"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change" Charles Darwin

Steve Wynn on Fixing The US Education System (as told to Michelle Obama)

In this clip from Business Mastery: Las Vegas, Steve Wynn, the man behind modern Las Vegas, speaks about his novel idea to help educators—an idea that he recently shared with Michelle Obama…

What would you do to “fix” the US education system? Please share below…

35 Responses to “Steve Wynn on Fixing The US Education System (as told to Michelle Obama)”

  1. Tammy Ward says:

    Practice Leadership education as described in tjedonline.com Study the classics and let them discover their life mission and go after their passions on their own!

  2. Darlene says:

    First, We need to federally fund every public school in the nation EQUALLY and COMPLETELY.
    Second: Make parents as equally accountable as the teachers.
    Third: if you are going to judge student performance on a standardized test, create ONLY ONE that EVERY STUDENT in the country takes.
    Fourth: Do not have fund based incentives. That only gives the teachers fodder to TEACH THE TEST rather than give a well rounded education to student.

  3. Ellen says:

    Learning ought to be the responsibility of each individual student. Stop blaming the teacher. Teachers are asked to be the parent, disciplinarian, policeman, nurse and counselor. Far too many roles in a classroom filled with kids who come to school with unmet social, physical and psychological needs. Where are the responsible parents? When will our society make students accountable for their own destiny. What happened to personal pride?

  4. Kerry Pope says:

    How would I “fix” the US education system? Interesting thought but I believe fix is not the word to use. I believe the system needs an overhaul. I have worked the last twelve years at a community college and I have seen it change into a big business.

    The focus is said to be “students first”, and yet pool of administrators grows while core classes are cut, outreach and prep to high schools are cut and more people are coming to school to find another means to provide income but our vocational programs are non-existent.

    I think the foundation is good, and the overhaul has to begin at the top and working down. Much of what I see reminds me of the housing boom that has left many with homes that cannot afford or in foreclosure and some just walking away.

    Education has students in vocational programs and now cutting those same programs because of defecits and students have spent their time and some their money pursuing their goal only to be told the courses will not be offered any longer.

    Yet, you have Chancellors and Vice Chancellors with six figures running colleges that are barely making it. It has been sad to see people losing their jobs and then turning to education just to make ends meet. Then to be told the 12-18 months you just spent is gone because the program has been terminated.

    There are many credible people within educatin that have great ideas and concepts to revamp education. I believe that everone involved should accept the responsibility that education for the student comes first. That is from the top to the bottom. That takes actions and not just words.

    Once you make people responsible for their contribution to education, and you monitor and test them on it then you begin to overhaul education.

    It takes everyone being involved and if you do not have the time then maybe education is not for you. It is time for you to move on.

    I contibute by prepping all student I come in contact with not only with the what courses are open to them but the administrative tasks that they must be aware of and how that can impact them. It is not part of my job but it is if I want to see a successful student go on and accomplish their dream of an education.

    I believe education is for everyone and I am hopeful that in my time and with my assistance I can see education overhauled.

  5. Bob Major says:

    More interactive in school. instead of just one talking head let the third graders spend some time teaching the first graders. six graders teaching third graders, ninth graders teaching seventh graders etc, Bring in some more motivational speakers. Field trips regarding real life issues-homelessness-seniors-animal rescues. Education needs to fit more life situations rather than test taking and bean counting.

  6. Jacinta Ball says:

    THIS is a winning IDEA!

    Everyone needs to jump on this band wagon and share it…. regardless of political party or nation!


    Thanks for sharing this with me, Mr. Robbins and Mr Wynn.

  7. Amy Wood says:

    I love your solution on how to attract top talent to teaching. How to keep top talent in teaching. How to keep the federal government out of state and local issues regarding teaching. I think you hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately everyone in Washington whats to create a totalitarian system run by federal employees and union members. The current game is not working. You can change the players but the game remains the same. Meanwhile what about the children.

  8. Noah says:

    My rebuttal would be to the low income schools that have kids with parents who have no concern for how their children preform in academically. I believe the parent involvement to be more influential than the teacher. Also to the schools with no back up from the administration in disciplining students.

  9. Joseph Facchiano says:

    Very creative idea. We have to do something. My concern is the the teachers’ unions would not back any initiative that objectively measures teachers’ performance. They have traditionally fought that concept.

    We need new ideas and new energy for this issue. We can never give up on education.

    Best Regards,
    Joseph Facchiano

  10. Judy Coon says:

    Awesomely Smart…

  11. Mike Gerke says:

    That’s a brilliant idea. Incentives really work. They allow the cream to rise to the top. I’ve always been motivated by incentives as a salesman, and I’ve used them effectively to motivate my employees when I was a sales manager.

