Those of us who have been in two boats at the same time know that waiting only gets us wet. Earlier decisions... uh, earlier better decisions bring us relief, dry feet, and commitment to a singular solution. The hope of continuing in the old boat while committing to the new boat's promising future is akin to walking on two paths simultaneously. Can't be done and shouldn't be attempted.
There is writing on the wall. If you can't see it from where you stand - step closer. Whether you look for it or foolishly wait for it to reach out from the paint and grab your sleeve - it is still there. Like a tornado warning that falls under the desk, it is still there and the tornado is still coming, whether or not we look for the report.
The gap between what students need to know and what they are being taught in public schools is widening exponentially each year. The problem is monumental and includes millions of stakeholders in more than 100,000 organizations, schools, universities, businesses, governments, and institutions. The problem we see isn't the actual problem. The actual problem is that we are all products of the system we seek to change.
Just as if a top Microsoft engineer was asked to make Windows 7 run like Leopard OS X the task would be insurmountable because the Microsoft mentality and culture that he/she absorbed in order to succeed would inhibit and taint the need for new thoughts and ways of building an operating system. The solution provider would need to be someone who knows Windows 7 but left Microsoft and went to work for Apple developing the Leopard OS X system. The problem we see, converting the system, isn't the main issue. The main issue is inside the existing mentality that prohibits Microsoft from hiring the programmer from Apple who once rejected Microsoft and left. Territorialism is the problem.
In trying to solve the pending crisis of our two-boated leaders, their insistence that they know best, even though they themselves perpetuated and still advocate for the existing system, fails to inspire confidence. At the rate we are changing, by my conservative estimate, we will be lucky to move halfway toward any collaborative and effective solution within 10-15 years. That is an entire generation of children, and the problem is still only halfway solved.
Why is the peril ours if we ignore the writing on the wall? Because the system will continue to produce new members of our society - new retail clerks, new sales reps, new factory workers, and new delivery drivers as well as new college students, engineers, managers, and voters. Most terrifying of all is that the system that needs to be changed will continue to produce new teachers for the next 10-30 years.
The longer we ignore the tornado report, the closer the tornado looms. We are going to be dealing with these members of our community who could be so much more prepared to contribute instead of being a burden to the economy, the cultural goodness we love to experience, and other areas where they are not providing good thinking and good solutions.
And, besides, who is going to teach them to decide for themselves what boat is best before they get soaked?