Since I was dissing The Economist the other day, I want to give them some props this morning. They recently came out with their Technology Quarterly section, a review of upcoming and in-works items that make this TEDtalks follower swoon. Everything from the latest robotics to a cardboard and rubber bicycle to medical apps was profiled. Seeing the innovation that is still occurring on a daily basis heartens me.
The sad thing is that most media are so focused on the latest doings of Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, and Lady Gaga, that they don’t have time to relate the newest strides of the human mind. Our education system is intent on instilling in us how difficult science is, and how hard math is. It’s so much easier to simply relate gossip than it is to teach creativity.
What’s astounding is that we are all born creative. It takes a great deal of effort to pound that out of us. The shame is that the current method of schooling is somehow doing a good job of that. We are taught that great thinkers are rare, different, and not to be emulated. We are told that we don’t not have what it takes to succeed in the hard sciences: those are reserved to the few who don’t otherwise have a life.
And yet, the overwhelming call is for more of the same, except with more money. Why we would wish the deadening of intellect for our children just so some people can keep their jobs today, I cannot fathom. In order to maintain the status quo, we have had to elevate teaching to a mystical status. We are not allowed to question teachers’ authority or critique their methods.
Any criticism of the current system, or calls for change, sound the death knell for our children, according to teachers. Other professionals feel the sting of dissatisfaction without the entire system crumbling. Lawyers are routinely bashed, not for not doing their jobs, but for doing their jobs too well. Only teachers are allowed to churn out uneducated louts year after year, while maintaining their hallowed position.
When will we call a halt to this tremendous waste of resources? Not only our tax dollars, but our children? The push for students to be great occurs few and far between, while the herd mentality is touted as sufficient. Just shove the students through the halls, shuffling them from classroom to classroom until they reach the age of majority (if they can stand the tedium for that long), then pronounce them fit to join the workplace, and wash your hands of them, moving on to the next bunch.
Whether those graduated students succeed does not seem to concern the educators. The fact that many students who attend college—many because they are not qualified for any jobs, despite years of education—must immediately be placed in remedial classes does not inspire any mea culpas. There is always some other reason that the children who were supposed to be prepared for the adult world end up not so, none of which is a reflection on the educational system which did not serve them well.
Fortunately for me, I am a great believer in cycles and pendulums. The world swings way off-balance one way, then self-corrects. I don’t think that the way it is is the way it is going to be forever. We just have to wait a short while longer, as more and more people realize that they were sold a bill of goods along with their diplomas, as more options become available on the internet, as more skilled workers are needed and the increase in pay and prestige leads to innovations in teaching.
That’s not a death knell we’re hearing when the unions take to the streets. It is the alarm that is waking us to a new day. Too bad for those students who were fed the worst of the lot. They’ve got a lot of ground to make up. But the ground swell is rising, and the celebrity culture may soon be swept away in a sea of individual creativity.
Or we’ll all go the way of those poor sods in Nightfall.
Image courtesy of digitalart/freedigitalphotos.net