Education is not a commodity

This video is great. There is a whole series of them that keep showing up on my friends’ blogs. This is the only one I’ve found time to watch so far, but I’m looking forward to the rest. I’ll probably post them as I get to them, but in the meantime if you are curious you can go over to Alex Reid’s blog to peruse through the post where I found this.

Millsaps College has had billboards around and about for the past few years that say, “Education is not a commodity.” Every time I see one I think, “Yeah, right.” Millsaps might actually be one of the best places in this state to get a true introduction to academic inquiry as something beyond a simple commodity, but that doesn’t come cheap. It also has one of the highest tuitions in the state. Everything is a commodity, even idealism.

But the point is, as this video asserts, education is not at its best when it operates on an industrial, assembly line model. Our attempts at standardizing what people ought to know often do end up diminishing what they do know or what they are capable of doing with what they know.

I love the example of divergent thinking here. I have told people before that I have never met a four-year-old who wasn’t a creative genius. Everyone is born with a kind of individual genius that is taught out of most of us in school.

Teaching divergent thinking and creative genius out of people works out okay, we might argue, in an industrialized, cookie cutter economy.

I wonder if we’ll ever have one of those again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *