Allow me to be controversial The following link to Sir Ken Robinson's famous - very famous - TED lecture is perhaps well known. If not, do watch it. The topic is challenging. I would really like to hear opinions!   Cheers,

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An independent candidate for the presidency in 2012 says wisely that if elected, he would work for the termination of the federal Department of Education. When bureaucracies run education--federal and state--there is no possiblity for educating children in the true sense of the word.  Bureaucracies by their very nature are about forms, objective standards, and measurements and all things that can become statistics.  The problem is that students are not commodities.

With governments hovering over every school, of course there is political correctness and bureaucratic paperwork and shuffling of numbers.  How can there be success with models from politicos?

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Our problem is that education is financed by people who are not educators - lawmakers don't understand the realities of working with highly individualized and fragile children. They depend more on the advice and experience (and campaign contributions) of business bean-counters who are accustomed to standardizing products and processes and then making things flow as fast as possible with uniform procedures and results.

The TED lecture is fun to watch but it won't change the real root cause of the problem. Unfortunately, I don't know what will...

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We had to watch this during a teacher inservice. I agree, mostly, with the premise, however as we have seen with the many failed education initiatives over the years (Goals 2000, No Child Left Behind...etc.) there is no one template into which education can be squeezed.

Like the children we teach, education must be handled on a case by case basis...because not everyone learns the same...nor  are they inspired to creativitiy through the same methods.

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As #2 says, I'm not sure how controversial most educators will find this. I have seen it before in a couple of different contexts, and he is certainly preaching to the choir in my case. His central argument as I understand it is that because our education model is outdated, we crush creativity, the very thing we ought to be encouraging. Paradoxically, and tragically, reforms to "modernize" education have made matters worse, because they have emphasized even more conformity. Here is an animated version of a far more content-rich lecture that emphasizes the concept of "divergent thinking." I found it very persuasive:

http://sirkenrobinson.com/skr/rsa-animate-changing-education-paradigms

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I did watch the lecture, but it was a rather "soft" lecture, focusing more on entertaining the audience than on any substance. Certainly, there are schools and teachers that stifle creativity, and I agree with him about this.  The problem, at least in the United States, is that people seem bent on trying to mold education into a business model, a point he does seem to make implicitly.  As long as this model prevails, we will continue to have this problem.  My guess is that you will find very few people on enotes who disagree with the basic point of the lecture.

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