Thursday, January 21, 2010


I used to blog for my old company, but they took the blog down. I am
not actually allowed to own the writings I put up on that blog, but as
I reference them on occasion in my writing I am putting those articles
up in my archives here for reference sake. I'll put the tag GS on those
articles noting that they were originally published on the

perfect example of why education can’t be sitting and accepting education

A lot of people from outside the education world, and quite a few within, wonder why education has gone downhill in this country. They look at stories like this and think they know why U.S. students rank so low on international comparisons. It isn’t unusual for a person to reminisce back on his or her school days and think, if I didn’t remember something I got my behind paddled. That’s all they need to do today to get kids in line. Of course if you ever read Tom Sawyer you would know that that sort of corporal punishment didn’t really work too well even back then.

Faced with this logic, or sometimes not, many observers will wonder how it can be so difficult to sit students down, keep them quiet, and drill them with knowledge until it comes out their ears. This new fangled math isn’t necessary, we learned math just fine memorizing the times tables thank you very much. All this talk about student centered classrooms is just hogwash, students should be quiet and listen to the teacher. I wonder how many of these same people can sit through an hour long meeting without fidgeting? How many can do it 6 times in a row with only a 2 minute break in between?

Being told to sit and listen is not only difficult, but it could be down right deadly.

This brings us to the inspiration for this post, Peter Shankman, skydiver, PR man, and admitted ADD sufferer (if sufferer is the right wording). Every business day, three times a day, Peter collects requests from dozens to hundreds of sources, organizes them, writes a little blub about what he is doing at the moment, and sends it out. Usually, he is running or biking, or sky diving, or flying somewhere, or trying to convince someone to buy him lunch.

Sounds like a pretty good life eh. Fly around to speaking engagements, spend a lot of time doing your favorite hobby, and send out a few emails everyday. You would almost think he wasn’t actually doing any work. You would be wrong. If you read Peter’s blog post you can see that he is actually working more hours than most people. It’s just that he doesn’t actually work in an office very often.

I wonder how Peter did in school? Did he spend most of his school career in trouble because he couldn’t sit still? Was he drugged with Ritalin? (I’m not saying it is wrong to treat a serious disorder like ADD with prescription medication). Did he have that one teacher who understood and made everything else tolerable? Did he leave school the very first second he could? Obviously, he was educated, but how? I can’t see a person like that sitting still waiting for education to come to him six hours a day, five days a week, 180 days a year.

To all those who think that education is going downhill fast I’m sorry but education hasn’t gotten worse. It’s gotten better. Instead of teaching to the “average” student and letting unconventional children like Tom Sawyer or Peter Shankman, slip through the cracks teachers today find a way to reach and educate these all children. At least they do their best.

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