Six contrarian predictions for the 2010s
No one can predict the future, but cultural moods and global trends indicate that these six educational reforms could be headed to a classroom near you in the next decade. The only guarantee? That every one of them will be controversial and bitterly contested.
By Hank Pellissier
Hello, metric system
What does the United States share with only Burma and Liberia? Thankfully, it's not appalling poverty and short life expectancy, but it's something just as outdated and primitive. Hint: miles, inches, quarts, pounds, Fahrenheit. Good grief, we're still non-metric! As futurist Thomas Frey points out, using antiquated systems slows progress. For instance, the metric system creates a time suck for schoolchildren because it takes far longer to memorize our excruciating formulas (36 inches per yard, 128 fluid ounces per gallon, 16 ounces per pound, 5,280 feet per mile, etc.) than it does to grasp the sensible base 10 metric system, conceived by a Flemish mathematician and initially adopted by revolutionary France in 1791.
Why do we cling to the troglodyte system inherited from the British colonial era? With the new focus on readying our students for a global economy, it’s only logical that, over the next decade, U.S. schools leave behind this archaic measuring mess and join the civilized world. After that, we might even resolve the whole cursive-versus-printing debate and develop a user-friendly keyboard.