Ford’s Rants: THE FEWTURE
Today – The Fewture of the American Public High School
It is important that you think about the fewture – ‘cuz you are it. And besides – it’s fun. The fewture of the American public high school is quite interesting. So much energy – and money – has gone into improving the high school and making it more effective – making it better than in Singapore. And it hasn’t worked. Some wiseguy said recently said that the only real change in the high school over the last 50 years is that the blackboards are now white……..
But that is about to change. The High School of the fewture will be quite different. It will have only three things – a registrar’s office (Yeah, Stacy!), teachers’ offices, and conference rooms. No classrooms, no cafeteria, no Dean’s Office, no guidance office and no athletic facilities. WHAT?????? Well maybe it will still have an atrium – and an atrium guy to direct people to where they have to go.
You see, all the learning will be taking place outside the school – in the community facilities like offices, farms, daycare centers and the like. All of the “classroom” activities we associate with high school – the ‘credits” – will have already taken place beforehand – in some reconfigured “middle school.” The high-school-of-the-fewture’s only function will be to evaluate and record the results of the widely dispersed activities that its students are undertaking – for the next step in the education process – maybe college or something like it.
It is clear that preparing for the fewture is no longer tied up in what we think of curriculum as we know it. The wide variety of skills required to function in the varied and unpredictable fewture can only be acquired in real-life situations and in the places that are developing our fewture. If you want to work at Google there is only one effective place to learn how – and that is at Google.
And more important – you will not working at Google or any other company or corporation – you will be working for yourself. There will be no “jobs” as we know them: they will all be gone – offshore. You will all be what we now call ‘entrepreneurs” – pursuing your own interests and passions and hustling about to try to make money doing them. So the content you need to get from high school really needs to be the development of the skills you will need to be successful or even to survive. Oh, and did I mention that your hustling will be taking you all over the world, both physically and in cyberspace?
So get ready and get to work on building what you need for this different fewture. At least try to find out what the fewture will be. Read what folks are thinking about it. Then you think about it and where you want to be in it. It’s better to take it seriously and find out what it will be like rather than stumbling into it blindly – and ending up working at MacDonalds or Foodstop (oops! That’s gone with video, replaced by Irving’s Circle K) and living at the Shelter.
But do not be depressed and worried about this fewture; it is clear that the forces of individual choice and options are growing amazingly. Individuals can now publish their own books, distribute their own music and sell their own stuff. It is clear that as an individual the horizons are limitless for you now – and in the fewture.
By the way – don’t let the fewture be only for the few – as it looks like it is becoming now. Make it for yourself certainly, but please also work to make the dream of a positive future that has propelled this country something that is positive for all, not for just the few.
About the lack of athletics: if you take the job of the high school seriously and realistically – as they do in South Korea and Finland – high school athletics is an expensive distraction. Read this month’s Atlantic Monthly. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/10/the-case-against-high-school-sports/309447/
And there is an acidic article about homework, too, in there that you will like, too. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/10/my-daughters-homework-is-killing-me/309514/
Be aware – and care