Why Your Formal Education Should End Sooner
Kids are no different today. When I graduated from college with a Bachelor Degree in Music Education back in 1975, part of the valedictorian’s speech was, “Your formal education ends here…” Shortly after, we all threw our caps into the air and raced for the exits.
Summer holidays are most often kick-started with the kids home from school, Alice Cooper’s anti-school anthem, “School’s Out” still reverberating in their young, impressionable ears. Seems that the main thing they learned in school this year was, “I can’t wait to get out of this place; I can’t wait for school to be over.”
Sadly, there are so many people my age – too many, truth be told – who actually boast that they haven’t picked up a book for the purpose of learning something new since they finished their schooling some 35-40 years ago.
Formal Education is Good… Up To a Point
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge receiving the basic three R’s through my formal education – readin’, ritin’ an’ ‘rithmatic! (Hey, don’t laugh. This is NOTHING compared to how today’s kids spell via online chats and texting!)
My argument is that while three to four years of solid basics would have been more than sufficient, it’s the force-fed misdirected ‘application’ that I resented and rebelled against so strongly. And yet, compared to what kids bring home for homework these days, I have absolutely nothing to complain about.
My book reports consisted of just enough proof that I actually read the text. Most often I was asked to include my opinion on what I thought about the writing; whether I liked it or not.
Formal Education? This Is Crazy!
Today’s curriculum requires students to dissect and psycho-analyze each character. Then they have to do the same thing with the each sentence, paragraph, page, and chapter structure. No more getting away with, “I liked it because…”
Instead of encouraging a love for learning by working with each child’s natural curiosity, today’s education system is cluttered – make that glutted – with useless and impractical ‘have-to’ exercises that not only bore and disinterest the students but actually turn them off the love of learning completely.
Thankfully, I wake up each day with an insatiable appetite to seek out knowledge; to learn something new and useful. My own training experience wasn’t able to kick the love of learning out of me. I wouldn’t let them.
Take a Break from Formal Education
I’m not sure if today’s kids will be so fortunate considering the current state of formal education. The system seems to be geared to grind out more and more droids, inevitably destined to become drones in the future of society.
Leaders need their curiosity and love for learning not only to be intact, but stimulated. The most visionary leaders of today – Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Richard Branson, and a handful of others like them – all broke away from traditional education systems that threatened to stifle, if not steal their God-given gifts to deliver true value to the world. Imagine what would have happened if these people chose to conform – to be yet another ‘droid’ mass-produced by formal education.
In my experience, real life learning takes place outside of the school’s confines. In fact, that was the end of the valedictorian’s speech at my college graduation ceremony, June 8, 1975, “Your formal education ends here… now your REAL education begins!”