In days of B.C. (before children) The Man would jokingly say that each child birthed would receive a pick axe and a shovel as their welcome into this world. To this day when they begin the incessant questions about birthday gifts this is his go to response. It drives the kids crazy. I just laugh.
There are tools my children really need. Some of these tools I’m just now learning to wield.
When we hurled ourselves into the whole ‘spearhead your child’s education’ thing I felt lost. I researched the bazillion books and conventions, blogs and websites that offer insight. Frustration ran deep as the more insight I researched the more questions I had.
Answers started coming with my first read by John Taylor Gatto. I felt misgivings about the education I’d received. I partook of a ‘Top Notch’ education including private schools, an Advanced Diploma from a top rated high school and several years in a prestigious private college. But, I still felt the education I’d received left much to be desired. To me it seemed I received pieces of paper (diplomas) almost just for showing up. Gatto put all my thoughts and concerns in black and white and stamped them as valid.
While Gatto called out today’s educational system and exposed its rotting foundation, I found in Oliver De Mille’s writings hope and a game plan I could implement in my children’s education.
He describes three major types of schooling:
To be truthful the United States education system is filling two types well. The Man and I have been trained by the school system in Conveyor Belt and Professional. We have been told how to think, what to think and when.
Don’t believe me then get a hold of this video on textbook writers:
You can watch a bit of the video here (segment 2):
(check out Youtube to view other segments)
Education woes in the U.S. are due in part to it’s missing group, the one education model that has been sorely neglected, Leadership Education. (The neglect has been purposeful but that’s a post for another day, or start the research on your own with Gatto’s book The Underground History of American Education or start reading at his website).
Leadership education in America is nearly extinct. This model of learning’s primary purpose is teaching how to think. It prepares one to lead. Lead in their homes, towns, businesses. Become Entrepreneurs, Problem Solvers, people who instinctively know the right thing to do and have the ability to follow it through to completion, doing it well.
At the heart of Leadership Education is Freedom:
…leadership preparation, which has three primary goals. First, its purpose is to train thinkers, leaders, entrepreneurs and statesmen–individuals with the character, competence and capacity to do the right thing and do it well in business, government, church, school, family, entertainment, research and other organizations.The second goal is to perpetuate freedom, to prepare people who know what freedom is, what is required to maintain it, and who exert the will to do what is required. These two goals are accomplished by the third: teaching students how to think. Those who know how to think are able to lead effectively and are able to help society remain free and prosperous. Those who know only what to think or when, no matter how valuable their contributions to society, are not capable of maintaining freedom or leading us to real progress without additional leadership skills.~A Thomas Jefferson Education By Oliver De Mille
It is Leadership Education that creates great businessmen, statesmen in government and it built this Republic we call home. This is how Thomas Jefferson and our founding fathers were educated. This is the education I want for my children.
Having an education background in the models of Conveyor Belt and Professional I find training Leaders a sort of dual enrollment. I learn right alongside my students. I cannot instruct my children in the ways to drive a stake through the vampire of the American Dream if they do not know how to think for themselves.
Understanding education, the different models, and how they groom people to specific purposes is the first step in educating my children to live a Radical life. It is a tool I give them and side by side we are learning to wield it.