No Bad Idea Gets Left Behind


It struck me that there is always something very suspicious when the government voluntarily stops doing something. Perhaps you noticed it too: there is now a new push to end “no child gets left behind.”

How can something with such a seemingly wonderful idea captured in a program title fall into disfavor? I hear the woes from my sister in law who has been a teacher all her life in poor schools in Alabama as well as from my lovely wife Susan. So, I guess I do understand that the idea that everyone needs to achieve a certain level of education is, at least on the surface, a noble idea. That is, until you try to make it work in practice.

Having graduated from a college that few would want to, no less try to get through, I can attest to the fact that they told us from the outset that 1/3rd of our class was going to get left behind and that if we didn’t want to be in that third, we had better be prepared to work very hard. I must admit that hearing that during my freshman orientation was far from encouraging given I knew I had nowhere near the preparatory education of my classmates.

But, maybe it is high time to realize that life skills might matter a bit more than text book skills to help us become better citizens and more productive in our society. Most of us will not have to solve math problems like the one shown here with the intuitive solution by one student shown as well to make my point.
Unfortunately, for us in the power business, many of these skills do matter and, the fact is, that the basic skills coming out of high school and even college are declining. What we assumed years ago as problem solving skills are simply not there anymore.

We need some better ideas to attract and train people to join and stay in our industry.

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