Thursday, April 4, 2013

My vision for education in 2020

The year 2020 will be the year of education reformation.  In 2020 we will be confused as we are today concerning education.  The government will be seeing the results of educational programs and mandates they have implemented in the years 2010-2019.  They will be seeing some growth in test scores, but not the growth they hoped to see. The government will realize high test scores do not guarantee students who can apply their knowledge. Budget cuts in the early teen years also forced school districts to make hard decisions. Programs and staffs have been cut.  The districts are only now rebounding from the drastic cuts.  Many good teachers were driven from the profession due to unrealistic demands place on them by the government and by districts.  Professionals need to be enticed to enter the teaching profession.  Teachers will be sought from all walks of life. 

  During the years 2010-2019 many districts were not able to keep up with the technology available to them.  Only the wealthier districts were able to keep up with the latest and newest technology.  The gap between wealthier and poorer districts has increased.  Many schools are run by the government as they did not make AYP and were taken over.  Education on the whole has not kept up with the times.  Students are still being taught in a 19th century setting with a 19th century doctrine to compete for 21st century jobs.  The government is only beginning to understand that politicians should not be making educational decisions.  As the year 2020 dawns, teaching professionals and business leaders will be included in discussions on how to best educate students.  Information gained from these discussions is on the fast track to be implemented in the classrooms.  Plans for the future of schools are radical and full of controversy.  Instead of measuring American student achievement against the rest of the world, America student achievement will not be based on test scores but rather on student production, performance and their ability to apply the knowledge they have learned.  The ability use their knowledge in the competitive worldwide market.

   Schools  in 2020 will now be following a business model.  Successful CEOs of the nation’s top businesses will be acting as consultants to school districts.  The tax burden for funding education has been removed from the tax payers. Businesses are investing in the schools.  They have a direct stake in the education students receive.  Many students will now have externships as part of their education plan.  Business will be training teachers in new technology and helping to write lesson plans.  Businesses will be supplying schools with the latest technology.  Students will be being given laptops by the businesses for use in schools.  The 100 dollar laptop project has also come to America.  Students in intercity schools will now have the same opportunities as wealthy suburban districts. The gap between the wealthy and the poor will begin to close.

 Broad, radical, and new ideas will be tried with promising results. Students in one district may receive instruction from another district though reciprocal programs. Plans are in the works to give students a say in their education.  They will be educated based on their interests, learning styles, and abilities.  Each student will have an IEP.  IEPs will be the norm not the exception.  Traditional classrooms will be faded out.  Schools in the years after 2020 will be smaller versions of their former selves.  Schools are no longer huge buildings where students gather for 7.5 hours a day.  Schools will run on 24/7 schedule.  Students will be able to access most of their content from home.  Teachers will be housed in the schools not students.  The schools will have lecture halls, laboratories, shops, kitchens, and a few classrooms.  Students will have the ability to report to the actual school building on their own schedule.  They will be able to access help at any time of the day or night.  The typical school day will no longer be typical.  Students may schedule lab time, meetings with teachers, and shop use.  Some schools such as vo-technical schools will no longer be in existence as districts and business take over these classes.  Students will access technical programs through the supporting businesses and receive workplace training. 

Each student will have a mentor. Students will be using web technology to collaborate with each other and their business and work place mentors to complete assignments.  Students’ ideas will be shared with each other and businesses.  Promising students will receive the guidance they need to see their ideas to fruition.  Struggling students will receive individual attention.  Technology will be developed to address students learning difficulties.  Remediation will not look like remediation.  Using technology, remediation will take place in real world settings. Students will be able to see how what they are learning has real world applications.  Gifted students will have access to accelerated programs.  They will be encouraged to explore their interest with guidance coming from both the business and educational realms.

Internet access is more easily obtain and has become cheaper in 2020.  It will soon be free to all.  Hot spots will be placed throughout school districts to provide internet service to all residence of the district.  Internet service has become more reliable and is not subject to outages.  Back up internet services are in place and ready to go when needed.  This continual and free internet service will permit students to interact with other students worldwide.  Following the business model, students will collaborate with other students in different countries to complete school projects. The world has truly become a classroom.

3-D projection platforms will be tested and will be in schools soon.  Through these projections students will be able to participate in activities occurring in other locations.  The will be able to view the activity from multiple angles.  They will be able to ask questions and receive answers in real time.  Virtual field trips will be projected on the 3-D platform.  The student will become part of the field trip, experiencing the field trip, not just watching the field trip.  Through the use of new technology, students will be able to have tactical and olfactory abilities to truly experience the field trip.  

Teaching has become guiding, pointing, and nudging the student in self-discovery. Teachers will still need to be well rounded, but will also become experts in areas.  Teachers will be given more freedom to increase their knowledge base.  Team teaching will popular and common.  The team will consist of a minimum of two individuals, one from the business world and one from the educational world. Letter grades have become a thing of the past.  Student knowledge is based on performance and production results not test results.  Students will need to demonstrate their ability to use their knowledge, not just know about something.  Students will progress through school at their own pace.  They must show true mastery of a subject before they will be permitted to move on to the next level of instruction. Subjects will no longer be taught as separate subjects but rather as one integrated curriculum.


  1. Elaine,
    Wow. This kind of sounds like a science fiction story, although I agree with much of what you say. I like your idea of schools having reciprocal programs in which they are able to help students in different districts by "trading" teachers' expertise in certain fields. I also like the idea of all students having an IEP (although I can't imagine the headaches of planning them). This would certainly help students by basing the IEP on interests, learning styles, and abilities. I guess that is where the reciprocating schools would be able to step in.
    I have heard the idea of schools in the future following the business model but had never really given it much attention. You have given me something to think about. Thank you for sharing your vision.

  2. Elaine,
    I appreciate the realistic approach that you began with. The discussion of some of the things that have harmed our education system are relevant and to the the point. I hope that by 2020, the government will have "learned its lesson." I also agree with you that their behavior is driving many good teachers away.

    While every student having an IEP sounds like a daunting task, I think that the technology of the future will help make this easier, especially withing the business model that you propose. My hope is that with a business model, students will understand that their IEP does't follow them after school, however.