  12. Tony says:

    Thanks for the heads-up to this link. And, it appears that Steve has done a fine job in Las Vegas. But, I think he is 180 degrees off on this one.
    You want a great house…you’re going to have to pay for it (I opposed any notion that we have to pay for someone to be motivated to buy a house). Would you like an awesome car? You can have one, but you have to pay for it. Again, I opposed the notion of any incentive to buy a car with contributions from us. You want a great education for yourself or your children, you gonna have to pay for it. Makes sense to me. Privatize education and watch the quality of our education rise. I agree with Steve, that you need to pay for quality…I just want to decide when and where I choose to pay for it. If you give quality teachers $75K for doing a great job, you take the power away from ME to decide. When you and I decide what is (and isn’t) quality/value, capitalism blossoms. When I cannot “vote with my feet”, it dies. Steve, you have benefited GREATLY when capitalism is allowed to work it’s wonders for our economy…And, so have you, Tony. Shame on you both for supporting socialism. Collecting MY money (the funds used to finance the $75K for the teachers bonus) and then distributing it to them is socialism.

  13. Kathryn says:

    Absolutely brilliant,,,although I don’t have children I believe this plan would improve the quality of lives for so many people…afterall, All the children are Our future. I love the idea, what can I do to help? Excellent post!

  14. Leo Archer says:


    This sounds nice on the surface but I know that neither you nor Steve (Mr. Wynn!) are that naive. The answer is more complex and politically charged. This is the only country I know with a “teaching degree”, rather than a degree in one’s field followed by a year or so of education on how to teach. This immediately lowers the standards. And as for giving a raise via tax credits: who pays for it? I promise that the inefficiency of the federal government will cause this to add to the bureaucracy and administration rather than adding value for money or an effective return to the teachers.

    There has to be a cultural shift in how we value education and on the relative priority different areas of study have. If more adults saw the value of education, it would be instilled in their kids as would the expectation of higher standards. If we emphasized the importance of math and sciences there would be added interest and improvement in them. Unfortunately, this is also driven by the economic emphasis and focus of a society and until that is fixed, many of the problems will remain. Over the years the government has dumbed down education so much due to efforts of political expedience and dare I say, correctness, that we expect very little of our kids. Most countries in the world have a matriculation exam of some sort, to international standards, that kids must achieve to graduate and especially to attend college. By making the standards high enough the teachers can then “teach to the exam” and the kids will still excel. Most of the evidence shows that the US spends more per student than many countries but has lower performances so more money isn’t the answer by itself.

    Lastly, it will never happen as proposed for the simple reason that even the test/standards to meet in order to qualify for this credit would likely be so dumbed down for political reasons that it would effectively be a joke.

    Love the debate, respect both of you tremendously.

    Leo Archer

  15. GREAT Idea…..
    To bad the government isn’t really interested in
    the prosperity of its people

    They are more interested in making themselves richer

    People need to really educate themselves and understand what the real role of the Government is

    It is not to give a pacifier to people wanting hand outs. It is to only protect this country

    Read “The Road to Serfdom”

  16. Samantha Marsden says:

    The only problem here is that the teachers now are not able to teach to the tests the states are imposing on them. So what he is actually saying is lets define curriculum and make sure every one knows it.
    What really needs to happen is for our kids to love to learn and get real educations in real fields, not just be stuck in a classroom with busy work, learning things out of context.
    Plus how would this account for kids who do really well and need a challenge or the kids who are Mentally handicapped and wouldn’t be able to pass this test?
    Not everyone has the same capacity to learn the same things and we are driving the individual out of people by making them fit in a box.
    What happens if your a round peg?

  17. Mari says:

    Some character came hawking your book and product walking through fire, etc. and I think you should be more responsible about what you publish to your readers. She had no clue about the questions she posed and was sold on the idea of walking through flames. She was in a trance trying to sell me on your ideas and unfortunately I trusted her.

  18. Jerry says:

    It’s a great idea but you have to make sure the teachers don’t help the kids cheat.

  19. Judy Coon says:

    Steve Wynn has an Awesomely Smart Idea..

  20. Coleman says:

    interesting thought…one thing is being left out…the fact that poor students typically don’t do as well in school or testing due to other life events outside of their control.

