If there was ever a magic school bus this is it, and it is called Responsibility.   Ramel Aziz Sherman, Antoine Grant, Joaquín Trujillo Campos, and Stuart Felkner are recent college graduates with a mission: to understand the issues that our educational system faces.  They are on an Educate Responsibility Tour and are traveling 10,000 miles across the country and stopping in 15 cities and over 20 Public Schools .  They are also fiscally supporting education; Responsibility calls itself a “gift giving platform” and for every dollar spent on the tour means another dollar towards education.

They explain their goal for this tour to be “to gain a better understanding of what the barriers are to providing a better education to our students. We’re […] engaging in conversations with our nations educators and visiting the facilities in which they operate. We want to understand how we can facilitate a positive change within education so more students are motivated to learn and more teachers are armed with the tools they need to motivate them.”

As they go they are recording their daily progress so anyone can follow and engage in the tour via their Twitter, Facebook, or website: http://tour.responsibly.com/.

They just left New York yesterday and have yet to post anything—except for pictures—about their experience.  I am quite eager to find out what they have learned about the education system from the schools of New York.  I wish I could be a part of this tour because maybe, just maybe, then I will be able to understand why our education system is in such a funk.

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Who is one of the top countries in the World education-wise? Finland. How do they do it? Shorter school days, less homework, as little measuring and testing as possible, and a flexible curriculum. Say What?!  In the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey, Finland placed third in mathematics, second in science literacy, and second in reading.  With Asian countries, like South Korea and Singapore, being Finland’s only real rivals—and the way they teach is more of a learn-it-or-die approach which would only make the Finns cringe.  The United States on the other hand placed around average on its science and mathematics scores and 15th in reading.  Wa-Wa-Waaaaa.

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Back in October, Comedian Lewis Black appeared on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show (check out the link below) to comment on the education crisis. Okay, okay, I know this bit is dated, but it was too funny not to draw attention to, and the worst part is, IT’S STILL RELEVANT. Aside from the obvious laughs, Black actually makes some noteworthy points. Some highlights:

  1. This fall NBC decided to devote 1 week to the topic education. Wow, a FULL week did they run out of Law and Order re-runs to show?
  2. There is simply not enough information for people to understand WHAT the education crisis is…. after all we are not all rocket scientists, so why has NOBODY defined the problem?
  3. Robert F. Kennedy’s Community School cost 578000000 million dollars! Talk about a waste of money…. save on the fancy amenities and focus on making sure there is room for everyone in the school!
  4. The film Waiting For Superman highlights the process of Charter School selection-through lotteries…Seriously
  5. David Gregory suggests parents pop in to public schools-even if their kids don’t go there- to see what they can do to help improve the school. I can’t even say A for effort here David Gregory, stick to Meet The Press. This idea is disastrous, and screams a future episode of Law and Order SVU.
  6. As Green Day’s “American Idiot” plays Black declares U.S. kids the most confident, not the best in math or science, but at least the most confident…GREAT

Aside from the obvious laughs-and lets face it, Black is hysterical- the content is deeply depressing. This segment ran in October and it seems that the education crisis remains EXACTLY the same, if not worse. It is good that The Daily Show is drawing attention to this serious issue, now someone just has to DO SOMETHING. Hey Lewis Black, have you thought about a career in education? Think about it…. as you very well know, it couldn’t possibly get any worse.

For GAURENTEED laughs, check out the video:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-october-5-2010/back-in-black—education-crisis