Some people say the education system is broken. It’s not. It’s doing exactly what it’s designed to do. The problem is that what it’s designed to do isn’t good, and it’s less valuable than ever.
I’m not one of those people who thinks it used to be a good system. It’s not obsolete, it was wrong from the get-go. It’s always produced undesirable outcomes. I don’t think obedience, the ability to follow rules, falling in line with authority, uniformity of belief and process, and deferring to experts and standard explanations are desirable traits in individuals and societies. I think they are dangers to be avoided.
To the extent that part of the result of this will-crushing process is some uniform skills that can be plugged into various business roles, there is some potential market value. Though even these skills can be gained far better, faster, cheaper, and in more exciting and effective ways.
But today even those few things that people walk away with after 15,000+ hours in a classroom are of almost no value, and the trend is a further decline.
It is less valuable than ever to learn a skill.
It’s less valuable than every to learn to memorize, obey, hoop-jump, and test-take for bureaucratically approved authorities.
It is more valuable than ever to know how to think, how to learn, how to do what machines and software can’t. Create. Innovate. Be entrepreneurial.
Once you realize that the education system isn’t broken you can stop trying to fix it. It works really well based on its own principles of design. You can’t make a hammer better at performing surgery. You need to drop it and grab a scalpel, or invent a laser.
You’ve got to step outside of the education system altogether and build your own learning program tailored to your own goals. It’s a challenge, but a lot easier than you might think.
Humans are naturally curious, stubborn, adaptive, knowledge-gathering, active, creative beings. Those are all the things you need to begin, and you don’t really need to do anything to get them. It’s harder to do what the current system does, which is snuff that out and create uniform widgets. That’s why they need so many buildings, fences, supervisors, guards, and so much money.
All you need is an environment where natural human tendencies can flourish, bump up against the world, get feedback, and adjust.
Sometimes the system isn’t broken, it just sucks. Get out. Build your own thing.