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Arthur Camins: Stop Filling the Potholes in Education and Healthcare

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Arthur Camins, scientist and technologist, warns that public policy in both education and healthcare is deeply flawed and cannot be fixed with patches. No matter how many potholes are fixed, the underlying problems go untouched and unchanged.

Our flawed policy is the result of deeply ingrained flawed thinking.

The United States, he writes, is the victim of a combination of forty years of skepticism of government solutions and acceptance of “let’s be realistic about what we can accomplish” thinking.

For example, for decades scattershot treatments of outcomes have characterized bi-partisan education improvement efforts with little to nothing to show for it except undermined public education and stress. The driving causes of inequitable outcomes, systemic inequity, its enabler, racism, and resultant precarious lives remain rampant and unaddressed. 

Instead, the dominant education interventions have been to push or blame individuals. These include rewards and punishments for educators or students based on standardized test scores; rigid discipline regimes; and, more recently, a focus on developing grit to work through, put up with, or overcome rather than eliminate challenging social and economic conditions.

Equally, if not more, insidious is you-can’t-save-everyone solutions, such as escape hatches for some kids through charter schools and vouchers, most of which are no better than local public schools.  More broadly, the lack of universal health care and inequitable funding of schools through local real estate yield the same help-a-few result.

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