Reflecting on yesterday’s show on education

Yesterday I interviewed two educational leaders from different ends of the ideological spectrum who had written open letters to President-elect Barack Obama.

I always love interviewing Howard Gardner (listen to our interview by clicking here). He is one of the most important educational thinkers in the world. He is just so clear in his analysis, research and thinking. In the past, we have had discussions where we paired him with leaders of educational systems to talk about how to translate his ideas into practice in our city and county public schools. On this show, he came on to talk about his open letter to President-elect Obama, which you can read by clicking here.

It is clear that changing our culture through the bully pulpit of leadership to respect and embrace education, along with treating teaching as a real, respected and well paid profession is the only prescription for success. Within that, we can make all kind of rules and regulations, but without anything implemented, it becomes meaningless and redundant.

Now, my second guest yesterday, Charles Murray, wrote a book I intellectually loathed, The Bell Curve (listen to our interview by clicking here). I just wanted to disagree with his latest New York Times op-ed (read it by clicking here) but I couldn’t. I love it when I am so challenged that I have to change my thinking or admit that life is more complex than simple ideological answers.

My show over the years has taught me that truth lives in all corners of our life. While I might disagree over some of his assumptions, Charles Murray is right. College is highly overrated. Why should someone who wants to be a computer programmer, interior designer, actor, marketing executive, software designer or hundreds of other jobs I could mention, have to take physics, European literature or required gym courses to graduate? If we restructured our world of post-secondary education, it would save money, time and produce a creative population that will build a great nation.

Charles Murray, years back I took on one of your intellectual mentors at Hopkins over the Bell Curve, but your advice to President Obama is dead on.