April 27, 2012

Caine’s Arcade and a Public School Takeaway

Take 10 minutes today during your lunchbreak to watch this beautiful story of children's entrepreneurship.

There are a lot of great takeaways from this video. So, I'll give you a crazy one you probably didn't think of.

I want kids like Caine to be plucked away from the traditional public school system.

I understand the theory behind maintaining/improving our current public school system. That in a charter or private school environment, rich parents will all flock to the same schools. That the best teachers will then flock to these schools. And that the poor kids will be stuck in the poor schools with the worst teachers - permanently stuck in their lower-rung socio-economic world.

And so, if we maintain a system that spreads the wealth a little more evenly, it will give the poor kids a better shot.

It's absolutely true. But, there is a downside we have to acknowledge. By definition, spreading out the best teachers and the best resources will make the privileged kids' schools a little worse.

Is this fair? Maybe.

But, I want us to understand the downside. Because while every child has enormous potential, Caine is uniquely special. He could be Edison. And I don't want him in an avg. school. I want kids with Caine's potential to be plucked and groomed.

We used to do this. In the 60s, Kennedy said, "We're going to the moon." And we tried to find the geniuses who would help get us there. We took our perceived best and brightest out of high school and sent them to specialized schools.

It's a completely different way of looking at education. To some, it looks cruel. To me, it seems obvious.

So, I'm re-asking a question I've asked before.

Is our educational system designed to help geniuses create the future, or to help the average kid follow instructions?