Rants from Tom Peter’s “re-imagine”, (2003) on the American Education System

I love this rant from Tom Peters. I cannot say that I enjoyed school, perhaps a couple of subjects every here and there but on the whole it was simply the most boring 12 years of my life. I never achieved very well either and as a result my self esteem was affected in a negative way. I was 36 before I achieved my first degree. From an education system that reinforced that I was not university material, I show them the application for my doctoral studies in consulting psychology. I show them too my Masters degree in psychology and mirror their ignorance and lack of insight and the inability to harness the potential of this student.

Peters rants, as do I of my school going years and I quote Peters, T, (2003) re-imagine, p.277.

• Our school system is a thinly disguised conspiracy to quash creativity
• We are at an inflection point. We seem to be reinventing everything – except the school system, which should (in theory) underpin, even lead, the rest.
• “The main crisis in schools today is irrelevance.”
• “Our education system is a second-rate, factory style organization pumping out obsolete information in obsolete ways.”
• “Our educational thinking is concerned with ‘what is.’” It is not good at designing: ‘What can be.’”
• “Every time I pass a jailhouse or a school, I feel sorry for the people inside.”

We attempt to “reform” an educational system hat was designed for an Industrial Age – for a Fordist era in which employees needed to “know their place” and in which employers needed uniformity “trained,” interchangeable “parts” (“workers” in collars both blue and white). Yet now we must prepare for a world in which value emerges from individual initiative and creativity. And we must reject all notions of “reform” that merely serve up the more of the same: more testing, more “standards,” more uniformity, more conformity, more bureaucracy.

I imagine
A school system that recognizes that learning is natural, that a love of learning is normal, and that real learning is passionate learning.
A school curriculum that values questions above answers… creativity above fact regurgitation… individuality above uniformity… and excellence above standardized performance.
A society that respects its teachers and principals, pays them well, and (most important) grants them the authority to do their job… as the creative individuals they are, and for the creative individuals in their charge.

Posted by Alan Ahlfeldt al@neurolabinc.com