The 3 Legged Stool
The Border Education Project sees 21st century education as a 3 legged stool. This can be better understood by referring to the 3-way Venn Diagram. The 3 legs are the 3 subjects of engineering, language, and music/arts. Engineering will be divided into 4 areas-Electronics, computers, woodworking and metalworking. The necessary amounts of science and mathematics will be taught to achieve competence in these four areas. Languages taught will be English and Spanish concurrently, using the Dual Immersion Method, focusing on the thousands of English/Spanish cognates and the Common Underlying Proficiency approach between 2 similar languages.
Music and the arts is the third leg of the stool since it serves to supplement and reinforce the 2 other legs. Music has proven benefits in the learning of language, it helps to improve memory and the development of self-expression and creativity. The hand-eye coordination developed in music performance is critical in the 21st century workplace since the operation of many types of high tech machinery requires the same high level of coordination between hands and eyes. The type of teamwork required in music performance is also important in the modern workplace.
We will begin the process of establishing a charter school called The School of Manufacturing. To counteract the negative stereotype of manufacturing, the subtitle will read “Creative and Artistic People Wanted.” Manufacturing is the process of creating something out of nothing, the same way a sculptor may sculpt a sculpture, and a painter may paint a painting or a composer may compose music. Anyone knowledgeable about manufacturing will tell you that creativity plays a big part in a successful manufacturing operation. Manufacturing, with its’ higher paying jobs is the future of both the U.S. and Mexico and more manufacturing done here is a win-win for both countries. Setting up a charter school is at least a 2 year process, so while we are moving forward on that, we are also pursuing other avenues.
Community Empowerment Centers
Community Empowerment Centers will be places where students, parents and community members will be able to utilize the school for various uses. Students will be able to take their electronics, computers, metalworking and wordworking skills to build products and structures to benefit the community and perform mechanical or electronic repairs on products that their friends, family or community members need fixed. This teaches the students repair skills and allows the family or community to continue to use something that they would otherwise have thrown away and would have to replace.
The school, since one third of it is Music and The Arts, can be used to stage plays or music performances or to watch educational, entertaining movies.
Above all, it brings empowerment. When students can build or fix things for their family and community- that empowers them. When parents see their children developing the ability to build or fix things for their community- that empowers them. When a community can build and fix things for themselves and not have to rely on the government or corporations-that empowers that community.
After School Programs
After school programs are one. A lot of the things that are offered after school should be offered DURING school but since they are not, we are envisioning converting a bus or RV into a mobile Exploring Technology Lab with a combination machine shop, wood shop, electronics shop and computer lab with HANDS-ON activities that are both educational and entertaining.
Daycare; Creating An Early Foundation
One service we will provide is a daycare center where we will have a curriculum similar to the Montessori model except it would provide an early foundation for the later development of technical skills for the modern workplace.The Border Education Project works with the Santa Teresita Catholic Girl’s Orphanage in Tijuana providing food, clothes, school supplies, AND live music, which is a essential component of child development. In the following videos-Executive Director Peter Honan is leading the singing of Buenos Dias, Y Ahora Vamos A Cantar and De Colores and he is the audience for this beautiful, heavenly Catholic Hymn sung by the girls.
School District Consulting
We will consult with school districts on how to properly implement technology education drawing on our combined experience in manufacturing and education. Technology Education is popular now but virtually none of the products currently on the market are teaching the right knowledge and skills needed for the modern hi-tech workplace. We plan to develop and license lesson plans and curriculum in the Technology Education field since the current selection is lacking.
Man vs. Machine-The Machinist
Man vs. machine is an old concept that will be covered in another part of this website. A huge underserved market in our educational system is the education of future machinists. Machinists require good math skills and skill with their hands and can make very good money with no college education required. Ever since schools got rid of metal shops several decades ago, America has had a severe shortage of machinists and had to import them from mainly eastern European countries. A properly updated and modernized machine shop program could have nationwide appeal. A full understanding of the technology and the educational process is critical to this and we have it at the Border Education Project.
A word about Manufacturing is in order here. In the U.S. there has developed a stereotype of manufacturing as something we no longer do in this country and that it is dirty, polluting and mind-deadening work that is better left to poor people in sweatshops in Third world countries, or that factories are completely automated and no longer require the employment of human beings. It’s important to remember that we have over 12 million Americans working in manufacturing and the big trend now is not outsourcing-the sending of jobs to other countries, but insourcing-the movement of jobs and industries from other countries to the U.S.! Rapidly rising wages in China are one reason for this, making China a less attractive place for manufacturing. We must capitalize on this trend now and start preparing our workforce for the new manufacturing environment. These are not just for the top 25% of the student population that will train to be engineers and scientists but for the bottom 50% with specific skills in metalworking and electronics that the Border Education Project will provide.
Our activities in Mexico will be similar to those in the U.S. Like the U.S., the Mexican educational system is based on a 19th century model. You can open something similar to a charter school in Mexico but you have to teach a rigidly proscribed curriculum up to 12:30 PM. After that you can pursue your own curriculum. Mexico has a system of schools called CONALEP that has a curriculum similar to what we are developing at the Border Education Project. One option would be to lend our expertise and resources to CONALEP since we seem to have similar objectives.
Our activities in Mexico will focus on training manufacturing technicians and machinists. The goal is to raise the productivity of factory workers in Mexico who make products that are exported to the U.S.
This will provide 2 benefits.
- Lower priced and higher quality products in the U.S.
- Higher wages and standards of living in Mexico that will help to eliminate the root causes of illegal immigration to the U.S.
We hope to partner with the maquiladoras (factories) in Tijuana to raise their workers productivity. The maquiladoras have a very bad reputation but they are not going away so the objective of the Border Education Project is to do what we can to make them a more humane and productive place to work. This will ultimately benefit the factories and the corporations that run them, the employees and workers, and Mexico and the U.S.
Back to the 3-Legged Stool
Another thing we will provide in Mexico is the other two parts of the Border Education Project 3-way Venn diagram. We will provide dual immersion language education in both Spanish and English, and a music program using guitars and keyboards. The overlapping skills developed in language and music will help foster development in the engineering and technical education field. (see Venn diagram).
Unfortunately, music is seen as a superfluous and dispensible subject in schools and is the first subject to be eliminated when school districts run short of money. We at the Border Education Project feel that music is a critical component of 21st century education and should be embedded in the curriculum. Music has been shown to help student’s mental development, physical coordination, language skills, math ability, social skills, memory, teamwork skills and self-expression and creativity. Combined with the other subjects (see Venn Diagram), music can be a powerful and transformative force in the educational process.
The other Arts, such as theater, plays, film, painting, novels and sculpture are important not only for their intrinsic value but also in how they can promote Language and Engineering, the other two legs of the three legged stool of 21st century education (see Venn Diagram).