Saturday, January 31, 2009

What is School for?
by Seth Godin

Seems like a simple question, but given how much time and money we spend on it, it has a wide range of answers, many unexplored, some contradictory. I have a few thoughts about education, how we use it to market ourselves and compete, and I realized that without a common place to start, it's hard to figure out what to do.

So, a starter list. The purpose of school is to:

Become an informed citizen
Be able to read for pleasure
Be trained in the rudimentary skills necessary for employment
Do well on standardized tests
Homogenize society, at least a bit
Pasteurize out the dangerous ideas
Give kids something to do while parents work
Teach future citizens how to conform
Teach future consumers how to desire
Build a social fabric
Create leaders who help us compete on a world stage
Generate future scientists who will advance medicine and technology
Learn for the sake of learning
Help people become interesting and productive
Defang the proletariat
Establish a floor below which a typical person is unlikely to fall
Find and celebrate prodigies, geniuses and the gifted
Make sure kids learn to exercise, eat right and avoid common health problems
Teach future citizens to obey authority
Teach future employees to do the same
Increase appreciation for art and culture
Teach creativity and problem solving
Minimize public spelling mistakes
Increase emotional intelligence
Decrease crime by teaching civics and ethics
Increase understanding of a life well lived
Make sure the sports teams have enough players

From Seth Godin's Blog

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