The VALUES question for education

To follow up on a posting I made to the Linked in Group “Our System” about the Khan Academy , (see earlier blog), Ben Wallace asked about the values we now have for education.

I commented:

Ben. To address the values question, I would jump back to your previous statement: “Well it seems its time has come.” I agree, the technology part of the answer has come. BUT, what, now, is the overall goal of education? I’m a strong believer that the world humans knew for the last 10,000 years has now gone over a tipping point. We are facing a crisis far beyond anything the politicians, media or people want to face up to. We are confronting the combination of: over population, resource depletion, pervasive automation, unstructured worldwide communication, and dysfunctional governing structures. We are confronting these in a world where the “values” questions can not even be answered for society in general. This is not just an education problem. It’s a meaning of life problem.

As an example, how would you have guided education in Rome during the collapse of the Roman Empire? This is not a trick question or a facetious question. I surely can’t answer it. And while the current world situation may not be as extreme as the fall of Rome, I think we are facing the same type of crisis.

I am currently working with the school system in Florida. I was one of the founders of a new type of school – the first, grade 6-12 all medical high school in the country. What distinguishes this experiment is that medicine is built into EVERY school subject. For example, when the kids go out for gym class, they do 5 minutes of sports medicine related to the gym activity. Pretty cool, right? We are a prototype for programs starting around the country. But think of the implications.

When kids graduate from this school, they will have 7 years of intense medical training. For example, they spend time in my center ( U. Florida College of Medicine simulation lab in Jacksonville ). They learn extensive emergency medicine and get hands on surgical training on human like robots. We are working to arrange special follow-on undergrad programs for them. SO, they will be knocking on the doors of traditional medical schools already having 11 years of medical training. How is the U.S. medical education system ready to handle this? It’s not. And leading medical schools I’ve contacted related to this program refuse to even discuss it.

Knowing that the U.S. must quickly cut medical costs by a factor of 4 just to match Europe, and then go further, what will medicine even look like 7 or 11 years from now? We don’t have a clue. So, answering the “values” question in our current world, for education, or any other issue, is, I think, actually one of the toughest tasks humanity has ever faced.

About Nanook

I am the "REAL" Nanook. I wrote the book LIARS! It presents the philosophy behind most of the posts on this blog. Look for information about it at
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