I am really torn about how we do education in our modern day. On the one hand, there is all this global pressure to prove to the world that the USA can produce top engineers and scientists. On the other hand, science can be downright boring, both in the classroom and in the Real World™. There are some really awesome projects you can do with all branches of science. Yet so often we dumb it down to having to memorize and regurgitate the Periodic Table or the Family and Genus of the “common dog”. History is the same way, spitting back a bunch of dates and alleged important events. We have these standardized tests that we use to measure our academic yearly average progress, and we end up “teaching to the test”.
I mentor a kid at Edison, and I have asked him a few times what he wants to do when he grows up. By now, he is tired of adults asking this question. He simply does not do. I told him what I do, and I could not keep his attention for 10 seconds. He wants to do something with sports. That’s great – he is a very athletic, competitive and driven young fellow. But the line between learning about music, math, english, history, drama and science and a career in athletics is very ill-defined. Basically, if you get “good” grades you can ignore education altogether. Or can you?
On the flip side, I can look at the current job market and see where the big bucks are. Or I can even find where the hot jobs are. Google and Microsoft are currently having a war to see who can hire the most people in one year. Do you really want to program your child’s learning such that you funnel them into this kind of career? Will your child even want to follow that lead once they can make their own choices?
I want an education, and an educational system, that puts on emphasis on learning how to live. I would love to see kids excited about school. Kids who are so into the science projects, kids who are loving band, kids who think their teachers are the next best thing since hot pizza! Our modern school has become boring, and our school districts have become rigid businesses who function it is to have the highest percentage of their students take a test well.
Last, I need to shout out to our teachers. They are doing an awesome job! (at least the ones I know of) Keep it up! And I am sorry for all the crap you have to put up with.