I am on the “E-panel” of the Fredericton Daily Gleaner, which means I am periodically asked to contribute my opinion about what kind of issues the editorial staff there should pursue. Here is their latest request:
The Daily Gleaner wants to know what you think are the most important ongoing story topics. Is it improving the quality of education for our children? More accessible health care? Contributing to a cleaner, greener environment? Reductions in property crime?
Here is my reply:
I am firmly of the opinion that the number one, and perhaps the only significant, issue facing society is education. Not just “quality” of education, but re-thinking the entire process. Our existing school paradigm is designed to systematically pound the individuality and creativity out of our children over the course of 12 years. If we remove the constraints, they will solve health, ecology, crime, war, economy, etc. all by themselves.
The very smart people who have made strides in science, sociology, art, diplomacy, etc. have all done so by BREAKING the mold, not working within it. Our existing school model was born during the industrial revolution when what the “machine” needed was a whole crop of identical drones who knew basic math, communications, history, science, etc, so they could become effective cogs in the production complex. That was fine for its time, but that time is over.
Students are already trying to break themselves out of the status quo using Web 2.0 and other social media. But they keep getting dragged back in – you must get good marks so you can get a University degree so you can make good money and afford to send your kids to good schools so they can get good marks so they can get a University degree, and so on. Bullshit.
An extremely courageous parent can change things for their children by home-schooling, but that is still considered “weird.” For ALL children and parents to embrace a new form of education, it has to be publicly sanctioned and publicly funded and become the new normal. For the version of this argument from a smarter man than me, watch this:
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