How Crazy Are You?Posted: May 9, 2013
So there’s this video on YouTube that’s been getting a lot of attention about a high school student, Jeff Bliss, who stands up to his world history teacher. It’s quite crazy. Click this link to watch the 1:45 minute long video.
It’s not news to anybody that the American education system in particular is not functioning well. Mr. Bliss makes it abundantly clear that he’s one of the many who are dissatisfied with the inefficiency of the American education system. Wait, actually, that’s not true. The education system isn’t inefficient at all. It’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing: preparing cogs for the machine. But obviously students aren’t cogs. Many organizations such as TeachBeyond have figured that out, and they’re focusing their funds and attention on “equipping students to reach their full potential as human beings.” But how true is that statement?
When I was in high school, my teachers cared about me. Well, they kinda had to. They needed their students to go on and do great things, otherwise the school’s mission statement would not match up with the deeds of the school’s graduates. If the graduates ended up on Egypt’s blacklist or, even worse, not going to college, it would take away a little bit of the school’s academic credibility.
So what is the noble thing to do as a high schooler? Answer: do your homework and go to a good college. People applaud that. Standing ovations at graduation for the NHS student who got accepted to attend Yale this fall, right? Come on, you’d clap for that. It’s impressive!
Yeah, but this is 2013, not 1837.
Alright, that’s also not news to anyone. So what’s the alternative route?
There are individuals and organizations like the Thiel Fellowship who offer students money to work on groundbreaking projects instead of going to college. But then they finish their projects and are endorsed by colleges and universities. Why? That’s the only platform we have! Millions of smart, young people are enrolled in colleges, so you’ve already got yourself a huge audience. I mean, what would you do if you sat on an amazing invention and you wanted to get some publicity for it? You’d probably go to some innovation fare hosted and endorsed by your local university. Ironic, isn’t it? You’re looking for an alternative to universities and you find yourself giving a speech about alternative education at Harvard. It’s like Jesus preaching in synagogues.
Here’s the deal: Jeff Bliss understands that a teacher who does their job well positively influences the growth of their students’ potential. But this potential is thwarted from the beginning, because as a student (and a teacher) you are serving a system – the system isn’t serving you. Otherwise students would be getting free meals at cafeterias and teachers would show their students how the market truly works. I have only met one person in my whole life who was able to explain to me in detail how the market functions. I didn’t learn that in high school, yet it’s vitally important nowadays. You don’t think so? Check your debt again, then. I also didn’t get free meals at the cafeteria.
Here’s a question for you: who is going to step up and create something that blows the existing system’s socks clean off? Who will it be? It’s not going to be an Ivy League school professor, I’ll tell you that. Why implode something you feel comfortable in? Why would anybody in their right mind implode a system that has provided them with a degree, a job, and, thank the Lord, a relatively small mortgage? As an experienced educator, you’d have to sacrifice your life’s work in order to build an alternative platform that is impossibly superior to our current global university network. You’d feel like a traitor. However, as a youngster, as someone who hasn’t been bought by the traditional education system, you’ve got yourself some freedom if you’ve cut your umbilical cord from Alma Mater.
Are you crazy enough?