By Chris Barts
School buildings are very interesting places. They give insight into how we trained students for such modern fields as agriculture and factory work on assembly lines. Those fields are, by and large, dead now. Only two percent of all Americans farm, and less than five percent work on assembly lines. But that's what the schools prepare them for, with the assembly-line structure of periods and rooms we move between coupled with the industrial-looking buildings that pass for schools these days. Not only are these ancient institutions obsolete, they are also dangerous.
Perhaps the biggest danger is violence. From the occasional shoving and punches to tragic bullets, problems are bound to happen anytime there are large groups of people in one place. Security can be increased, but at a cost to taxes and peace of mind. Luckily, these old and dangerous buildings could soon be on the way out.
In a few years, computers will be more common in homes than TVs are now. And the main use of computers will be the internet. The best way the internet will help schools is by moving the classroom into the home. Students could get assignments online, work on them, ask similarly online teachers for help if needed, and get resources quickly and efficiently. All of the advancements possible with this medium, from interactive encyclopedias that can, quite literally, illustrate concepts to programs that not only do math problems, but also show the student how to do them.
But the programs will not supplant the teacher, merely supplement him with advanced tools to help him reach even students who need the most help. Teachers will be able to better tailor their courses to the students they have, increasing the amount everyone learns in the process. By increasing the amount learned, the chances of success outside the school increase.
And that is the whole point to school. By preparing them for a good job, and all of the good jobs now are based around computers, we give them a good future. The concept of someone taking his father's job at the assembly line or on the farm died off a while ago. It is time, and even past time, to move our schools into the future.
But a loss of the school building does not mean a loss of socialization, especially in the early years. The community, with state help, will be more than able to fund places for students to go and have supervised fun. From an early age, kids will go to these places and those who are having problems socializing will be given special help, thus preventing such sick minds from becoming sicker and possibly dangerous to society.
In conclusion, our present system is fraught with ideas that must have sounded good at the time, but simply don't work in the real world of today. Only through massive changes can we hope to save our most precious resource. The future.