the way to go. I am sorry to see that. Very sorry.

I think this could work: Schools must specialize. School (a) must deliver the finest math and science education in front of a live audience, and broadcast this to schools without those in-house skills. School (b) must deliver the finest English and history education in front of their live audience, and broadcast same to a large Internet audience, and so on and so on.

This is, to me, the next step. I accept it needs the polish of those professionals who know much more than I. A much higher inter-school collaboration, recognizing the special skills of one school’s batch of fine teachers, for the benefit of all others, everywhere, would be a better course than sailing sail driven ships in a world of steel and turbines ...

Yes, it is change. For the better I believe. What is it to be ranked the 10th or 50th best school district in a state ranked 47th or so in the nation? I am sure we can do better. I am sure we will.

James Danforth is a San Diego resident.