  21. Liz McGrath says:

    While it is true that really superior teachers get better results from students, the fact of the matter is, we do have some terrifically talented teachers working with our most needy students. The issues the American educational system face today however are unique. We have an increasing percentage of students entering schools today that live in poverty. How does this impact? Poorer overall health resulting in some difficulties in cognitive functioning. We need to collectively address ways to ameliorate the impact of povery AND ensure that students are with the best teachers….then we will be moving in the right direction.

  22. bill says:

    take back some of the authority that principles have (specifically referring to NYC) and ensure that the most important decisions regarding class size and pay are made by the teachers. Every good teacher knows a bad teacher. And every school has good teachers. It is the poor teachers that stand out and cause this urge for reform. A universal test for students wont solve anything. Every student performs at a different level, period. A standardized test takes the passion out of learning and the phrase “this is going to be on the test” creates a sense that they don’t need to do anything else in life but pass the test. Listen to the educators. This is their area of expertise. You don’t take tennis lessons from your landscaper do you?

  23. First, I take exception at the comment that good teachers leave education after so many years. That said, the idea of a tax credit is a good one; however, why is it only for joint returns? What about single teachers? Do they not deserve a tax credit if they meet the same standards?

    And, finally, thank you so much for reminding people that education is NOT mentioned in the US. Constitution, and therefore it is left to the states. I certainly wish the federal government would remember that and stop making educational policy.

  24. Ron Thomas says:

    I believe education must be dynamic. I’m a baby boomer. When I was growing up, the core areas of study related to reading, writing, math, social studies and physical education (PE). These areas of study were good then, and I believe good by todays standards…with two exceptions. Fifty years ago, these were required areas of study. Today there are choices. That’s not a bad thing, however, the choices should come after the core courses are well satisfied. Fifty years ago technology, especially in updating outdated material, came slowly. Now textbooks can be updated quickly and accurately. Secondly, PE is not required today. I believe it has been proven that physical activity energizes the body and mind. They go together. Our children’s diets and lack of exercise, in my mind, create fat and lazy students. This needs to change. If our kids continue on the learning track they’re on today, tomorrows grown ups will be lazy and unable to make smart decisions. A bit harsh? I hope so.

  25. bronwyn says:

    … and if the teacher has a child who has learning needs and cannot pass?

  26. I would transfer Board of ED back to the States.

  27. abdel says:

    I’m not living in US , cloud you please list
    what is wrong with US education? so we can fix it

  28. jim forde says:

    Of course, I like the tax credit idea but I don’t like the assumption that teachers who are dedicated to helping kids and STAY in their careers are characterized as the chaff. I show up every day ready to roll and care about my students. Don’t automatically assume I am a bad teacher because I stayed in my profession. This may be a revelation but most of us go into the profession because we are life long learners who care about kids.

  29. jokerjim says:

    Great idea!!! Ergo, it would never happen with a liberal government. The only way they give tax credit is by making you spend money into one of their programs.
    The next president should be a business man, NOT a politician. Run the country as a business and don’t try to appease everyone. No other country goes out of their way to massage the opinion of another country. Stand up and make America proud and on the forefront, again!!

  30. Lacr0ix says:

    Someone please introduce him (and the public) to the SCIENCE surrounding the differences between extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation – and the effects those have on the very creativity and long-term teaching effectiveness he’s asking for (we all need).

    Then, STOP trying to use 19th century factory production line motivation tactics (that have proven failure) for 21st century motivational challenges.

  31. Pamela Haack says:

    A nationwide teacher merit test is hardly a new idea, and to implement such a plan is wrought with issues; the biggest one being the diversity of classrooms. A nationwide test that holds an inner city teacher whose students have never read a book and cannot speak English to the same standard as a teacher whose students come from experience-filled, affluent backgrounds is ridiculous.

  32. Lucy B says:

    I know a WONDERFUL teacher, High School AP Government and Econ. He has exceptional pass rates, for the Title 1 school it has become(over that past decade (he’s been there 27 years). He would not get the credit – the reason? CULTURE. If kids’ parents don’t care, either do the kids. Now, if tenure was taken away, he could move to another district where he’d be incredibly successful. The kids just SHOW UP, and pass. Why? The expectations at HOME are huge. Also, TENURE has GOT TO GO. Too much is out of the control of the really good teachers. The bad ones just don’t care anyway.

  33. Jim says:

    That would be a real motivation to “teach to the test.” If the student refuses to take the test, does the teacher get a pay cut? Should the country be run by a business person? How many businesses fail? So you are willing to take that chance? We are not employees of the government. Should we imitate another country’s system? Why should we limit ourselves?

  34. Don says:

    If Tony Robbins is so successful and positive…why doesn’t HE run for President?

    Mr. Big Voice will likely go silent.

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