How to Improve Schools

My friend Steve Brant wrote an article in response to a NY Times article dealing with schools.  Steve has given me permission to publish it. Steve writes for the Huffington Post as well.

I agree that an education is not simply a matter of a bunch of separately measurable, mechanical skills (“reading, writing, ‘rithmetic”) and that students should be forced to learn using fear of bad grades as the motivator.

That “assembly line thinking” (which was actually portrayed in the film “Waiting for ‘Superman”) approach to teaching is obsolete. It does nothing to fire the creative, imaginative minds of students!

The creation of minds that love to learn and love to use their creative capacity to combine ideas in new and imaginative ways is what should be driving America’s educational improvement efforts. “Teaching to the test” is a recipe for a failed educational system. It may make some people feel good, because it lets us “blame someone” (usually teachers) when students don’t do well. But what we really should be doing is “blaming” the design of the educational system…. a design which is obsolete and has been for a long time… for our troubles.

The education system in America needs to be redesigned in such a way that it eliminates fear-based, mechanical (assembly line) teaching and replaces that process with aspiration-based learning in which students get to help direct their own learning process.


Steven G. Brant

Founder and Principal

Trimtab Management Systems

[email protected]

Skype:  stevengbrant (memorial essay to Russ Ackoff)