When School Systems Don’t Work
Systems thinking extends beyond just a framework for approaching IT solutions because almost everything we interact with is a system in some aspect. Systems thinking is crucial in The U.S. Education System yet this form of analysis is not always implemented. With any system, there is a chance that it will break if the parts are not viewed in an integrated manner. For example, the school to prison pipeline phenomenon arose due to “quick” or “easy” solutions that ignored the interrelated components of the system. The inputs of the education system—access to quality teachers, proper funding, and the opportunity for growth and counsel are necessary to produce the output—educated and skilled individuals that will contribute to society. Not all schools have an adequate amount of these inputs, which lessens the likelihood that these students will succeed. Additionally, certain practices cause unintended consequences. Many schools in poor and urban areas, with a predominately black and Latino student population, have reverted to zero-tolerance policies and increased police presence to combat issues within the school environment. With these policies in place, more kids are expelled or arrested. As a result, they are more likely to become involved in criminal activity and not complete their schooling. These tactics focus more on removing the problem instead of implementing a long-term and beneficial solution. A more systems thinking approach would incorporate programs that focused on social, cognitive, and behavioral skill building for students at risk of violent or illegal behavior. This solution would better recognize students, especially those of color, as valued members instead of as disposable parts of the system.
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