I do a lot of speaking in the field of education. Most of the teachers I’ve met are amazingly good. Passionate. Caring. Kind. Dedicated. Knowledgable. And yet most of them feel hampered by a system that no longer works.
School is broken.
But the main question isn’t, “How do we fix it?”
No, the first — and most important — question is, “What is school for?”
Although it seems like public education has been around forever, it wasn’t until 1918 that nationwide compulsory education was in place. That’s less than 100 years ago. And it worked for a long time, because the people who set it up were very clear on what school was for. (The reason may surprise you.)
In this thought-provoking TEDx video, Seth Godin raises this important question, delivers a brief history lesson, and tosses out some powerful thought grenades that beg for discussion.
Many people have expressed interest in how Kim and I came to our decision to homeschool. First of all, homeschooling isn’t for everyone, but we are happy to share our thoughts, for what they’re worth. Secondly, there are lots of reasons, and this post covers just one, which may or may not be the most important. The issues Seth talks about in this video (and even more so in this manifesto that you really should read) underline our belief that the current education system in this country is broken.
The world is changing at an alarming rate. No one knows for sure what the future holds, but most schools seem stuck turning out students better prepared to succeed in a world that existed thirty years ago.
And so, over the last few years, Kim and I have been asking ourselves the question, “What is school for?”
I hope Seth’s manifesto inspires the much-needed change in our educational system. But, as with any giant institution, meaningful change is slow and hard. Unfortunately, Lucy is almost four and we don’t have luxury of waiting for it to come.
There is an adage often attributed to Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
I suppose that the decision to homeschool is our small way of being that change for our kids. It is exciting and freeing and scary and overwhelming all at once, but we’ve come to believe that it is the right choice for us.