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THRIVE: The New Economy and Education

THRIVE: The New Economy and Education

December 18, 2012 5:00 am
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Today we touch on something most of us have been a part of all our lives. It’s near and dear to our hearts simply because it’s needed, but it’s broken.

The public education system is something that I have long struggled to accept as it has many flaws but seems to be one of those “necessary evils.” I hate to look at it that way, it just seems that’s the best words I can put to it.

But maybe it’s not the system itself that is broken beyond repair, but the factors and dependency that too many people put on it to make their lives whole.

Let’s explore this a bit.

NOTE: If you haven’t read the beginning of this series or the previous post, please do.

The Initial Setup

Ron Davis, founder of Davis Dyslexia, once said something that really helped me to understand the issue with the public school system. It got to the core, just like I like.

He said “While the analytics were out building our school system, the creatives were out building our world.”

People like Albert Einstein, who were “mentally slow”, Henry Ford, Winston Churchill, and even Thomas Edison were considered “stupid.” All this according to the school system from notes sent home by teachers.

These truly were the people that were building our world. Their common thread?

They’re all dyslexic.

Close to Home

I have a brother who’s dyslexic. I have seen his struggles with reading and learning in general almost to the point that he stops trying.

Yet he can see the bigger picture of things that I can’t. I’m actually in awe of the things his mind can do while mine is stuck down here on Earth.

I can remember when we were younger and he would sit in his room with my mom for hours doing homework until she finally just said, “Forget it, you’ve done a great job and this will work.”

It’s the school system that has failed him, not the other way around. All it basically taught him was that he had to do just “good enough” and figure out how to work the system a little bit. Is that not the very problem our society is seeing with adults today?

I also remember how irritated my mom was with the school in that they would not test him or classify him as dyslexic. It wasn’t until she badgered them with evidence of dyslexia that they finally agreed to test him.

Why is it so difficult for people to understand that not everyone thinks, learns and reacts the same way?

My hunch is that it’s because the school system was built to teach people how to conform and work in factories. It worked awesome back in the 30′s.

The problem? It never changed.

And it still hasn’t.

My brother isn’t the reason I’m irritated with schools. He’s got an incredible gift, just like the rest of us, maybe more so, and I hope he chooses to use it.

But that’s not the reason.

The reason comes from the fact that there are many different kinds of people in this world and none of us learn the same. Some with words, some with actions. Some with freedom, some with structure.

The goal of the school system needs to change. It needs to move away from creating drones who go through the motions learning the caveats and how to get by doing “just enough.” It instead, needs to produce people who think for themselves, create, dream, act and thrive!

Where would we be without Henry Ford today? He’s the mastermind behind the assembly line, the V-8 engine and even charcoal.

Where would we be without Thomas Edison or Albert Einstein? Maybe we’d be…”in the dark?”

The Current State of the Economy

We talked about this in depth in the last article but I want to touch on it here as to how it relates to our schools.

You see, the possibilities are endless with what we can achieve. We have seen that time after time from the Wright Brothers to Steve Jobs.

Our economy is no excuse for us to sit back and wait.

I’m actually loving this economy! It gives us freedom to create once again! We were due, according to historical patterns, for a revival almost 50 years ago and have yet to get it.

Why do I love new economy?

It forces us to change. To reinvent, rethink, reorganize, restructure and refocus.

It’s allowing us the freedom to redo the things that have become broken over the past 100 years or so. Many of them worked perfectly for a season, but that season is over.

This is a new economy. And this time, it’s about connection.

Schools have the opportunity to thrive in this economy more so they than have in the past. Will it be easy? Certainly not. Will it continue to change? Absolutely.

But the students will benefit more so than we ever have before. We’ll come out of school with life skills that will help us to connect with people, think of others, understand the value of integrity and pulling our own weight.

We cannot allow the next generation to become as dependent on companies, government and others as we have. It will be to our detriment if we continue down this road of dependency in all forms.

I’m not about to go into what can be done in schools specifically. I’m honestly not qualified for that as of yet. If interested, I would highly encourage you to read Seth Godin’s book Stop Stealing Dreams if you haven’t already.

Dependency At It’s Worst

We have become dependent on many things and a diploma is the one that’s tied to the school. We now have college students coming out asking why there are no jobs for this degree they just paid for.

It’s a problem.

I read a VERY good post from Dan Miller pertaining to this very issue. He wrote about a college student who asked a question during the 2012 Presidential election debate. He said “What can you say to reassure me, but more importantly my parents, that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?”

That is a terrible way of thinking. First off, it’s not the government’s job to “guarantee” me a job. It is my job to learn what I need to make myself marketable, then do it. But that’s off subject.

As it relates to schools, they have given us this mentality that if we just graduate with a certain level of degree (high school, college or higher), we will then be able to get a job that pays enough to take care of us and our new found best friends, student loans.

Entitlement mentality has allowed us to become dependent on a piece of paper and not what we can actually provide to the world. That’s the simple fact. – Tweet that!

You can read the rest of Dan’s article here, and please do!

It’s Not Their Job

Now we come to the meat of this subject. It’s a meaty subject in general so that’s why it’s taken this long to get here. And this is the short version, believe me.

It is not the school’s job to raise our children.

It is ours as parents.

They do not need to be the primary source of discipline, morals, ethics, values or even health. That is our job and we need to take responsibility for our own children.

All these are taught very well in the Bible, for one. There is a need for schools to reinforce these, but we should not be reliant on them as the source.

We have become too caught up in the priorities of “stuff” to take time to teach our children. Personally, I have a 3 year old and I understand that I don’t know everything, nor will I ever. But there is not a teacher out there paid well enough to raise my child. There is a reason they are called ‘teachers’ and not ’raisers.’

The core responsibility lies in the home.

I know, we pay taxes for school, but ultimately, it is not their job.

Possibilities

There are so many possibilities that could take place to make our school system work for the better. I am not suggesting an overthrow or pull-your-kid out to homeschool mentality. I have nothing against homeschool, but make sure you’re passionate about it.

What I am suggesting is that we not sit back and wait for someone else to take hold.

With the new economy and the ability we have to connect with each other, our culture is completely changing. It’s an exciting time and we are by no means bound by the past as to what we can achieve.

Our schools are a great place to start as it will help raise the next generation to be less dependent and more innovative!

Conclusion

With that, we come to the conclusion of this section. If you stuck with you me through it, excellent job! It’s a lot of information, I know. But to be honest, it needed to be said.

As I mentioned in the first article, this is mostly a mindset thing. The next few articles will be more actionable and practical as they pertain to social media and it’s impact in our lives today. But I hope you get why we had to set the stage. Not everyone understands the possibilities our new economy holds…too many are holding onto the past and wanting it back.

It’s gone. As Seth Godin says, “This recession is a forever recession.”

We are in a new economy. Call it The Connection Economy, The Technology Era, whatever you want. But recognize it as the new norm.

Embrace it and thrive! 

As always, leave your comments…I’m sure there will be some good discussion going on here so get involved and connect with world changers like yourself!

 

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