Reading Review: School Stinks

Stop Stealing Dreams by Seth Godin

Seth Godin has written a ton of books and manifestos and eBooks and blog posts and probably a bunch of other stuff too. I’ve heard his name all over the place but this was his first writing that I’d read.

Apparently, Godin feels quite strongly that our nations public school system as a whole is broken. But…there’s really not a good way to fix it. Basically, Godin says that our education system was built and designed as a way to churn out factory workers. When public school was started, we wanted to teach kids what they needed to know to be better factory employees – mostly to follow instructions, stand in line, sit still and do as told. The “three r’s” were central to all learning because they were necessary skills for the majority of employees at the time.

And now? We don’t really need everyone to be a factory worker. We need artists and musicians and entrepreneurs. We need leaders, not a bunch of people obeying rules and following directions. The problem is that you can’t change an entity as old and vast as our public school system without lots and lots and lots of effort from lots and lots and lots of people over lots and lots and lots of years. Anyone who picked up the torch now would likely not live to see the end of the battle, so to speak. And those most passionate about the education system – parents of children currently or soon to be in school – would not see benefits of any changes until long after their children graduate.

So, it’s not an easy cause. But whether you agree with him or not, Godin presents some very interesting information. And, while he doesn’t really give an easy solution, anyone with any interest in our nation’s school system (teachers, parents, future parents, employers, future employers, conscientious citizens) should give this book a read.

And, hey, it’s a free download.

What are you reading this summer?

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4 responses to “Reading Review: School Stinks

  1. Jim Woods (@unknownjim) July 2, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    I enjoyed the book but it easily could have been 20% as long as it was. I find that schools do not remotely focus on the individuals but rather the masses. By it’s very nature it’s kind of a bad concept to have a one size fits all approach to education.

  2. Nathan July 3, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Having not read the book i feel stupid commenting but the question i was left with from your blog post is “How have we managed to produce great leaders, artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs so far?” I don’t feel we are lacking in those areas. Public schools have their issues but they’ve put out some quality folks throughout history.

    • Chrystal July 3, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      I don’t know that I really have an answer Nathan. I will say that the author doesn’t just address Public school. He’s not a huge fan of private or home schools either. Godin would say that those great leaders, etc. became such in spite of school rather than because of it. There are always exceptions to the rule – just as there are great teachers and great schools even in a system that is flawed. I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says, but these are the kinds of questions he was trying to bring to light. It’s an interesting book in that it makes you think rather than just accepting what is because it’s always been.

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