Social inequality, worsening inequality within schools, the underfunding of poor schools, and our policymakers’ terrible reactions all of the above is a very toxic brew. Instead of having a system that educates everyone, we’ve ended up with a three-tiered education system:
For the kids at the bottom:
School is alienating, and depressing. These are the kids who pass through the school system barely learning anything, because virtually no part of that system is giving them the help they need. Many of these kids will drop out.
For the kids at the top:
Our school system works really really well for the rich, well-off, or the extremely smart – but these are the groups who need the least amount of extra help. This mantra of competition that these kids internalize eventually results in negative consequences, such as destructive competition to get into a prestigious university, even though famous colleges aren’t actually better schools.
For the kids in the middle:
Most of the kids who go through our school system don’t end up in either of the two above categories. They end up in the middle, going through school with a “Gamesmanship” mentality – trying to get the highest grade possible with the least amount of work. Gamesmanship might help students survive school, but it doesn’t encourage a love of learning, creativity, or deep knowledge necessary for innovation.
For those who’ve had enough:
Transformative education in Barbourville is definitely possible!! But it requires a lot to happen properly – including resources, extra help for those who need it, hands-on teaching, and a willingness to put the love of learning over standardized test scores. Those who follow these principles are the ones most likely to find those next innovative solutions to our world’s most pressing problems.