Saturday, 31 March 2012

Street Fighter and Street Smart


I understand why top students - the A+ types - learn physics and calculus. I get why they study classic literature and the details of history. The kids in this brainy group are the future professors, scientists, and engineers who will propel civilization forward.

But why do we make the B students sit through these same classes? That's like trying to teach a walrus to tap dance. It's a complete waste of time and money. And most students fall into that middle category. I assume this ridiculous educational system is a legacy from a day when generic mental training was good enough for just about any job.

In our modern world, would it make more sense to teach B students something useful, such as entrepreneurship? 

Unfortunately, our culture continues to place highly on a college degree. Parents and teachers can seldom imagine other possibilities, especially for the intelligent. Employers lazily use college degrees as a cheap way of screening job candidates. Socially, people who don’t go to college are often regarded as weirdos.
I think it's a bad idea to evaluate our school system based on international test score comparisons. While it's important that our top students are as good as top students everywhere, our biggest untapped resource is our B students. Maybe we should start teaching them useful skills.

Simply put, school isn’t for everyone. Although there tends to be a stigma attached to being a high-school or college dropout, a number of well-known and highly successful men began their careers by taking a calculated risk and dropping out of school

Richard Branson is worth $2.8 billion and that’s not too shabby for a guy who didn’t even finish high school.

Branson suffered from dyslexia and had a hard time with educational institutions. What he lacked in schooling, however, he made up in curiosity and entrepreneurship– when he was 15, he had started two business ventures: growing Christmas trees

Branson dropped out at the age of 16 to start a youth-culture magazine called Student. Later Branson opened a small record store in London called Virgin which lead to recording label. 

Now Virgin became a veritable giant (branching out into things like airways, telecommunication and so forth) and Branson was knighted in 1999 for services to entrepreneurship.

More education doesn’t mean you’ll be more successful. It’s all about your drive. Your passion in life and sticking to it.

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