The general feeling is that something in education is broken. So, whose fault is it? A. Government? B. Parents? C. Teachers? D. Medication? E. Diet? F. Economic suppression? On and on the multiple choice blame goes.
If we are being truly honest, the answer is G. All of the above and then some.
The system has become broken, or at the very least, is allowed to continue on in mediocrity on our watch. It doesn’t matter if you are a parent, child, teacher, or politician… we all are to blame. As a quick exercise, stop and take a deep breath, now say these words out loud… “I can do more to fix education and I will.”
With 1.2 million young people electing to end their schooling each year and 72 per cent of college students discovering that they weren’t prepared for college and careers, we have to do something. A reimagined process is needed.
This process however must be multi-faceted; the overall school system needs to put the learner and their process as the primary focus, the parents need to be re-engaged as primary mentors/guides and our youth need to be challenged to live like they are responsible for their futures now, not at 18.
As I journey through life I occasionally get the opportunity to talk with someone who is truly inspiring. They have accomplished so much in their life and it sparks motivation and inspiration in me. Let’s call them "legends".
Three of the legends I have met are Burt Rutan, Brent Regan and Dr. Forrest Bird.
All of them have many things in common. They are brilliant inventors and have created private space travel, the ventilator and the tele-manipulator robotic arm with six degrees of motion.
No big deal… exploring space, saving more lives than anyone one person on earth and enabling the exploration of the Titanic wreckage. These men have been able to accomplish what seems like magic.
As I raise my two young sons, three years old and five years old, I’m forced to ask, how did those three men I respect so much become "legends" and how do I reproduce it uniquely in my own sons?
Fortunately for me, I have been able to ask each of them "What was the key to your development, your ability to learn and do so much?" After talking with each of them and listening to their stories I’ve realised a few common factors. A genuine passion found through experimentation and exposure or access to inspirational mentors.
As young men, they were introduced to people like Henry Ford and the Wright Brothers, or had parents that allowed them to work alongside of them as their minds were forming. As teens they worked on parts for the lunar lander, built electric vehicles during high school in the 1960s and interestingly all three of them met later in life, yet all shared a common passion of being pilots.
Adventure, experimentation, empowering and mentorship. Until these are words used to describe our education process we have work to do.