Hot Potato: Food for Thought
Why Johnny Can't...
1997 October 06
I think that almost everybody agrees that education needs to change. The problem is that there is little agreement about how it ought to change. This always makes matters more difficult.

We must have the courage to admit that the education that most of us received was painful and largely irrelevant. We need to admit that the regimented schools of the industrial era are not a useful model for schools in the knowledge era. A lot more is expected of kids today than a hundred years ago. They are going to have to be given the freedom to study the things that set them on fire and to ignore most of the subjects that are boring and difficult for them.

We have to concentrate on building problem-solving skills. This has been a terribly weak point in contemporary education and is one of the reasons so many kids find school irrelevant. Almost all kids have serious problems that they would like to solve, but school does not provide them with skills which would be useful in solving their problems. We can no longer afford to fail our children and our society in this way.

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