We all know the fate of buggy whip manufacturers. Because there are none left.

We would all likely be skeptical of someone who says they are going to build a large-scale buggy whip manufacturing facility. Because there is no need for large quantities of buggy whips.

Yet we most likely sent all our school-aged children to a buggy whip manufacturing location at some point these last couple of weeks to turn them into modern day buggy whips.

If you’re a teacher, or spend your career protecting the current education system, my comments won’t resonate with you so you might stop reading here…

I’ve been thinking about this for a few years now. Ever since one of our kids told us he was smarter than his teachers, and turned out to be right.

Exactly what jobs today require you to be compliant, sit in an assigned seat or row, work on your own, and memorize details and facts?

Near as I can tell, none.

Employers are in critical need of problem solvers who can adapt to technology, work in teams, solve unexpected problems, and use their knowledge in new ways to address new problems.

And NONE of that is taught in school. In fact, if you problem-solve with another student at certain times, you’re called a cheater and heavily penalized.

Because in the late 1800s almost all work was as an individual, plug and play into an assembly line. Quiet obedience was a desired value out of employees then. They were not to think or work together on anything. Just shut up and do as you’re told.

That’s what the education system was designed to create.

But now, work is almost always collaborative.

If you stand out in school, you get labeled as a jock or a nerd or a preppy or a druggy. If you don’t become, or at least act like, a certain type of widget, you are penalized by the teachers and the system. Maybe you get glorified for personal performance as an athlete. Maybe you get a few pats on the back for great test scores here and there.

In the real world, when you try to work on your own, seek personal glory over the team, and need a lot of attention — you mostly get fired. Because we now have a collaborative economy.

Think about this as you send the future off to school. They are learning in a style that was created 100 years ago to make employees for the industrial revolution. And then that style was institutionalized and the world changed around it.

We’re not far away from the educational system becoming an institutionalized problem.

If you have school aged children, get involved with your school. Don’t accept the “line up and shut up” curriculum. Advocate for skills that are useful in the real world today.

And above all, don’t force your children to be buggy whips. The need for those is not coming back.

P.S. For a phenomenal take on this topic, read Seth Godin’s Stop Stealing Dreams.

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