Seth Godin had a very good piece on the history of the school system and where it has taken us, as well as a call for a revolution in the school system.
Our current system of teaching kids to sit in straight rows and obey instructions isn’t a coincidence–it was an investment in our economic future. The plan: trade short-term child labor wages for longer-term productivity by giving kids a head start in doing what they’re told.
This is part of the conclusion I’ve come to as well. We do very little to cultivate creativity in our schools. When the budget is on the line, the first things to the chopping block are the arts and sports. We don’t dare cut programs that teach advanced mathematics or science as those are things that we have standardized testing for and it can effect our federal funding. So, instead, we cut the very things that help our children become better humans. Creativity is essential in many of our 21st century jobs. Factory jobs and data entry positions can be done by lower wage workers in other countries. Seth touches on this as well.
As long as we embrace (or even accept) standardized testing, fear of science, little attempt at teaching leadership and most of all, the bureaucratic imperative to turn education into a factory itself, we’re in big trouble.
The post-industrial revolution is here. Do you care enough to teach your kids to take advantage of it?
Moreover, do we care enough to help break the mold and teach our children to become 21st century humans? We risk so much more than a loss of federal funding. We risk our children’s future.