Monday, August 22, 2011

Just came across this book:

Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools

In a reporting tour de force, award-winning journalist Steven Brill takes an uncompromising look at the adults who are fighting over America’s failure to educate its children and points the way to reversing that failure...  -Publisher's Summary

Disappointing... no, wait. It's more than that. It's actually upsetting. 

I'm not knocking what the author has done. We need initiatives like these to help move that movement forward. What I'm upset with is that year after year, week after week, it seems that the public is mostly bent on helping only children have a better education. Granted, this is a real issue. Children don't really get a choice in life.

But there is a big failure that everybody ignores. That failure manifests itself in the children already grown. The young adults of our country who grew up being told that everything would be okay. They would graduate and get a job and have a happy life. Maybe get married and have kids. Become a millionaire and get the chance to travel extensively. 

*Sirens going off*

What's that?! Oh wait, it's the bullshit alarm. Let me turn that off for you. Sorry about that.

Here's the reality:

The truth is hard to swallow. The reason nobody is setting out to 'rescue' the young adult, college kid crowd is pretty obvious. It's hard.  A lot harder than helping kids in elementary school. Children have to go to school. 

Try convincing a college kid to try something new, work hard, be creative, accept criticism and blame, and be generous. Schools are going to continue teaching us the same old things because its easier than trying to get us to actually give a shit, confront inevitable failure, and make a difference.

Here's even more reality:

It's not actually their job to get us to do those things. It's ours. We have to make the choice to care about our art, our work. We have to choose to make a difference and find our own purposes.

The troubling part is nobody wants to help us. The encouraging part is it will make us stronger. Would you have it any other way?

This could have been a book about that. It could have been a book about what to do when you graduate and there are no jobs. It could have been a heartfelt book about creating your own career, starting an initiative, and making your art, while overcoming resistance.

Instead: read The War of Art

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