Reforming Education

‘Every country on earth at the moment is reforming public education. There are two reasons for this. The first of them is economic. People are trying to work out how do we educate our children to take their place in the economies of the 21st century? How do we do that given that we can’t anticipate what the economy will look like at the end of next week, as the recent turmoil is demonstrated. How do we do that?

The second is cultural. Every country on earth is trying to figure out how do we educate our children so they have a sense of cultural identity so that we can pass on the cultural genes of our communities while being part of the process of globalisation? How do we square that circle?

The problem is they’re trying to meet the future by doing what they did in the past. And on the way they’re alienating millions of kids who don’t see any purpose in going to school. When we went to school we were kept there with a story which is if you work hard and did well and got a college degree you would have a job. Our kids don’t believe that. And they’re right not to, by the way. You’re better having a degree than not, but it’s not a guarantee any more. And particularly not if the route to it marginalises most of the things that you think are important about yourself.’

– Robinson, K. (2008, June 16) Ken Robinson: Changing Education Paradigms. Retrieved from


7 thoughts on “Reforming Education

  1. This will likely forever brand me a nerd, but I didn’t go to school for the purpose of future employment, as I had no idea what I wanted to do in life (still trying to figure that out), I went because I enjoyed learning. At the end of my second-to-last year of High School, I stole 27 books from the library, read them over the summer, and returned them in the Fall – I thought of it as borrowing, it’s only stealing if you get caught.

  2. I think you hit the nail on the head. You have to want it for it to work. Public ed is a gross misnomer, it’s not education, it’s primarily babysitting and brainwashing in a set of elitist designed beliefs that no longer work because too many people can now see through the BS. Public ed has become a huge relatively safe bureaucracy with secure employment and good pensions – which governments are doing their best to break down in order to cut costs. It has nothing, or little, to do with actual education of the young, hence why most of them think of it as putting in time. It doesn’t need revamping, it needs destroying and starting from scratch. I can see its value up to approximately a grade six-seven level, enough to give a child the basics in reading, writing and math. After, it should be up to the individual. Do you want to learn more? Then demonstrate that you do or don’t show up. Teach responsibility and consequences, not mindless rote facts. That’s how it was in the northern homesteads. If you wanted “higher ed” you enrolled in correspondence courses, and you did the work or you failed. With computers, and the Internet, how much easier that would be to implement today.

  3. My daughter, a 5th grade Elementary School teacher, tells me they don’t even teach cursive writing anymore. I can’t imagine an entire generation of adults, who can only print like a first grader.

  4. I know it’s “progress,” but (and there was a TV show about this that got canceled) what would happen if the electricity went off? Do you realize how many things we used to be able to do just a hundred years ago, that we have totally lost the art of doing?

  5. For what it’s worth, Arch, it was a lot less than a 100 years ago. I was raised on a N. Alberta homestead. No electricity and very few machines. Coal and naphta powered our lamps. Wood, felled and chopped on the land fed the stoves in the house and the milk house in winter. Most of the food came from the land: meat, grain, milk, cream and butter, all ground and churned at home, and the bread of course was home-baked. Washing was done by hand on a washboard until the wonderful day when dad brought a monster 2-cycle gas-powered Iron Horse washing machine into the house. Most of the field work was done with horses, single or teams and they provided transportation as well when nothing else could move through the blizzard drifts or the gumbo. Remember the hay racks, the threshing machines blowing the straw out of the big stack to pile up for winter use? And the best time of threshing days for us kids: bringing lunch and dinner out to the field for the crew. Hey, we still had coal-fired trains up there on the N. A. R. or Northern Alberta Railway. Difference with today is, we had LAND to live off of. Can’t do any of this in cities. Hence, I project a massive die-back of humanity as today’s artificial lifestyle inevitably must come to a grinding halt as resources fail and pollution of air, land and water kills much of what is needed to sustain an unsustainable population growth. Mother nature will feed you… if you play ball. If you want it all eventually you end up with nothing, a simple lesson that “man” is not mentally equipped to understand until it’s too late. I have to add that our rough and ready public education turned out to be way ahead of equivalent grade rating in the southern cities I eventually moved to. We could out-read, write and “cipher” city kids, and we were multi-lingual as well because northern lands were cheap and attracted many people from impoverished post-war Europe. Human nature adapts, either to hard times, or soft times. City living makes for soft times, soft bodies and soft minds. What is accessed without real personal effort is accounted of little value.

  6. we still had coal-fired trains up there on the N. A. R. or Northern Alberta Railway
    I grew up next to the tracks, it never failed that one came by every time my mom hung a wash out on the line – been there.

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