The future of education consists of an increasing focus on the deliberate cultivation of specific cultural norms - those habits and attitudes that will most likely lead to lifelong happiness and success.
There are three fundamental trends driving us towards such a future:
1. Increasing parental control over their child's education. For the past 150 years or so, governments have predominantly controlled education, and continue to do so in most of the world. But there are global trends in the direction of school choice, homeschooling/unschooling, and greater parental influence and control in general. Government controlled schools have failed to provide parents with the personalized approaches to their children's happiness and well-being that all parents want for their children. As legacy state schooling systems continue to fail to adapt to a rapidly changing future, the global movement towards parental-driven education will accelerate.
2. Educational technology increasingly supports the more mechanical aspects of education. While the promises of edtech have been oversold, and edtech on its own will not revolutionize education, it is also true that diverse edtech products and services are increasingly replacing the most mechanical aspects of human teaching with educational technology. The mistake of edtech advocates has been to imagine that the human then vanishes. Instead, as edtech takes on an ever more significant role in a parent-driven education market, consumer focused education will allow tech to do what tech does best while optimizing human interactions for those aspects of human development which are best done by humans. Dialogue, mentoring, and the coaching of sophisticated human traits will be done by humans, whereas instruction in factoring polynomials or memorizing Spanish verbs will be done by technology.
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3. Internal locus of control and positive habits and attitudes are increasingly recognized as a foundation for lifelong happiness. Government schools, controlled by politicized electoral politics and entrenched bureaucracies, have shown little or no interest in the well-being of children. In the US, for instance, 2/3 of American high school students are disengaged (Gallup), 75% are unhappy (Yale), and a wide range of adolescent dysfunctions, including depression and suicide, are associated with feeling disconnected from school (CDC). Given a choice, parents would never choose such a damaging institution for their children. As a customer-driven market becomes increasingly focused on ensuring both short-term and long-term well-being for children, positive habits and attitudes will become a differentiator and area of expertise and focus for an increasing percentage of educational institutions. Moreover, positive habits and attitudes are also more likely to lead to professional success; note the fact that Utah spends the least on K12 education per pupil while also having the highest rates of social mobility due to the brilliant LDS social technology for developing positive habits and attitudes.
While this envisioned future is unfamiliar to many, each of the foregoing rationales is based on a solid foundation. Future posts will unpack specific elements and case studies in support of this future.