Sep 292011

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.

Jan 072011

While attending public school, I hated it. But, then, not many do like school when they are attending it. Now, as a father, whose children will soon begin to attend school, my thoughts are continually turned towards the constant stream of noise we hear about the failure of the school system. Our students are not scoring high enough in the SAT and ACT tests! Impending Disaster! [Cue the Fire Drill!]

Over the last few days, I’ve been watching a lot of the new TED talks that are available. Below, I’m embedding one that talks to the school systems and posits that they not only are failing, but that they are killing any creativity that there may be. In short, we begin our children off by telling them that they can be and do anything that they want to. And then we send them to school, where they are taught that they can’t do anything unless they score well on a test. What’s more, we abandon them to it. Aside from helping them figure out how quickly train A and train B will arrive at point C, we take no further interest in their education. We trust the school systems to teach them. But, what they are teaching them is not working.

I’ve always thought that a majority of the issue with the way our children behave and with the social problems (gangs, suicide, etc.) has far more to do with the involvement of the parents than any other factor. As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children. It is our responsibility to foster their creativity.

They will guide humanity into the 21st century, and what better way than to do so as 21st Century Humans?  If you aren’t bringing your children along on this journey, not only are the schools failing, but so are you.