Re-thinking education. No; REALLY re-thinking education.

Every election season politicians scold us about “education.”  We must pay more, we are told, for the education of our young.  And this education must last from near-birth until at least a Bachelors Degree.  That’s a long time to entrust our kids into govenment schools.  That’s a long time to spend before starting your life.  That’s a lot of money that could be invested in other ways.

Does this make any sense?

Computer Moguls Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (Apple); Bill Gates and Paul Allen (Microsoft), Lawrence Ellison (Oracle) and Michael Dell (Dell) are not the only famous and successful college dropouts.  There are lots of them.  There are also an awful lot of successful people who’d dropped out of high school, or never had any formal schooling at all.

Nobody would be surprised that Jimmy Dean, Louis Armstrong and most other performers aren’t well-educated in the formal sense.  Even gifted writers like Mark Twain, Faulkner and Shakespeare …especially ones like Jackie Collins, had no credentials other than success.  And why bother to mention painters like Monet and van Gogh?  You’d never expect a famous artist to possess a PhD, or even both ears.

Maybe political pundit types like Rush Limbaugh and Nina Totenberg don’t count since they just talk, and it’s their listeners about whose education we need to ponder.  For similar reasons, politicians probably shouldn’t count.  It’s voters who really call the shots.  But not even the brilliant Patrick Henry (he did gain a law degree, but he taught himself…as did President Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln) or George Washington had college education.  Perhaps political theorists like Henry George and Thomas Paine should’ve had college degrees; but they didn’t.

It’s a little odd that politicians, a class of society that ranks lower than you might suspect in education achievement, push us so hard into government schools; but let us continue…

Certainly, you can imagine that multi-billionaires like Kirk Kerkorian, Richard Branson, Robert Maxwell or Thomas Haffa didn’t need college education to amass vast college-free wealth like Kroc and Carnegie and Rockefeller and… 

Hmmm… Is that why they call them “self-made millionaires?”

But what about inventors and scientists like George Eastman and Benjamin Franklin?  How about the Wright brothers, Henry Ford, Michael Faraday, Anton van Leeuwenhoek, Heinrich Schliemann and …Albert Einstein?

Well, sort of.  Einstein wrote his first scientific papers while in high school, dropped out, later failed an entrance exam to college and came up with a lot of his most famous ideas before actually finishing high school.  He eventually got a college degree, but then was unemployed.  He became famous while he worked as …a patent clerk.

Scientists don’t usually become famous anymore, so you’d probably not have heard that child-prodigies like Philip Emeagwali and Jaron Lanier dropped out of high school before their successes in science. 

And if you were to poll the boardrooms of the biggest companies in the world, you may find a bunch of MBAs sitting around the tables.  But the people in the Big Chairs are more often college dropouts – or they never even went to college.  It’s fact that the bulk of the world’s millionaires made their money in real estate, where post-middle-school education just isn’t that useful.  Many other millionaires simply sell stuff, and you don’t need a degree for that.

Yet it’s also fact that throughout history, many of the greatest inventors, scientists, engineers, philosophers, musicians, writers and polymaths (“Renaissance Men” who excelled in numerous fields) had little to no formal education.  Thomas Edison had only three weeks of formal schooling.  Many people, like H.G. Wells, taught for years before they got a college degree, then became famous for doing something barely related to their education.

Despite all the political hand-wringing about a lack of “science and math education,” we have an awful lot of science and math graduates who’re either unemployed, or working in areas unrelated to their education.

Why am I going on about all this?  Because one would be hard-pressed to come up with a successful person who got successful correctly.  That’s why.  Few notably-successful people do what our Teachers Union-Approved education system says is necessary for success. 

…And because well-over half of your local tax load supports a big, fat lie.  That’s why.

Personally, I wish I’d not wasted so much time getting my head twisted around in college.  I wish I had recognized the faulty programming I was receiving sooner, and had acted in the interests of my own life, instead of playing out the whims and bad ideas of politicians.  It could have been like adding twenty years to my life.

