Conventional Wisdom vs. Collective Wisdom
Topic: Leadership Issues
The following are some ideas that I've been mulling over, but haven't really gelled into anything yet. Comments, suggestions, etc. most welcome as I try to sort this out!
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've been reading Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubnar. Chapter 3 includes a discussion of some of the issues with conventional wisdom, certain ideas or explanations that are generally accepted as true by the public, whether or not these ideas or explanations actually are true. There's a free, downloadable study guide for students that may be helpful in working through this chapter.
Seems to me that many of the problems in the U.S. education system result directly from our acceptance of conventional wisdom that no longer holds water.
A quick example. It may have once been true that the majority of school drop-outs were failing academically. However, the recently released report, The Silent Epidemic, states that two-thirds of today's drop-outs had GPAs of 2.0 or higher when they left school. This is something we need to explore in greater depth...while we're at it, let's look at school calendars, the length of the school day, scheduling in middle and high schools, the fossilizing curriculum, and more.
Something that isn't discussed in Freakonomics is the value of collective wisdom. James Surowiecki describes how this works in his book, The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations.
It would be possible for us to use the collective wisdom of educators, parents, students, community members, and others to take a long, hard look at what's working, what isn't, and how things might be changed.
It would mean being able to identify wise groups...where people have independent ideas, private information they're willing to share, a way to gather and aggregate ideas...probably more. Also, it would require the right questions. Not sure yet what those would be.
Technorati tags: k-12.education, Freakonomics, conventional.wisdom, collective.wisdom
Posted by sjbrooks_young
at 4:31 PM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 9 September 2006 3:12 PM PDT