In Alvin & Heidi Toffler’s book, Revolutionary Wealth, they discuss the “clash of speeds” of our various societal structures, using a train analogy.
Speeding along at 100 mph is the enlightened business train; adapting and using new technologies (exploiting change).
Still fast at 90 mph is the civil society train; NGO’s, professional groups, activists, religious groups (demanding change).
Keeping up at 60 mph is the family train; working, shopping, trading & selling from home (adapting to change).
A distance back, at 30 mph is the union train, still focused on a mass-production mindset (denying change).
A bit further back at 25 mph is the large government bureaucracy train; slowing everybody else down (fighting change).
Limping along at 10 mph is the education train; protected by monopoly, bureaucracy & unions (blind to change).
Way back is at 5 mph is the international agency train: comprising organizations like WIPO, WTO, IMF (immune to change).
Even slower, at 3 mph is the political system train; discussing, debating but not accomplishing much (too busy to change).
Pulling up the rear at 1 mph is the legal train; so far behind that it hasn’t noticed the beginning of the financial bubble, let alone its collapse (rigor mortis).[can the law keep up with technology?]
Reflecting on the organizations I have worked in and worked with, I think these speed comparisons make a lot sense. Given that certain businesses can change so much quicker than education, it’s obvious that educational reform will come from without, not within, the system.
When we significantly change how we work, our education systems should follow suit, but due to its design constraints, the Edu-train cannot keep up with the Ent 2.0 train. Perhaps the only option for the passengers is to get off and find another train.