Why Our Education System Can't Work As It Is

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Yesterday while working on the Go Where The Average Is Great post I came across a very deep article on why our education system is not designed to bring the best out of everyone.

It is a fairly long article and you can reach it all here: Quote Investigator. But I have extracted the juiciest part of the article and pasted it below. 

I hope you'll enjoy it.

A long time ago, when the animal creation was being differentiated into swimmers, climbers, fliers, and runners, there was a school for the development of the animals. The theory of the school was that the best animals should be able to do one thing as well as another; and if there was an apparent aptitude in a given animal for doing one thing and an apparent inaptitude for doing other things, the time and effort should be spent upon the latter instead of the former.

If one had short legs and good wings, the attention should be given to running so as to even up the qualities as far as possible. So the duck was kept waddling instead of swimming, the pelican was kept wagging his short wings in the attempt to fly. The eagle was made to run and allowed to fly only for recreation, while maturing tadpoles were unmercifully guyed for being neither one thing nor another.

All this in the name of Education.

Nature was not to be trusted in her make up of individuals, for individuals should be symmetrically developed and similar for their own welfare as well as for the welfare of the community. The animals that would not submit to such training, but persisted in developing the best gifts they had, were dishonored, called narrow-minded and specialists, and special difficulties were placed in their way when they attempted to ignore the theory of education recognized by the school.

No one was allowed to graduate from that school unless he could climb, swim, run, and fly at a certain prescribed rate. So it happened that the time taken by the duck in learning to run the prescribed rate had so hindered him from swimming that he was scarcely able to swim at the prescribed rate, and in addition he had been scolded, threatened, punished, and ill-treated in many ways so as to make his life a burden, and he left school humiliated, and the ornithorhyncus could beat him either running or swimming. Indeed, the latter carried off the prize in two departments.

The eagle made no headway in climbing to the top of a tree. Though he showed he could get there just the same, the performance was counted a demerit, as it had not been done in the prescribed way.

An abnormal eel with large pectoral fins proved he could run, swim, climb trees, and fly a little; he was made valedictorian.

... [and a revised version below]

The following treatise upon the higher education comes to me by way of an MIT professor, but whether the authorship is his, I don’t know. It says: One time the animals had a school. The curriculum consisted of running climbing, flying and swimming, and all the animals took all the subjects.

The Duck was good in swimming—better, in fact, than his instructor—and he made passing grades in flying, but he was practically hopeless in running. Because he was low in this subject, he was made to stay after school and drop his swimming class in order to practice running. He kept this up until he was only average in swimming, but average was passing so nobody worried about that except the duck.

The Eagle was considered a problem pupil and was disciplined severely. He beat all others to the top of the tree in the climbing class, but he always used his own way of getting there.

The Rabbit started at the top of the class in running, but he had a nervous breakdown and had to drop out of school on account of so much make-up work in swimming.

The Squirrel led the climbing class, but his flying teacher made him start his flying from the ground up instead of from the top down, and he developed charley horses from overexertion at the takeoff and began getting C’s in climbing and D’s in running.

The practical Prairie Dogs apprenticed their offspring to the Badgers when the school authorities refused to add digging to the curriculum.

At the end of the year, an abnormal Eel that could swim well and run, climb and fly a little was made Valedictorian.


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