To answer that question we must start at the very beginning.

The Renaissance

* The Renaissance is considered to be the transition from the medieval world to the modern world. It was the great revival of all arts, science, literature, and learning. It started in Italy and continued through the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. It was the time when  scholars asked the questions how? and why? Knowledge developed during the Renaissance proved to be a catalyst for technology development in America (i.e., 1620-Present).

Technology Development in America

* Technology development in America has gone through four phases.

1. Agrarian and Handcraft (1620-1869)

2. Industry and Machine Technology (1870-1939)

3. Advanced Technology (1940-2009)

4. Super Technology (2010-Present)

* Utilization of technology requires a Workforce with skill sets in sync with the skill sets of the technology; an Education System that creates those skill sets.

Agrarian and Handcraft (1620-1869)

* During the early stages of Phase 1, education took the form of home-schooling, single-room schoolhouses, and apprenticeships with local craftsmen. The focus was on the basics (i.e., reading, writing, and arithmetic, and learning a trade).

* Teaching the basics was considered woman’s work, and teaching an apprentice a trade was highly regarded.

* As the population grew the home-schooling and one-room schools became obsolete, giving way to larger schools and students being placed in classes with children of the same age. Vocational training still went the way of apprenticeships.

* The first Board of Education was established in 1647.

* State colleges were established. Baruch College in New York was founded in 1847 as the Free Academy; the first free public institution of higher education, according to the college.

* Through Phase 1 funding education was the responsibility of the states and localities.

Industry and Machine Technology (1870-1939)

* Vocational schools were started in 1889 to address the growing need for a Workforce with technical skills.

* Brooklyn Technical High School (BTHS) was established in 1922, offering rigorous and comprehensive curriculums that provided the opportunity for students to develop the skills and knowledge that are prerequisites for success in engineering. It was the first STEM high school, but no one knew it at the time. The STEM acronym was not created until 2001.

* Chemical, Mechanical, and Electrical engineering curriculums were developed, and colleges started to contribute to the technical component of the Workforce skill sets.

* Funding of education was still the responsibility of the states and localities.

Advanced Technology (1940-2009)

* After WW II America realized that Germany had superior technology and science skill sets. Operation Paperclip was a secret United States intelligence program in which more than 1,600  German scientists, engineers, and technicians were taken from the former Nazi Germany to the U.S. for government employment; from 1945 to 1959. Many of these personnel were former members, and some were former leaders, of the Nazi Party. Wernher Von Braun the head of Germany’s rocket program, and a leader in the Nazi Government, quickly became the leader of NASA’s rocket program.

* The H-1 visa of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 eventually became the H-1B visa that allows U.S. employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations; essentialy outsourcing superior technology and science skill sets.

* The end of WW II created a tremendous surge of positive energy over America.

* K-12 schools became prominent.

* Vocational schools continued to deliver technical skill sets to the Workforce.

* Colleges with Chemical, Mechanical, Electrical, etc., engineering curriculums continued to contribute to the Workforce skill sets.

Let’s take a look at the college experience first.

* The GI Bill increased the number of Americans wanting to go to college; and continued into the 1960s.

* Up until the 1960s state universities were tuition-free.

* The new influx of college eligible Americans and their demand for education (which outpaced supply and funding), led to the end of tuition-free state universities; and the start of the student loan crisis. The rule for the new business model for education became empty seats do not generate cash-flow.

* Before the for-profit business model, requirements for admission to, and remaining in, college were rigorous and comprehensive; resulting in graduates with significant skill sets that were in sync with the Workforce requirements.

* The conversion from tuition-free education to a for-profit business model resulted in lowerd requirements for college admission (i.e., empty seats do not generate cash-flow), lowered requirements for staying in college (i.e., empty seats do not generate cash-flow), and reduced quality of the skill sets of graduates entering the Workforce. America’s talent pool was being filtered based on the ability to pay for higher education!

* Since the late 1960s the quality of Workforce skill sets has been declining as poorly trained college graduates entered the Workforce while “old school” college graduates (i.e., those having experienced rigorous and comprehensive curriculums) were leaving the Workforce (i.e., retirement, downsizing, etc.). By the early 2000s, the Workforce contained 100% of poorly trained college graduates with questionable skill sets.

* Primary funding was still the responsibility of the states or localities.

Let’s take a look at the K-12 experience

* It wasn’t until the mid 1960s that the Federal Government mentioned education in a budget; responding to constant reports of poor student performance since the 1940s. The relative decline of American education had been a national embarrasment, as well as a threat to the nation’s future, for decades. The government funding was for special projects, focused on solving specific problems. Primary funding was still the responsibility of the states or localities.

* Students are promoted through the system unprepared for success at each new level.

* Rigorous and comprehensive curriculum is sacrificed to prepare students for required standardized testing.

* As students leave high school unprepared for success at the college level, they have a hard time dealing with the college curriculum or the general workplace.

Let’s take a look at the STEM experience

* The STEM acronym was not created until 2001 (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in reaction to the technology boom in 2000.

* The federal government put out the call for help in stimulating the technical component of the Workforce skill sets. The promise of federal funding  for special projects got the attention of consultants and Project Lead The Way (PLTW) was created. The goals of PLTW were to provide transformative learning experiences for PreK-12 students and teachers across the United States, create an engaging hands-on classroom environment, empower students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills they need to thrive, provide teachers with the training, resources, and support needed to engage students in real-world learning.

* After two decades of trying to increase the interest of teenagers in STEM, and teaching teachers how to teach STEM, teenager’s interest in STEM careers is decreasing and there is a shortage of teachers that can teach engineering.

Super Technology (2010-Present)

* America’s students are not progressing to catch up to their peers in other industrialized countries.

* America’s education system is not run by educators. American reform movements driven by milllionaires, billionaires, and free-market and privatization zelots with no real knowledge or understanding of public education; continue to fall short of promised imporvements (i.e., charter schools, cyber schools, vouchers, and corporate testing apparatus).

* Increasing pressure to integrate technology into the teaching process is reducing the role of teachers to that of an occasional proctor in the presence of students sent to a physical learning environment; a computer lab.

* The interaction between students and teachers is where knowledge is developed. That knowledge has a major impact on any country’s economic strength. That is why that interaction must be optimized, not diminished! If it is not optimized, America’s education system will never be more than mediocre!

* COVID and Inclusion continue to have a negative effect on student performance and teacher’s Teaching Time.

* Federal spending is limited to supporting special programs that attempt to address the mediocre performance of America’s students (i.e., no child left behind, professional development for teachers and staff, benchmarks for student achievement, measurable goals for all students, etc.).

* The percent of the Total Federal Budget spending for education, from 2010 -2019 was…

2010…3%     2011…1.4%     2012…2%     2013…2%     2014…3%

2015…3%     2016…2%     2017…2%     2018…2.6%     2019…2%

That level of spending does not indicate a high priority item.

* Primary funding of the Education System is still the responsibility of the states and localities!

* The government and the general public do not realize the impact that education has on a nation’s ecomomic strength and future. The general public considers education a secondary career with a ten-month year and minor stress.




 * Which supports and barriers were in play?

* What were the dynamics?

* Who, or what, won the Tug-of-War?

* Discuss the outcome with your friends and family.

* Use Post #4 as a reference for the dynamics, and the relationships, between supports and barriers.