Strangers Always Have an Opinion About Education.

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Everyone Gets an Opinion.  And Has One.Vacations are nice. Coming home afterwards is better.

It is always an experience to get out and see different parts of the country. An even better experience is sleeping in my own bed.

Yesterday was a travel day. It seems that the first and last day of any vacation is totally consumed with getting to your destination or coming home (and worse… packing).

It may ruin a whole day, but it does give you time to think.

While coming home, I took a few moments to contemplate everything that happened in the last several days (2 hours to the airport + 3 1/2 hours in the airport + 2 hour flight + 2 1/2 hour drive home = way, way too much time to think).

It occurred to me that while traveling in the last couple of weeks, I met two people who had very strong feelings about public education (doesn’t everybody?). And specifically how important technology is or isn’t for today’s students.

I didn’t really put too much thought into it at the time, but they were on the opposite end of the spectrum with their opinions.

The first time this subject was brought up was when we were taking a taxi in San Antonio.

Rocky, the cab driver (not to be confused with the Mountains) asked me what I did for a living.

Why is it that cab drivers always ask what you do? Anyway, he asked and when I said that I worked in a public school he wanted to share his thoughts (doesn’t everybody?).

His father came to America when he was a boy (about 50 years ago, I am guessing).

With his job he was able to put both of his daughters through college. He said that was important to his wife and him, even if they had to work 70 hours a week to pay for it.

He felt the world was changing too quickly, so college was not an option.

I asked him what was changing and he said everything…because of computers. He believes that even to drive a cab in today’s world that you need some knowledge of technology.

Their family has always had a personal computer in the house. He said his daughters lived on it during college.

His one complaint about their high school years was they didn’t learn enough about computers.

Then there was Mark. I played golf with him in Colorado. His opinion was just the opposite.

He was also interested in my job. He also had some thoughts about schools (shocker… doesn’t everybody?).

As the owner of his own business, he felt his employees (primarily teenagers) knew a lot about computers but not enough about working.

His idea: we spend way too much time teaching computers in school. He thinks humans are way too impressed with our own inventions.

While he owns a computer, he says he doesn’t use it. He doesn’t think we should spend so much time on them until we get the kinks out (I am not sure how we do this if we don’t use them, but who am I to argue with a complete stranger).

His strongest feeling was that public education should be more focused on vocational programs. He hates to see programs getting cut in school like art, music, industrial arts, etc., just so we can focus on test scores and technology.

So that was my vacation. Listening to strangers tell me what is right and wrong about education (ironically it was kind of like being at work).

Actually, it was quite interesting. I learned a lot from both. Although I was surprised about who believed what.

The one, who has the blue collar job, believes technology is the wave of the future.

The white collar businessman thinks schools need to spend more time on vocational programs and teaching work ethic.

I am more confused than ever. Should schools focus more time on technology, or less?

Should we set more time aside in the schedule for computers, or use that time for vocational programs?

Maybe we need to do both, but how do we find the time?

I wish I had thought to ask them.

Who knew strangers were so smart?

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3 Responses to “Strangers Always Have an Opinion About Education.”

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.