education reform

Education Reform: Why It’s Important for Creatives to Get Involved

With everything that’s been going on in the news cycle, I thought it’d be a great time to bring up the topic of education system reform. Seems this topic isn’t discussed nearly as much as it could be.

I believe that our current education system is part of the problem in both the National Socialist vs International Communist debate as well as people not seeking appropriate shelter from Hurricane Harvey. Personally, in my teens and twenties, for example, I wouldn’t have stuck around to get hit by a hurricane. And when it comes to protests, even when I felt the need to get involved with one, I would have ducked out whenever it got violent and the police showed up.

Today, in both situations, people are playing the role of victim and not taking responsibility for their own actions. They’re saying that the government needs to take more control and tell them or the other side what to do.

The question is… can you blame them? Not necessarily.

In recent years, it appears that the greater education system has practically said it’s ok to act this way. (Safe spaces anyone???)

However, I don’t believe that’s the truth. And in fact, successful people are only successful based on their own desires and efforts. They’re the ones who have put in the extra time and commitment to make their dreams come true.

Sure others help them along the way, but it’s because they made the initial effort to do more in life. Once they began on their own journey, they met people along the way who were going in the same direction.

So how can we make the world a better place? Help change how students are educated.

Changing Education for the Better

What does that even mean?

Since this post was originally published on October 14, 2010, I’ve heard of various schools doing better work with their students. Traditional schools are starting to make classes that help their students realize their full potential.

Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily the norm.

In fact, in Indiana, we still have what are called Core 40 diplomas. To many, it might be considered common sense to educate people in a well rounded manner. However, sometimes that model simply doesn’t work. Some of the individuals who are on the route to get a Core 40 diploma might have done better in a field that school can’t even touch; such as learning how to be a performing artist, an athlete, community leader, or even being a great business builder. (Personally I’m a knowledge junkie, so school was always a drug for me… except for the tests!)

Discussing Possible Solutions:

In the below RSA Animate, I wanted to share with you a video which introduced me to a guy by the name of Sir Ken Robinson. Great guy and has totally changed my perspective in why public education needs to be separated from public schooling.

It was after listening to him, that I was able to start putting two and two together. Soon after, I was re-introduced to Gary Vaynerchuk (not the Wine Library version, but instead the version we know today). If you didn’t know, Gary is completely for Education Reform (start at 12:30):

And then, I was later introduced to the School Sucks Project with Brett Veinotte. Here’s the first episode of the show from 2009. Later in the show’s life, it kinda went away from why I originally tuned in – but those first 20 or so episodes are great material.

 

Something Else to Consider

In many states, the classes that are usually cut first in public schooling are not your STEM classes. They’re not the reading, writing, or social studies classes either. For many systems, they are the “optional” classes. This includes the art, the music, and other “special” classes. You can clearly see which classes are more important to various school boards based on the classes they cut. The problem is that there are students who excel in these special classes more so than the other classes they’re in. That being the case, you can probably understand why I’ve never really been a fan of the “No Child Left Behind” act.

Generally speaking, its result has been to limit everyone’s potential to the same standardized schooling.

So why are these classes the ones normally on the chopping block? I believe it’s because many standardized tests are primarily focused on testing upon vocabulary, math, and writing. The better these test scores are in primary schooling, the better a student can perform in secondary schooling. After being in secondary school myself as a student for 9 years, I realized one main thing about learning in a “formal” secondary education: it makes you better at following orders and instructions. It makes you better suited to work a job.

 

Changing the Education System

Government isn’t the Answer:

So, I believe it’s up to us – the Creatives, the Entrepreneurs, the Rebels – whatever you want to call us – to start coming up with alternative methods of educating those around us.

The world is moving too quickly to let the old system continue to be the primary method of education. Not only that, but those who are in control of it, have no problem teaching its students that it’s ok to rely on the government to provide security.

That’s not what the government is for.

We Need to Empower People’s Individual Strengths – Not Give a One Size Fits All Solution:

In the past five years, I have become even more aware that there are other talents that could be measured for intelligence. However, for one reason or another they are not. And, in fact, the evidence is piling up.

Outside of the types that IQ measures (being linguistic verbal and logical mathematical), nine different types of intelligence have been identified.

Many private primary and secondary school systems have taken note of this as well. They have started to focus on developing intellectual leaders in different fields of intelligence. I’m convinced that making this a vital part of education is the answer to making any country, including the U.S., a player in the new economy.

However, most students still go through the traditional education curriculum that is still rated by a very narrow measure. This worries me. I find it disconcerting that many students are still being taught and measured in a way that is only useful in following directions. The problem today is that with the today’s global economy, this mindset has given us a 10% unemployment rate.

I believe the longer that this goes unchecked, the higher our future unemployment rates will go. It will be the result of an ever increasing ratio of people who should be taught to excel at their strength vs those who are mentored in their natural strengths. In other words, there will be a heck of alot more people trying to take orders than giving them.

Conclusion:

So here’s the bottom line.

It’s been 8 years since I got my masters. It’s been 5 since I haven’t taught in formal education.

I don’t believe it’s totally fair to try and pin every one down in one or two measurements of intelligence. Especially when we’re told by so many people that we need to celebrate our differences.

But funny enough, that’s what the US’s Prussian Education based system focuses on doing.

We have to help others get more creative. Period. We can’t rely on the schooling system to do it. In fact, we have to separate public education from public schooling.

Lack of creativity is hurting the US. If the US is in trouble, the rest of the world can’t be doing so hot. People still come here to get away from the crap that’s going on in their homelands.

We have to remain the the shining city on the hill.

So that being the case – I’m curious. Are you connected to public primary or secondary schooling? Have you seen any signs of a change to focus more on building students in other types of intelligence? If so, what results do you predict from that change?

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