Solutions for Core Problem #2 with Education in the United States

This article is from our series, Education Reform: A Simple Blueprint for Human-Friendly Education. For a directory of all articles in this series, click here. To get the full series in one downloadable PDF, sign-up for the free report in the black box on the right. 

Solution #2 Core Problem


In a previous article, I described Three Core Problems with US Education:

Core Problem #1: There is a serious motivation crisis among our students.
Core Problem #2: There is a lack of relevance in our curriculum.
Core Problem #3: We are using completely irrational and ineffective models for learning.

Within each problem, there are simple leverage points that can initiate great change without radical “restructuring” of the existing system… (The radical restructuring can come later.)

Solution for Core Problem #2: The Lack of Relevance

“Relevance” is critical to the brain biology of learning for two reasons:

First, students must know *why* they need to know something. They must feel the investment of their time will be worthwhile. If there is any sense of “this is a waste of my time,” the emotional center of the brain restricts brain chemicals. On the other hand, if there is interest in a topic and/or an authentic understanding of why something is important, the emotional center of the brain floods the brain with fresh power, promoting engagement and learning.

Secondly, the brain cannot truly learn something new if it cannot connect the new information to something it already understands. So, if students don’t see how new information is relevant to something they already understand, there will not be any learning happening; its biologically impossible.

The most impactful leverage point for facilitating “relevance” is to ensure curriculum content and mandates are correlated with needs in the workplace and for managing independent living.

Finland streamlined curriculum standards to match workplace relevance and emerged at the top of the world for education quality and effectiveness in the workplace.

The United States has made some forward progress towards streamlining standards to match the needs of the workplace; this was the entire purpose behind Common Core. However, our country’s interpretation and implementation of Common Core has some major issues. The good news is that the U.S. does not need new legislation to accomplish relevance. We simply need a better understanding of the Common Core, as I will address in a future article, Common Core: Why It’s The Worst & BEST Thing to Happen to Education.

In the next article, we’ll take a look at Solutions for Core Problem #3 with Education in the United States.

To our students’ success,

Susan Kruger Signature



Susan Kruger, M.Ed.

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