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Graduate School at the Primary Level: Thoughts on Improving the System

September 13, 2011

“How can America lead the world in higher education while lagging at the primary level?”


The above question was a reader comment on an article I read last week. And a succinctly poignant one at that. While the answer most likely lies in a heap of bureaucracy and politics, this question got me thinking…


All things being equal, why not restructure our K-12 education system to mirror that of an advanced degree program? Of course it would be much simpler since the core curriculum would remain fundamental in nature, but the rules of engagement would become significantly more…engaging.


Many of the top U.S. business schools tout “experiential” learning methods whereby students work in small groups to solve real-world business problems. They learn the value of teamwork and how to harness each individual’s skills for the betterment of the team. But most importantly, they learn practical applications for theoretical strategies.

So, why not mimic such an integrated curriculum at the primary level, too? As I noted in this post last week, students at Charlton Manor Primary School in the UK are already beginning to take a step in the right direction. It’s time our K-12 classes in the U.S. do the same. The way I see it, there are two key components that need to be addressed:

  1. Relevance. This will always be the crux of anything worth committing to memory. Unfortunately, our current education system can’t remember that. Especially as our attention spans shrink, it’s time to trim our lectures and expand our case studies. Plus no matter how old or young, we’re all inherently selfish. So, we must rewrite the curriculum with the thought of “what’s in it for me?”
  2. Integration. This stems directly from creating a more relevant curriculum. For example, why do humanities and math classes have to be held at separate ends of the hallway? Why not integrate them to show how everything we learn is interwoven when you step back and look at the bigger picture.

What do you think? Would our K-12 education system benefit from being remodeled after an MBA program?

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