Our Education System: Teaching a Fish to Climb a Tree

Educating the Individual

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

Before you read any further, WATCH THIS VIDEO:

I’m in the Leadership Pueblo Program, and last week we spent an entire day learning about the state of education in Pueblo, but also the state of education in general. I’ve always been very outspoken on my opinion that our educational system is outdated and needs significant changes. That’s still a mission I’m fighting for, and I’m lucky enough now to utilize Let’s March as my platform.

The above video was shown as part of a presentation by Ken Crowell on the state of education. I had seen it before and shared it on my Facebook page, but for whatever reason it resonated more deeply this time. I think it’s impact was strengthened by the way Mr. Crowell primed us leading up to the video. The shock and awe portion of his presentation focused on dropout rates. I don’t have the exact statistics he used, but here’s some I found after doing my own research to better shape the narrative.

According to dosomething.org:

  • Every year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States alone. That’s a student every 26 seconds – or 7,000 a day.
  • A high school dropout will earn $200,000 less than a high school graduate over his or her lifetime. And almost a million dollars less than a college graduate.
  • Almost 2,000 high schools across the U.S. graduate less than 60% of their students.
  • In the U.S., high school dropouts commit 75% of crimes.

Obviously, dropouts are a massive issue in our society. But my question is: why are students dropping out? I would argue that our education system is failing them. This one size fits all delusion is no longer going to work, and I believe that is now very clear. Customized education, where the individual is the priority not the curriculum and standardized tests, is the future.

I had the pleasure of touring the School of Engineering and Biomedical Science in Pueblo last week as well as the Pueblo School for Arts and Sciences, and I was absolutely blown away. What I saw wasn’t the same old, worn down system, but instead, learning environments that were empowering the individual by focusing on specific talents and interests.

I left the Leadership Pueblo Program’s education day last week hopeful for the future. Tackling the challenges of our education system is a daunting task, but it’s a huge passion of mine and I’m willing to fight for it in the name of progress. I hope my efforts and the efforts of the millennial generation as a whole, will create a future where fish will no longer have to climb trees.


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