Take Our Own Advice

‘Tis the season of graduations and graduation speakers. We attended the Stanford University graduation yesterday…always a heartwarming event to go back to The Farm and see a bunch of REALLY smart kids ready to go out and tackle some tough problems.

imagesHow many times this year alone do you think we heard graduation speakers advise our youth to go forth and take risks, as opposed to advising them to pursue the American Dream of performing well on their next test?

How many students come study at American universities that value risk taking, innovation, design, creativity, invention, as opposed to the number of American students who go to study at universities in China that accept the very top drill-and-kill students?

K-12 is the farm system for anything good that will come out of American education.  We KNOW the paths to success.  We KNOW we want our students to take those risks in life, so WE have to do the same. The obstacles to innovation are inertia and fear.  Let’s commit to overcoming those so our students have a model to live up to.

0 thoughts on “Take Our Own Advice

  1. Gary Piligian

    I agree completely. However, the reality is that places like Stanford and other top American universities generally do NOT take people who failed in high school, and pride themselves on admitting people who have experienced nothing but academic success. University admissions officials may dispute this, but the proof, as one says, is in the numbers – just look at the “failures” that have been admitted. So, while they claim to want risk takers, what they really want are risk takers who have done nothing but succeed, which leads prospective applicants to become more risk averse to prevent the “failures” which will deny them admission into these top universities.

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    1. glichtman

      I completely agree, Gary. There is a fundamental disconnect between words and action at most college admissions offices; this is something they are going to have to deal with in the very near future, just as we will at the K-12 level. If not, neither set of institutions will maintain their value proposition in a world that demands risk taking skills.

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  2. Angel Kytle

    Grant, you are so right! Through all of our missions of fostering lifelong learning, the way that we show how we learn will set the course for how our students will learn– goes back to the monkey see, monkey do vs. monkey say, monkey not listen! I’ve changed my email from my old school one as I move to Atlanta, so I hope to connect with you there in your future travels!

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