The Educational Crisis of the Atomic Age (and the Information Age)

Several years ago I came across a speech given by one John Jay Hopkins, a prim industrial magnate who founded the General Dynamics corporation. At the time of his speech, Hopkins’ company was 3 years old, and even with the passage of six decades and the end of the Cold War, I find his rhetoric fits many of the same education problems described in Western society today. Whether the problem of an uneducated populace is constantly in flux, or if it is just a matter of framing (e.g. every generation thinks the next has gotten it wrong)– it seems that our culture has oftentimes perpetuated an odd obsession with the dressings of education, rather than the quality of that education in itself.

Teaching Students to Ask Questions

Submitted by David H. Stringer on Monday, 3/31/2014, at 10:27 AM

Education in the future needs to emphasize teaching kids to ask good questions. Much of what we do now constitutes the generation of answers (think: standardized tests) with penalties for errors, but the revolution in technology suggests that computers will, one way or another, generate a lot of answers by processing and analyzing data. But as far as I know, computers are not very good at asking questions, and questions are what we need for the deep innovation needed to stimulate cultural and economic change. 

Summer Workshops for Teachers

Submitted by David H. Stringer on Sunday, 3/30/2014, at 7:51 AM

I propose that Amherst host summer workshops for teachers, staffed by alums who are teaching or have taught. The "students" would have to apply, and they would receive a modest stipend, plus room and board, for their attendance. The format would not be top-down from profs to the unwashed, but rather an exchange of success stories and strategies. Professors could be involved as peers. It would also be a good opportunity for Amherst undergrads to be involved. A publication would follow each session, perhaps in digital format.

Welcome and thanks

Welcome to the blog site for discussions related to the Education in Transition team of '64 members.  Thanks to Dave Stringer '64 for arranging this method of communication among classmates.  Our team is conducting conversations in preparation for the reunion event that will feature the topic of American education and how we as classmates might help address its future development.  The team has chosen to focus on K-12 education, and in particular on how best to enhance the profession of teaching and learning.  A critical element of our considerations is how we can encourage more highly tale


Vesterman/Veblen on Commercializing Higher Education

Commercialize and corporatize higher education?  The idea is not as new as one might think.  Over a hundred years ago Thorstein Veblen, author of The Theory of The Leisure Class, wrote another book about the business of Higher Education. Bill Vesterman explores this idea in an article published in the September-October issue of Academe (for the American Association of University Professors). The article is copied below:

Campus Challenge

Panel Discussion on “Educational Inequality and Opportunity”

Watch the April 17, 2013, panel discussion with Barry O’Connell,Professor of English; Vanessa Fong, Associate Professor of Anthropology; Ben Guest, Career Center Program Director & Careers in Education Professions Advisor; Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Professor of English and American Studies; and Luca Grillo, Assistant Professor of Classics.