It’s time for education


A decade of passing innovative education legislation resulted in my selection to the National Council of States Legislature’s International Education Study Group, which studies the best performing education systems in the world. world. For several years, this group has systematically examined education practices in countries from Canada to Singapore and states from Massachusetts to Hawaii.

Conclusion: The American public education system that fueled the most powerful economy in the world for more than a century, including winning two world wars, is becoming obsolete and now steadily falling behind other more modern industrial countries. , especially in mathematics and professional technical preparation.

Today, laptops diagnose problems in cars and tractors, GPS guidance directs precision farming, restaurants take orders on a smart device, and large logging machines chop wood. The increasing level of automation found everywhere requires higher technical skills from employees, even at entry levels. Covid has accelerated the already rapid pace of technology adoption and forced parents and employers to engage directly with education.

A growing number of parents are unconvinced that the public education system is preparing their children to succeed in the 21st century workplace or with the tools to be good citizens. Employers are desperate for more qualified graduates.

Despite often heroic efforts, teachers often find that yesterday’s methodologies are not adequate to provide enough educational opportunities today. School trustees struggle to define modern and stable learning processes that provide students with the improved outcomes demanded in career and college readiness.

The “Covid chaos” has exposed to this broad group of stakeholders the shortcomings of our current educational model. Parents, teachers, school trustees, employers, and legislators, together now, are all highly motivated to move education toward better student outcomes.

Educational practices that work in other countries and states will never translate directly to Montana. But the “best practices” proven to produce high student outcomes will work if those practices are adopted thoughtfully, with respect for Montana’s unique culture. These modern “best practices” do not require new buildings or huge additional investments, but they do require parents, teachers, employers, administrators and legislators to focus on the common goal of redefining and refueling the American educational engine to lead the world once again. .

The inescapable truth is that the current education model in the United States and Montana must be updated to remain competitive with the new systems being adopted in the modern industrialized world. The stakes have never been higher, given the global and domestic threats facing our nation.

Now is the time to get involved to ensure that our young people are competitive in the job market and well prepared to be the informed citizen support of this great representative democracy.

Just as the Sear retail model eventually gave way to the Walmart model and then the Amazon model, America’s public education engine must modernize if our nation is to once again lead economically and once again become the beacon of freedom and most powerful opportunity in the world.

The time has come.

State Rep. Llew Jones, R-Conrad, is Chairman of House Appropriations

Norma A. Roth