As we wrap up this section on schools and institutions, it’s important to bring it all back around and realize how dire the situation is. School kills kids. Young people that could live great lives are being destroyed by a problematic and ineffective system.
Scarily, we put every child through the exact same funnel to meet the exact same fate: a diploma that largely means nothing. It might feel like this aim can only have a positive or neutral effect. My position up to this point has been that school is not the most effective way to learn and that it is largely inhibiting you from getting a real education, which is true.
However, it’s a bit more sinister than that. Countless students each and every year are labelled as special ed for behavioral issues that are attributable to the fact that they are children (do you expect a six-year-old to sit still for hours on end, and should he?). Students are told that without college, they are putting themselves at a major disadvantage and have less or little chance of succeeding without it. Students are told to go into specific STEM careers or become doctors and lawyers or some other traditional career path and they follow blindly, not realizing that their demise awaits them on the other side of that graduation stage in the form of student debt and studies they despise.
While young people could be developing curiosity and critical thinking skills, they are wasting away their youth in classrooms where they copy notes (not write them) from a previously prepared PowerPoint. They are loaded with homework that isn’t meant to educate them but to simply take up their time to create the appearance that the courses are rigorous and thus somehow valuable. They are sitting around, overwhelmed with homework and unjust pressure to complete it in the name of college, wondering why any of it matters, and then we look around baffled when teen anxiety, depression, and suicide are so rampant in the United States. They are abandoning their dreams and aspirations because it doesn’t fit the mold and nobody around them has explained that their dreams are entirely possible.
Millions—yes, millions—of young kids with amazing potential have fallen into a variety of places that they should never have been: college, jail, on the streets, or in jobs that they despise, all because we could not show them the way to educate themselves and find their own success.
Those were viable lives that could have done great things, but we were so worried about making them university students that we neglected their real interests and replaced them with our own. Viable lives that completely stagnated the day after graduation, as they refused or neglected to continue learning and developing because we never taught them how to do it in the first place. Millions of lives. Every year. Gone. Dead.
We can’t let that happen to us. We’ve got to do something about it.