Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Learning to Improve

Greetings from the the University of Technology Sydney, where Professor Anthony Bryk, President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, speaking on "Learning to Improve: Sustainable Improvements in Learning Systems". He started by talking about the provision of a public water supply in New York City, claiming that "nothing like this had ever been done before" (which seems an exaggeration as the Romans had a public water supply thousands of years ago). This was used as an analogy for education, saying that that needs a similar large scale public effort. Professor Bryk suggests looking to manufacturing, services design, health-care for inspiration to improve education. Given the problems being experienced in US manufacturing and health-care, these would be the last places I would look to for good examples.

Australia has a state based, nationally funded, school system. It seemed to me that Professor Bryk should be giving this talk in the USA, where they do not have a coordinated education system, not in Australia where we do. I suggest Professor Bryk should first look to the education systems of other countries not manufacturing or health care in the USA.

In contrast Australia needs to look at the US education system to work out what not to do.  One example is the problems with student loans in the USA, a problem which now occurring in Australia with VET diplomas.

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