Stop Stealing Dreams

Seth Godin just released his free ebook titled, Stop Stealing Dreams. It's an excellent book. I highly recommend reading it and passing it onto your friends -- especially those that work in education. It's basically a series of blog posts so it's an easy read. Here are some lines from the book that I liked the most:

Our current system of teaching kids to sit in straight rows and obey instructions isn’t a coincidence—it was an investment in our economic future. The plan: trade short-term child-labor wages for longer-term productivity by giving kids a head start in doing what they’re told.

Large-scale education was not developed to motivate kids or to create scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system. Scale was more important than quality, just as it was for most industrialists.

Every year, we churn out millions of workers who are trained to do 1925-style labor.

Are we going to applaud, push, or even permit our schools (including most of the private ones) to continue the safe but ultimately doomed strategy of churning out predictable, testable, and mediocre factory workers?

There are so many examples in the mainstream news of companies not adapting and failing as a result (Research in Motion and Kodak are a couple of the most recent examples). The markets change, competitors take market share and the companies that don't adapt fail and fail fast.

There's no secret here. In fact, I would bet that most school administrators and politicians could explain exactly why Research in Motion is failing. But our schools -- possibly our most important public institution -- are doing exactly what RIM did, and to some degree are experiencing the same fate.