I’ve done a lot of research since my last article about how school is broken. It’s now crystal clear to me that the school system doesn’t need a tweak or a shift – it needs a complete revamp. But mostly it needs parents like you to stand up and say something.
School was designed around the need for factory workers. But not just any worker, efficient and obedient workers.
To deal with the volume of people, schools needed an efficient way to sort and rate these people. Which led to the invention of things like the multiple choice test in 1914.
Fredrick Taylor, the father of scientific management took it further. He was the man behind Henry Ford’s model of mass production and responsible for the foundation of growth of the industrial age. He was also the voice for what was needed to staff the assembly line. Walking around with his stopwatch to measure everything. In one word the model was about: Efficiency.
It went like this: Move people into mindless specialized jobs with simple instructions to increase efficiency and profit while allowing any worker to be easily replaceable. And the school system followed that lead.
The last thing the factory wants is someone on the assembly line that disrupts the flow by putting their own spin on things. But the future needs exactly that.
In a nutshell schools trained people to become obedient robots and the best way to do that was through fear. Follow the the instructions, conform and meet the quality standards or be punished. The thing is that we have the technology today that can do those jobs ten times more efficiently than humans can.
You can choose to teach with fear or to teach with passion.
Fear based leadership is easy but it’s destructive. Passion is harder to teach because it’s not uniform (everyone is passionate about different things) but it builds people up and changes their lives for ever.
We need to revisit the question:
What is school for?
And a few more questions:
Why are we still educating our children for jobs that won’t exist in the future?
Why are we teaching them the opposite skills they need for the creative future we are entering?
I have friends that are school teachers and let me tell you that they have the best of intentions. But the problem is they’ve been through the same system. They now find themselves as a cog in the wheel – not able to step outside the boundaries of what they were told to do (or they risk getting fired).
The change will happen when parents decide to stand up and say something. When you, reading this decide to say something.
That feeling you may be feeling is what all parents are feeling. It’s easier to just go with it. Why risk voicing your opinion and blowing up the education system, why not just make it a little better. Why risk our kids education because the economy has changed?
That voice in your head, that hesitation about taking dramatic action and speaking up (or simply sharing this post) is the exact reason why we still have the system we do. That’s how we get stuck with the status quo. Because it’s easier, safer and quieter to stick with what we’ve got.
So stand up for all the children, for your children and for all the parents too scared to voice their opinion.
Also published on Medium.