Get out of school – NOW!

Year : 2008. Get out of school NOW if you haven’t done so yet is akin to getting out of the mass-comm-advertising-marketing train back in 1995. From Futurist Speaker Thomas Frey of the Davinci Institute : This future learning system will start outside our existing education systems sometime within the next two years, and cause a revolution to begin. It will be greeted by some with open arms, welcomed by most inside our existing education system, but will eventually force new systems to develop, and schools as we know them today will cease to exist within ten years. Their replacement will be far better.

From my personal perspective, I’m equating the eventual fallout of school with what happened with advertising. If you went into advertising as a fresh-faced 20 year old, by now you’re a 35 yr old with an advertising/mass comm/marketing degree that is largely irrelevant. You either become disillusioned or you go do an MBA hoping it would bring a new spark to your life. You may already have a family and the time and costs to do a reputable MBA may put the strain on your finances, relationships and mental health.

Not a good place to be for a once young, ambitious, intelligent, savvy middle-class kid. I don’t mean to offend anyone because most of these people I’m describing are people I know whom I’m  fond of. But it’s the truth. To get out of school now is like to run the other way if you were in media buying or market research in early 2000.

About a year ago, I met an uncle of mine who lamented how his youngest daughter, in her early 20s (she was about almost 10 years younger than me) went to the same Advertising and Mass Communications college I went to but couldn’t get a job that paid enough for her living. I wanted to say, “How could anyone (who did Marketing,Business, advertising,  get a job that pays well enough ) with the fallout in Advertising?”

I only wished that my uncle had talked to me 7 years ago, before his daughter decided on what career path. I would give them all the reasons to NOT go into any of the trinity of advertising, marketing and PR and let them make an informed decision.

Lesson : Don’t take up a course just because you don’t know what the heck you want. Don’t take a course just because you see a big 2-page spread in the papers. Don’t take up a course just because your friends are going there, or because it’s where all your cool friends are going. Don’t take a course just because your older cousin whom you hardly know anything about went there.

Don’t people want to at least know the difference between their assumptions and the truth? Apparently not and that has been one of the themes I’m reading about in the Black Swan. People don’t know that they don’t know and accept assumptions as models of behavior.

Just like I got out of advertising 10 years ago and wished I had the chance to tell my cousin what  I knew, I’m telling you to take your kids out of school or at least PUSH your schools to radically change their approach. That would be all but impossible unless the school your child is enrolled in already has the conditions in place; Head of school, school culture, teacher talents, to be able to lead the PUSH.

The fallout will eventually happen. But would you have used that precious time, 5 to 7 years to mine a different ability, master a certain skill, discover a hidden worth – or would you continue to drain yourself waking up every morning to face a reality that is doomed?

Let’s review that snippet from The DaVinci Institute (are you asking yourself whether there’s a reason they named themselves after the famous Renaissance man?) This future learning system will start outside our existing education systems sometime within the next two years, and cause a revolution to begin. It will be greeted by some with open arms, welcomed by most inside our existing education system, but will eventually force new systems to develop, and schools as we know them today will cease to exist within ten years. Their replacement will be far better.

Get this :  Their replacement will be far better. (Does a Keanu Reeves:) Whooooaaaaa………That means, far better than you.

So who’s going to hire these kids born between 1990 and 2013? Who’s going to want to do business with them even if they inherited a family business?

If you’re already out of school, too late – do something now in your college years or working life. Get informed, find someone who can lead you, someone who will seed you and provide a model of 21st Century Learning. After 11-13 years of being dumbed down in school, believe me, you have a pretty gigantic task ahead of you.

If you’re in secondary school, start forgetting about exams and A’s and start focusing all your time, energy and attention to find out what this revolution is. Use your teachers and schools as your resource for learning. Get your teachers to talk to you, do projects and research into this, collaborate with others who have learned more than you already.

If you’re a teacher, know that your role is not to take a salary at the end of the month and make more money giving tuition. Know that your role is not Teaching but to facilitate learning. My daughter asked me whether I’m worried other teachers read this. Why should I? I’m not the one messing up other people’s futures. Furthermore, there are only 2 groups of teachers : Those who are true in their teaching to empower others to achieve their highest potential and those who lie to themselves that that’s what they’re doing.

So if you’re a parent and a teacher who doesn’t like what I’m saying, prove to me in the year 2020, you’re right and I’m wrong. I’m ready to be wrong if it means there’s a chance my voice is being heard now and I could help more people. The question is, how about you? Are you ready to admit you’re wrong? You might have to come up with a mother lode of research, books, trends and surveys and blog  as intensely as I am to even start this debate. And by the way, you can’t use the past to frame a perspective for the future. Don’t even start by telling me that’s how your parents and teachers taught you cause I could sink you with counter-facts before the first round is up. Don’t even use that premise unless you’re wiling to admit you’re someone who drives your kids in the car at a steady 60mph with your eyes fixed on the rear-view mirror instead of the road ahead.

To young people reading this, snap out of your illusion that your parents and teachers know everything and have all the answers. We don’t. And I’m saying this as a pretty informed educator, parent and marketer. TALK  TO SOMEONE instead of complaining about how much you hate exams, your teachers, your school and your parents. Complaining doesn’t lead you to solutions. Conversations and actions do.

Let me give you an example I always use when people tell me they agree with what I’m saying but the problem is, other parents and teachers don’t. “The reason 10% of people succeed is because they’re doing something different from the other 90%”.  Don’t be put off because there’s at least a 50-50 chance that either you or they are right.  Those who are willing to be wrong will eventually discover what’s right.

Think for yourself because unlike reloading your phone credit, THINKING isn’t something someone else can do for you. You’re going to be 20,25,30 in 10 years. Your schooling now will become a liability in your future. It’s OK if nobody told you. But once you’ve read this, you can no longer have plausible deniability that “you didn’t see it coming”. – Good luck.

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Filed under learning about learning, Rethinking Parenting & Teaching

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