The Two Sides of The Textbook

Picture of Open Books

Like many have expressed in recent years, there is an outright, obvious issue with our education system. But it’s interesting because in recent months, as the message has been more and more popularized, more individuals have hopped on the band-wagon to criticize the system.

But most aren’t looking at the bigger picture. Most have jumped on board, as if it is the latest trend. Some have taken to creating spoken word videos, parodies, memes, YouTube videos and much more.

All of this is great because the conversation is happening, however, what’s not so great is that we are not considering all elements.

Today, I read an article stating that more kids are being home-schooled. First and foremost, homeschooling is not a new concept. Before the idea of “public education” came into play, it was…. you guessed it, private. But the question is, should more parents be pulling their kids out of traditional schools for fear that their child will not get that individual attention?

When I was younger, I used to have a weird habit to help deal with difficult situations. If I was in a situation that was inconvenient, uncomfortable or just not beneficial to me, rather than work to change it, I would always find ways to make the situation more manageable.

For instance, like most, I worked in an environment where I was getting zero to very little development; development to increase my productivity, do my job better or even become a better person.

So, I decided to create a development program that would teach me something. Anything! After implementing the program, I immediately began to learn a surmountable amount.

I learned patience, leadership, how to deal with people and manage all types of different personalities. I didn’t set out to change the entire work-space as I just set out to make my situation a little easier and more manageable.

Fish Jumping to a More Comfortable Bowl

However, I’ve since grown and since recognized the power and benefit in being willing to transform environments and spaces rather than be limited to just accepting and change MY situation.

Similarly, when many parents make the push for homeschooling, it is because they are attempting to only change THEIR situation. But what if we were too look at it with a different perspective?

Imagine the amount of resources that the schools have access too. Think about the amount of potential sitting in classrooms every day. Why not collectively push for reformation of the entire system?

Imagine an institution, with the money and resources, not only geared towards educating our kids, but also developing and enlightening them. I believe it is a matter of leveraging the resources that governments and public schools already have access to and then channeling them.

After all, even though the current system has its flaws, the current structure of homeschooling does as well. And as more people slowly pull their kids out of the traditional education system and homeschool them, more issues will come to light.

Another important point is understanding the purpose and objective of the traditional school system. They are not educating you just because they have nothing else to do.

From the moment you are introduced into the school system you are being prepared for something. And that is what we are missing. In teaching anything, there is usually an intention. The question we should be asking is “what is the intention of our current education system?”

The answer would be that the intention is to prepare us for the workforce. But what we need to take note of is that schools aren’t the leaders in this relationship — businesses are.

Businesses dictate what type of employees and skills they are looking for, not schools. If a company says we require ‘this’ from our applicants, then schools should work to ensure their students are prepared to provide whatever the company needs.

So then, if we really want to see an even greater change it’s not just the school system that needs reform but also the businesses as they set the expectation.

Let’s say a company requires a degree in order to work at their firm, if schools are reformed to where they no longer receive degrees, then there will be much more unemployed people.

If companies begin requiring more passionate people, then continuing to pop out MBA students, who only have an academic grasp of business, will be pointless. Schools have to not only develop a student’s ability to grasp academic concepts but also help nurture the student’s passions.

If businesses begin to look for more creative individuals and no longer wants the cookie-cutter thought process, schools will have to do more to foster such creativity.

The point is, we need to see that schools aren’t the only issue at play here. Businesses need to begin to see the value of developed, enlightened and educated employees and make sure they follow through with their part of the bargain.

Christopher Duff

Christopher Duff is the Founder of Inspired Initiatives, an innovative training and development company that helps young people and organizations reach their full potential.