Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Eliot Era?

I'm trying to blog more often, mostly for my own sake. So this is another post just to capture a thought I had today.

I heard this story on NPR this morning. It was about the discovery of three new human viruses, which is interesting in and of itself. But this was the line that got me thinking:
Better communications aside, the world has another big advantage over the SARS era.
The SARS era. SARS happened in 2003. It struck me that in less than ten years we've apparently changed eras in virus research.

So, naturally, that got me to thinking about schools and what era we're in. We're pretty much still in the Eliot Era. Charles Eliot, who was President of Harvard at the time, chaired the Committee of Ten that pretty much set up the curricular paradigm we follow in our schools. Not a huge problem in and of itself, except that it was in 1892, which means the Eliot Era has lasted for 120 years (and counting).
Brownstein and his colleagues collect real-time reports about disease outbreaks from all over the world and display them on a website called HealthMap.

"Ten years after SARS, I think it's very difficult to imagine ... an important public health event where that information isn't getting out in some form — via text messages, tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, chat rooms," he told Shots. "I think there's very few places on Earth where we're not able to get citizen reporting and information."

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, agrees. "Communication about health-related issues just travels with the speed of light today," he says. "I think the problem of international communication — openness and sharing of information — is largely resolved." 
One hundred twenty years after Eliot, I think it's very difficult to imagine . . . well, no, actually it's not. I think there's still one place on Earth where we're able to channel 1892. How much longer do you think the Eliot Era is going to last? What might we replace it with?

1 comment:

  1. I think a big piece of the puzzle is rethinking what high school graduation requirements are. Parent expectations and college admissions figure high there, however.

    Who has proposed a new paradigm of high school credits that would replace "Carnegie Units?" Inquiring minds want to know!