To effectively build a modern workforce and combat the nation’s crippling debt, the U.S. must radically transform its education system, federal leaders said Thursday.
“We are in the information age and we have all these technological advancements like the Khan Academy and mass online open courses, but we are not using them—we are still embracing an 18th- or 19th-century model of education,” Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said at the Labor Department’s Tech Day in Washington.
The annual event highlights implementations of innovative technologies across government, but a recurring theme in officials’ opening speeches reiterated the need for America to revamp education. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said it feels as though the nation educates today as it did “a thousand years ago.”
“Technology has moved forward, but our system and education and training hasn’t,” Acosta said.
The secretary also noted that his three children use Khan Academy—a free online learning dashboard that educates across multiple subjects—and that the platform offers appealing and accessible services that should be more widely used.
“With sites like Khan Academy, we can start to transform the system and we can start to create education that is [based on] stackable credentials and continuous learning, where you are working and you are developing your skills and it is all happening in a simultaneously integrated scheme as technology accelerates and changes faster and faster,” Acosta said.
Johnson said a large part of the problem with the nation’s education system is that, for decades now, leaders and parents have pushed the notion that people must graduate college ..