What is School For?

October 23, 2012 5 Comments

“If it’s work we try to figure out how to do less, if it’s art we try to figure out how to do more.”  Regular readers of our blog know that we are big fans of Seth Godin here at IISC.  And if you’ve been to anything I’ve trained or facilitated you have probably heard me rail against the dominance of an obsolete industrial paradigm.

In this video, Godin asks “What is school for?” and he clearly points to all the industrial trappings that are badly limiting how we educate our young – even in “high performing” contexts.  We are in the middle of a significant paradigm shift, and this is one of our most important questions.



  • Charlie Jones says:

    great post, gibran. thanx!

  • Cynthia Silva Parker says:

    Thanks Gibran! I have been frustrated with the quality of experience my kids have had in a “good” public school district. They have not had their passions stoked or cultivated. They’ve learned to endure schooling the way a worker who finds no meaning in his or her work trudges through each day.

  • Curtis says:

    Strikes me that this is a great question to ask of ANY system – what is this for? What is the purpose as we analyze it in action? Who does it benefit?

  • Cynthia Silva Parker says:

    Yes, Curtis. Great systems question in general. I was walking by the Boston Public Library’s main branch this morning. Check out this inscription, literally engraved in stone. “The Commonwealth requires the education of the people as the safeguard of order and liberty.” In other words, democracy and our shared fate depend on an educated populous.

  • Joshua Baron says:

    You can’t evaluate whether public schools are doing their job until you decide what that job is. The question shouldn’t be, “Does this school prepare kids for standardized tests.” The question should be, “Does this school prepare kids to be creative, gain new knowledge, and be productive.”

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