Public Schools  c. 2040  (25 years from now)

I recently wrote a column about the Hamer School c. 1930s.  Compared to schools today, it seemed third world, but for most, despite obvious shortcomings, it got the job done with some modest success.  This column turns the clock forward 25 years and bravely predicts what schools might look like in the year 2040.  Of course these are opinions with no proof other than personal assumptions.  It is, however, likely that these predictions will come true far sooner (10 years?) than the 25 years but that is a good round figure.
First of all, there will not be any ‘schools’ as we know them today.  The then almost debt  free 2014 million dollar local buildings will be relegated to other functions such as community centers, that is if they are can still fill the needs in their present configurations.  There will be no need for bricks and mortar locations since nearly all ‘education’ will be technologically and essentially independently driven.  The classroom will be at the home of the student, the precursor (online learning) of this prediction is already in its infancy and growing. There will be no grade levels as we know them since advancement will occur only when the student successfully completes his particular course of study; his success will be determined by recognized levels of monitored accomplishments and by passing standardized tests. Hello brave new world, shades of home schooling.  Merit will be the new transparency. There will then be no set asides since it is hoped that equality of opportunity will be universal.
There will be no ‘teachers’ (facilitators?) as we know them today.  There will be congregational or group gatherings for special purposes but most learning will not be in what we today know as traditional classrooms.  The ‘classroom’ will be at the end of a computer terminal at home.  The supervising instructors (or ‘teachers”) will implement the course of study via distant learning and actually there will be monitors who will make house calls as required and/or needed.  One other important advancement will be that all parents instead of simply sending the students to a building and assuming no other responsibility will instead be held responsible in a more direct enforceable way. At last, this most important part of the learning process will be managed more effectively.
Yes there will be combined group offerings such as in music, clubs or sports with an emphasis on making this more universally and democratically available to all who show an interest even athletes like you.
In some countries today, students are assigned to career learning situations basically determined by academic achievement.  Once the preparatory courses are completed, advancement to higher levels of learning will be determined by achievement such as in countries like Japan and Germany for instance.  In all likelihood, by then the federal government/Big Brother (‘We know what is best for you.’) will be the final authority dealing with almost any aspect of schools, the states/locals assuming a mere secondary role.
Gone will be blackboards, school buses, Friday night football, recess, the “dog ate my homework” excuses will be redundant, being tardy for homeroom, pencils and paper will be replaced by keyboards and hard drives, no more school bells since classes will be offered on demand, graduation could come at any time, politicians will need to find other innovative ways to ‘allocate’ tax resources for education, vouchers will be a common tool to be used for attending any desired school.
Of course all of this depends on how well behaved some of the rogue (and not so ‘rogue’) nations remain especially those possessing civilization ending weapons of mass destruction.
In the meantime, see you at the bus stop.
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Bill Lee, PO Box 128, Hamer, SC 29547   DHS ‘46