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Monday, April 4, 2011

Three insurmountable problems with the structure of schools

Schools, parents, and politicians are used to tinkering with the current system. But there are a few "show-stoppers."
  1. Sitting in classrooms, writing papers, and taking tests are simply really bad models for developing children.
  2. Most valued and empowering "learning to do" skills, such as leadership and innovation, fall through the cracks in traditional schools, where development is random at best. Meanwhile, developing "learning to know" skills and providing access to content in general have shifted over the last ten years of Internet growth from being the most useful role of schools to the least.
  3. Students become world-class in an area, be it chemistry or architecture, by pursuing their passions, gifts, inspirations, and role-models at ever higher levels of rigor, and then filling in critical holes, rather than spending all of their time trying t0 follow a standardized, national curricula.
As long as schools fight these basic rules, they are stuck in cycle of doing things increasingly well that perhaps should not be done at all.

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