Our public education system is a disaster. It is not the teachers, students or even the curriculum. It is the SYSTEM. We utilize a 19th century manufacturing system that meets the needs of only a few students. We need a new innovative approach that utilizes 21st century tools to keep our students competitive.
Robert Caveney has developed a new concept for education that works, but he needs resources to build a pilot program. The system allows for self-motivated learning, with a structure that provides students immediate feedback while using the latest technology.
In our current, antiquated system, a common teacher teaches children the same way. If students don’t master a subject, most still move on, like a widget in a manufacturing plant. If they have already mastered the subject, they still move with the same classmates, which can lead to boredom and less interest in the process. We know individuals are different and only a small percentage learn at the same rate.
The Caveney model is revolutionary. Small children master a toy and then move on to the next toy. Anyone who has watched an infant knows it is the challenge and mastery of the toy that makes it interesting. It is the same in education. If a child in first grade can do third grade math, that’s what they should be learning. If a child in third grade hasn’t mastered second grade math, they will fail at math from that point on. The Caveney solution recognizes this fundamental truth.
That’s why it is so important to change the system. We can continue to have core curriculum, teaching math and science and testing students all the time. But none of this will address the underlying problem of the old system. If the US is to compete in the 21st century and beyond, we must adapt to the best learning methods. An additional benefit to the Caveney model is it allows teachers flexibility—they’re not forced to teach the lowest common curriculum or teach to the test.
Right now, Caveney is looking to prove his system through a pilot program in some of the poorest schools districts in California. He is looking for $10 million to implement the program, which would revolutionize education based on Silicon Valley principles of ingenuity and innovation.
It is an educational start-up that needs venture capital. There is no better place and no group of people who understand the need for better education than CEOs in Silicon Valley. In fact, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, under the leadership of Carl Guardino, is best situated to embrace Caveney’s innovative solution and provide a conduit to resources.
There are many ideas and solutions on how to “fix” our educational system. We have tinkered, we have thrown money at the system, we have cajoled, threatened, revised—and the results continue to disappoint. It is time for new ideas that are uniquely Silicon Valley.
The questions remain: If we don’t step up to the plate to get it done, who will? And if not now, when?