The teachers blame it on the parents. The system blames it on the students. The public blames it on the system.
Teachers will tell me I have no business complaining because I can’t possibly understand. After all, I’ve never stood in front of a classroom of students.
They have a point, but it’s not a valid one.
Most of the people in the workforce went to school of some kind.
And countless are in debt after paying for higher education.
They know how those institutions prepared them for the “real world.”
They understand the chasm at play.
In fact, here are people smarter than me talking about what they wished they would’ve learned in school.
The point is it’s time to put a stop to the endless cycle of blame and do something to fix it.
A Faulty Promise
Here’s the formula they try to sell you on:
Good grades in High School + College = Great Job, Tons of Money, Happy Ever After
WRONG! Not in this economy. It’s not that simple.
The American education system is a model that beats the creativity out of kids.
It’s a system that teaches them that test scores, fitting in, fear of failing, and mediocre obedience is the key to success.
And that might be true… in school.
But I have a secret.
BEING GOOD AT SCHOOL DOESN’T MEAN SHIT IN THE REAL WORLD.
Nearly anything you memorize in school we can look up online just as fast.
Following rules are for factory workers, and we’ve already outsourced most of those jobs in America.
What We Should be Teaching
Why aren’t we teaching heretical thought, divergent thinking, leadership, how to solve problems that matter?
How come geometric proofs are required and physical education, personal finance, networking, negotiation, public speaking and more advanced technology classes NOT?
Why is education still considered an easy major?
How come countless business and psychology majors switch to education to finish out their collegiate career?
Sure, it’s easy to complain. But, complaining loud enough to the right people leads to increased awareness, which leads to important conversations.
And important conversations can facilitate change.
Cameron Plommer says
Important project Ryan. Glad to see someone doing something about this problem, I just might have to pitch in…
I’m wondering, did Obama’s State of the Union Speech prompt this post/project?
Susan Pogorzelski says
What a fantastic initiative! The education system is damaged, anyone can see that. But your question is spot on — how do we fix it. Is it about the testing? Is it about the memorizing? Or is it about the application?
My parents instilled in me an absolute love of learning. I question anything and want to know everything. I loved and thrived in college as an English major — one of those majors that so many people wonder if there’s any use for it. I question it, too. But while I’m not doing anything remotely related to this field in my day-job, I attribute so much to the skills I learned while studying in how it helps me analyze, problem-solve, understand and relate to people. Studying literature and writing has helped me learn how to communicate effectively, to envision, to pay attention to meaning and detail, to understand perspective and how everything can be interpreted differently.
Looking back, it’s everything I learned outside of the lessons themselves that have meant something. It’s being able to apply these skills in the every-day environment that matters.
It’s my opinion that education has become too specific and competitive in regards to scores and grades. Cultivate a love of learning and you’ll create a well-rounded person; teach lessons in such a way that you can learn to apply those lessons in a practical manner. It doesn’t have to be a full-semester class on networking or public speaking, but tailor communication courses to include these lessons; in a World Politics course, have projects dedicated to civil debate and cultural awareness; in a business or math 101 course, dedicate a class to maintaining personal finance.
Maybe it’s not the system itself that’s broken; maybe it’s the way we use it…
Sorry for the long post, Ryan…The video thing just isn’t happening this time 😉 Love your passion, love your project.
Indre Hello My Goddess says
Great topic of discussion AND a useful project. There are some super TED talks about this subject, too numerous for me to post here. Here’s a link to a free pdf by Seth Godin. Enjoy! http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/docs/stopstealingdreamsscreen.pdf