I started reading Seth Godin’s Linchpin last week and while Seth’s primary audience is likely to be corporate types trying to survive and advance in a cutthroat world, I am finding all kinds of relevant implications for educators.

In fact, one of Godin’s central contentions—and one that he revisits throughout Linchpin—is that the standardized preparation that students receive in our factory-model of education leaves them woefully underprepared to be noteworthy contributors when they enter the work world, where innovation and risk-taking are rewarded.

(download slide and view original image credit on Flickr)

It’s funny, isn’t it, that while policymakers continue to push for a more business-like approach to schools built on “rigor,” “accountability,” and “results” (Read: firing teachers and failing students based on nothing more than test scores), progressive business thinkers like Daniel Pink, Roger Martin and Seth Godin are pounding away at the very same approach, arguing that the factory must die.

I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry.

So whaddya’ think?  Is anything about school really relevant to success in today’s world?  Are we preparing kids to be the kinds of key players that American business needs in order to continue to thrive in a competitive world, or are we holding on to a system that has seen its better days?

What can we be proud of about American education?  What should we criticize?  What are you convinced we need to keep?  What could we pitch tomorrow?

Let’s do a bit of dreaming about what should be.


(Image credit:  That’s how you take half!  by David Swayze, licensed Creative Commons: Attribution.)

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