September 30, 2007

Raising a Manufacturing Class in a Knowledge Worker World

David has a great post about what is NOT happening in even the Very Good public schools of the Northeast: Seeking, Learning, Adapting, Thinking, Multi-tasking. Instead, the same type of education that was so effective in creating an industrial-age workforce is being shoved down our kids' throats. Even in high school, where David's son is memorizing state capitals. Wow. That will help on the line at GM. If there IS a line at GM on this side of the world when David's son graduates.

The amount of time our son is being required to spend memorizing whether Bismarck is the capital of North or South Dakota will dwarf the total amount of time he would spend in his lifteime looking it up at Google. This is information that adds nothing to this comprehension of the world. Memorizing the dates of the states' admissions to the union might at least sometime in his life help him notice a relationship of some consequence — that Texas was admitted before the abolition of slavery has some possible effect on his understanding, whereas that Austin is the capital will only matter if he runs for governor of Texas and doesn't want to look foolish in the debates.

There is a real opportunity for new media thinking to start embedding itself in public school education. But if you think corporations are closed and risk averse, try talking to the administration at your kids' school.

David ends with an "arrrrrgh". I concur. But what can we do to move schools from the purpose they were built for (to create factory workers) to enablers of the connected world?