In order to efficiently jam as much testable data into a generation of kids, we push to make those children compliant, competitive zombies.
Every teacher, every student, every administrator, and every parent should read this manifesto. Seth Godin’s Stop Stealing Dreams is free and quick to consume. You really have no excuse.
I’m tired of seeing smart talented people thousands of dollars in debt while they mindlessly drone around in a cubicle doing a job they’re not passionate about.
Seth’s manifesto gets at the heart of the problem. The industrial revolution is long gone. The economy has changed and yet school’s haven’t. They still insist on rote memorization, crushing dreams, amplifying fear and churning out obedient factory workers that adhere to the status quo and fit into “the system.”
The good jobs of the future aren’t going to involve working for giant companies on an assembly line. They all require individuals willing to chart their own path, whether or not they work for someone else.
Here’s some quotes that hit home:
On bad teachers:
If all the teacher is going to do is read her pre-written notes from a PowerPoint slide to a lecture hall of thirty or three hundred, perhaps she should stay at home. Not only is this a horrible disrespect to the student, it’s a complete waste of the heart and soul of the talented teacher. Teaching is no longer about delivering facts that are unavailable in any other format.
On the irrelevance of facts in today’s world:
In the connected world, reputation is worth more than test scores. Access to data means that data isn’t the valuable part; the processing is what matters. Most of all, the connected world rewards those with an uncontrollable itch to make and lead and matter.
Scarce skills combined with even scarcer attitudes almost always lead to low unemployment and high wages.
The future of our economy lies with the impatient. The linchpins and the artists and the scientists who will refuse to wait to be hired and will take things into their own hands, building their own value, producing outputs others will gladly pay for.
On being a dreamer:
Dreamers aren’t busy applying for jobs at minimum wage, they don’t eagerly buy the latest fashions, and they’re a pain in the ass to keep happy.
On memorizing facts:
If I can find the answer in three seconds online, skill of memorizing a fact for twelve hours (and then forgetting it) is not only useless, it is insane!
When access to information was limited we needed to load students with facts. Now, when we have no scarcity of facts, or the access to them, we need to load them up with understanding.
On what schools should be teaching:
The two pillars of a future-proof education: # 1 Teach kids how to lead. # 2 Help them learn to solve interesting problems.
- When we teach a child to make good decisions, we benefit from a lifetime of good decisions.
- When we teach a child to love to learn, the amount of learning will become limitless.
- When we teach a child to deal with a changing world, she will never become obsolete.
- When we are brave enough to teach a child to question authority, even ours, we insulate ourselves from those who would use their authority to work against each of us.
- When we give students the desire to make things, even choices, we create a world filled with makers.
On the cult of ignorance in the U.S.:
The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
Here’s some great articles/videos on education reform. (Feel free to send me more to add to the list.)
And finally, here’s some wicked smart young professionals discussing what they wish they would’ve learned in school.