On a day when California's school Academic Performance Index (API) were published, this post from Seth Godin seems particularly a propos:
Perhaps we could endeavor to teach our future the following:
- How to focus intently on a problem until it's solved.
- The benefit of postponing short-term satisfaction in exchange for long-term success.
- How to read critically.
- The power of being able to lead groups of peers without receiving clear delegated authority.
- An understanding of the extraordinary power of the scientific method, in just about any situation or endeavor.
- How to persuasively present ideas in multiple forms, especially in writing and before a group.
- Project management. Self-management and the management of ideas, projects and people.
- Personal finance. Understanding the truth about money and debt and leverage.
- An insatiable desire (and the ability) to learn more. Forever.
- Most of all, the self-reliance that comes from understanding that relentless hard work can be applied to solve problems worth solving.
From what I see of our local Palos Verdes Schools, the teachers are really trying to do this...but in the face of shrinking budgets, growing class sizes, and the drumbeat pressure of standardized testing it's a daunting task.