We really wanted to allow several voices on our blog to help challenge, encourage, and instigate conversation. Our first guest blogger is Erik Wahl. Erik is a graffiti artist and best selling author from California. We met Erik when he keynoted the NAESP conference last month. Erik was the driving force behind us starting Kids Deserve It, and when looking at guest bloggers we threw out the idea of asking Erik. Well, Erik said yes!!! And Erik actually wrote us THREE blog posts that we’ll be sharing over the next few weeks. Here’s the second one!
I have a confession to make. I am CONCERNED for our children.
It's not because of the many ugly, dangerous things we see on the news or hear about
on the radio. It's because of what I am watching happen right here, right now - at the
schools we send our children to every single day.
We should all be concerned. Those of us who have spent time in the education field
know what I'm talking about. In the name of "academic excellence," we are fighting the
wrong battles and losing the war for their future. We're setting them up to fail, because
we have failed to adapt.
I'm a parent. I speak about this issue with passion because I love my children. I want
them to succeed and grow into the best possible version of themselves that they can
become. But “the real world” has already changed - and the sand is very quickly slipping
away from us. Kids are memorizing vocabulary words and math formulas in a world
where memorization is no longer relevant. We're forcing our own children into
The rate of change in the tech world is accelerating at an exponential rate. And we think
we're keeping up with it. We do. We think that buying new iPads ... committing to STEM
programs ... Pay for Performance, No Child Left Behind, and standardized testing will
push them to be the best they can be. And yet - it does not matter how operationally
efficient you are if you execute the wrong strategy.
Academic excellence: what does that even mean any more? High test scores? Average
test scores? Mediocre test scores? Barely finishing high school? Finishing college with a
mound of old world data and suffocating debt and a degree that is already obsolete?
Really, in a world that has changed, what does it mean?
The raw speed of change has accelerated. As our academic rigor increases, its real world
relevancy decreases. Pure and simple. We’ve created an industrial factory education
system that has built brain robots, not thinkers. We're pushing our children through
with little forethought about the end game. What happens when they reach the other
side of this production line?
The word education comes from the latin root 'educere’ - to mold or to draw out - to
sculpt and grow the individual into the best possible version of themselves. Yet
ironically, right now, we are merely boxing our children in. We are standardizing -
regulating - ruining. We are systematically squelched the best, most creative and
compelling parts of who they were meant to be.
We think we are helping them, we do. We hold fundraisers to build new computer labs,
and iPads and overpriced textbooks, all the while knowing they will be outdated before
our check is even cashed. We pat ourselves on the back because we've given our kids
the best track spikes to run. And yet - the game has changed. Their spikes are tearing up
We need to find ways to not just educate our kids, but to ignite their passion for lifelong
learning. We need to teach children how to adapt, fill them with a quest to be
constantly curious and to challenge the status quo.
We have no way to predict the future. The only thing we can do - should do - is equip
our kids with skills to adapt to the uncertainty of this changing world. We need to help
them become comfortable with being uncomfortable. We need to teach them to be
curious about the world. And even more importantly, we have to teach them in such an
inspired way that Xbox, Snapchat and reality TV are not even on their radar. We need to
invite them to challenge us - and themselves. To invent. To improve. To inspire.
THIS is the test worth taking. THIS is the test we cannot afford to fail. Our Kids Deserve It.
And don’t forget to share your stories. Use the hashtag #KidsDeserveIt to share how you’re connecting, and inspiring others with creative ideas! You can also follow @KidsDeserveIt to continue connecting with us and subscribe to our Remind class with this link! You can also connect with us on Voxer! Our voxer handles are techninjatodd and awelcome