Marketing guru Seth Godin has a great back-to-school column up, in which he notes:
Here’s how we’ve organized traditional schooling:
You’re certain to have these classes tomorrow.
The class will certainly follow the syllabus.
There will certainly be a test.
If you do well on the test, you will certainly go on to the next year.
If you do will on the other test, you’ll certainly get to go to a famous college.
Except, he goes on to say, in a topsy-turvy economy (and perhaps throughout time), it doesn’t really work that way. Curve balls come at us. New jobs are invented, others die out. (That would include the last newspaper I worked for, The New York Sun). Writes Seth:
We’ve trained people to be certain for years, and then launch them into a culture and an economy where relying on certainty does us almost no good at all.
Broken-field running, free range kids, the passionate desire to pick yourself—that seems like a more robust and resilient way to prepare, doesn’t it?
Kids need some time that is not ‘educational’ in the narrow sense. Free time when they can play, experiment, read, explore and figure out their real interests. And to do that they need:
1 – Adults who trust them to do some things on their own.
2 – Neighbors, cops and lawmakers who understand that this is normal, not neglect.
As the school year begins (today is Day 1 in New York City) let’s remember that so much education happens when kids are not in school or doing homework. – L.