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Friday, July 13, 2007

Education - Request for assistance at end

I've been mulling over the next generation education system for a while. Well, it's been percolating since childhood. I'm not sure exactly when it started to take shape.

The current educational system is a mass production system. Of course, children are not identical inputs; they fall somewhere on a multidimensional gaussian distribution. Let's even say that it's one dimension; IQ. Most students are somewhere near the average, and so the system works fairly well for "most" students. A better or worse implementation of the mass production system can increase that percentage or lower it. Modifications like the Magnet School system are still mass production methods, but (in theory) they take advantage of the economies of scale in urban areas to segment the market and capture a much higher percentage.

In practice, they fail abysmally because the market segmentation that hs been done by educators thus far is semi-moronic. But they might be "better" than nondifferentiated districts.

Did you know that Mass Production is obsolete? It was made obsolete over 30 years ago by Lean Production. AKA the Toyota Production System. Some elements of lean are incorporated into the infamous Six Sigma.

Some families that are particularly poorly served by the mass paradigm opt for home schooling. This is craft production, which depends heavily on the skill of the craftsman (parent). Results are mixed, although the personalized instruction itself tends to make up for the drawbacks. Many parents, unfortunately, are not well equipped to be teachers. Many can't afford it. It's inefficient. Still, if your child is the one thrown on the public school's scrap pile, it may be worth it.

We need to implement lean production. This can be done regardless of whether we continue to use the vast government cartel, private schools, charter schools, or online universities. Politics is only incidental to the implementation.

This lean production system I speak of does not exist yet, so this is not a political call to action. There is no Bill No. 6XX, and no slogan to chant. Once the system has been designed, the implementation has to be planned out as a sort of Kaizen spiral.

Anyway, does anyone have a K-12 curriculum I can have? It can just be a thick sheaf of outlines and references. I'm not even sure if such a thing exists, but what I want is a breakdown of what information the government is trying to feed children. I'd prefer to have one from one of the less bad states if possible.

It's only one reference. The system I envision so far is modular, but there are categories and types of instruction that have to be defined and accounted for in devising the parts. Mm, well, let's say we whipped up a critical chain for every topic in education - colors, letters, logarithms- and then made an entire educational system based on computer instruction. Oops! Can't verify physical training! Whoops, essays need human graders! Oh, and without human contact the subjects have an average lifespan of 11 years.

Well, computer based assignments and feedback and such are nifty technology, and pending further reserch may be quite useful, but I'm not looking to concoct a hodgepodge of half-baked theories, cram it into a large building, and force people to send their children there. That would be stupid.


Anonymous Jon Miller said...

Hi. You are right on with the idea that education should be more "pull" than "push" and customized to the student as much as possible rather than mass produced. You might find some of these links about education and Lean of interest:

LEI presentation on Lean Education

Scott County (KY) Schools Trying Out the Toyota Way

Linking Lean Thinking to Education

9:23 PM  

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