None of us should be ants, operating as a collective and living only for the hive.  None of us are machine parts, to be assembled by an all-knowing state into a transmission of political values.  I grieve for the young minds and souls being lock-stepped into some illusory and backwards “diversity,” which amounts to the ultimate conformity, crushing the individuals we were born to be.  Our founders had a much better plan in mind for us, of course.  

And yet, home-schooling moms just may build an even better future than what our founders dared dream:

Imagine learning without any political interference at all. 

Imagine learning where those who’re most deeply connected to a child’s well-being and development as a successful person, are the ones who feed the mind as well as the body.

Imagine kids coming from home-schools growing up with the knowledge that politicians did not make them what they are today. 

Imagine that these kids then look at the world and political tangles we leave them, and then declare it not good enough.

Ahhh…There is hope. 

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. There are many fundamental and structural issues with formal education. I’ll give you just one.

    There are a lot of historical reasons for K-12 being 13 years, such as keeping children out of the workforce, that have nothing to do with what’s a quality education or the best way to learn.

    So if you have 13 years, the next step is obviously to fill it up with stuff. The easiest way to organize that stuff is by grade and subject. It’s interesting that it takes exactly the same amount of time to learn history as it does math. Each gets a semester or a year.

    Instead of educating year by year, subject by subject, it’s actually speeds up the learning process to think in terms of start to finish. In other words, you need to learn something and when you’re done you’re done…and the faster you can do it the better.

    This of course, is contrary to the way schools are funded. They get money by keeping butts in the seats.

    If you’re interested in more posts like this, I put them up on my blog at http://www.learningatlightspeed.wordpress.com

  2. I did check out your website. Good stuff. Thanks!

  3. I agree with the person who wrote the above passage. Lets take into consideration the children of successful business pioneers, like, well… the Hilton family. Sure Paris could go to college and receive a rather meaningless degree, but why waste her time with that when she can make more money being herself in the real world? Of course if you want to work as an engineer or a doctor, you need formal training through college and postsecondary schools, but for someone who simply wants to own a “hands-on” business such as plumbing or someone who wants to open up their own gym, all you need is some money, and a passion for your work… and a little luck. I believe that there are people and there are people. Some of them will need the college education to get their foot in the door, and many feel comfortable working for somebody else. Many people just want a steady paycheck, without the worries of owning your own business and having to deal with the ups and downs. For business pioneers such as myself, I could not imagine having to work for someone in a fixed schedule for the rest of my life. My I.Q. and SAT scores fair far above average in the college I attended, yet my scores were below average. Why? I detest conformity and have no patience for the bull that lies between the hot sun and the ground. The only objection I see to not going to college is, you better have a good plan, and don’t kid yourself. If you have the possibility of going to college, go. Try it out for one year and see how you like it. Don’t go crazy if you don’t think you fit in, or you simply are not as successful as you would have imagined. In high school I was a good student (took mostly AP classes in my junior and senior year) yet I was put on academic probation after my first semester, and after my second semester I was kicked out for one year due to my “poor academic standing.” After coming back I realized that I had made the same mistake twice. I am now dropping out so that may follow my business dream. Sure, I’m lucky my parents can help me pay for my expenses in the time I need to prepare my business plan and put it in action, but who wouldn’t use the help? The point is, if you don’t fit in, and you really hate your life in college, don’t go shooting people over it. Just analyze the situation and think about your options. Eventually you will figure it out. Maybe it is my own stupid opinion, but the 10 thousand dollar difference in salary per year between a person with a college degree and one without is not enough to keep me from following my true passion and living life the way I believe it should be lived.

    You got one life so do what you need to do to make your life better.

  4. Well, if I had invested the uncountable thousands I spent on a decade of higher education, I’d be retired now.
    Sheesh.

  5. Good stuff. Thanks!

  6. Thank you for visiting!

  7. Great post!


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