This week, the Boy and I watched a video, a TED talk done by a 13 year old home-schooler who had the best answer I have heard to the question of “What do you want to be when you grow up,”. His answer? I want to be happy.
You can watch the whole video here: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Hackschooling-Makes-Me-Happy-Lo
I have also been paying attention to the various discussions on the Common Core. At one end of the spectrum is a desire for unity in learning. The education you get in rural Alabama will be no worse than the education you could get in Marin County. On the other end is the concern that everyone is taught to the test and art and literature is set on a back burner.
So what is the point of education?
Does education prepare us for a work force mentality? And if so, which one? Factory based? Cubicle based? Even Arts based? All are important to society.
Does education create problem solvers? If your measurable goal is to have people learn to recite facts and figures, then I don’t think so. But if the educators are providing open ended questions, then maybe so.
Does education get us interested in the world? This is what my best teachers, Mrs. Shaw and Mr. Kramsky did. I never felt that, in their classes I was just doing busy work. I had no desire to draw pictures of birds, but Mrs. Shaw made it interesting. We weren’t just coloring a bird yellow, we were discovering and exploring WHY it was yellow. And I do not have any of the traditional horror stories about learning Shakespeare thanks to Mr. Kramsky, who made it come alive.
I don’t know if Common Core is going to be the evil bogeyman many of my home-school friends believe it will be. I know too many teachers who have integrity and intelligence and would never let bureaucracy get in the way of education. Public schools will work for many, but there are those, like the Boy, who see things in different ways.
There is a quote attributed to Yeats, (don’t quote me on that though, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “You can’t believe everything you read on the internet”): Education Is Not the Filling of a Pail, But the Lighting of a Fire”
That, to me, captures what we should strive towards. And at the very least, what we want as a job when we grow up should be secondary to what we want to be.