I saw a headline the other day that talked about bad grades.  I did not think about it much at the time, but later I started thinking about it. What is the big deal about bad grades? Why was I always under the impression that if I got good grade, I’d be a better person?

I don’t know if you have ever had a bad grade, and there are obviously differing opinions about what defines a bad grade.  For some people a C is okay, for others a C is a bad grade. But overall society considers A’s better then C’s. Thus, an A student gets all the praise and attention.

What I began to wonder though was if maybe a bad grade doesn’t actually reflect on the child.  Rather then reflecting on the student’s intelligence, a bad grade is a mark against the system. Maybe the system is failing them? A bad grade could be taken as awarning. Not a warning to spend more on student tutoring, but rather a warning that this child might need a totally different kind of education. Something more real, more relevant.

All right, I understand there are exceptions here, some kids just don’t wanna do the work. They seem inherently lazy or rebellious. However, maybe it’s still the system that’s at fault.  Have you ever thought about that?

You know, kids get labeled by their grades.  Parents, teachers, the media, and society make a big deal about good grades.  Those students that get bad grades are often looked down on.  Really, some people look at them as losers. (BTW: Keep an eye out for a list of big losers coming up!)

But what I want you to consider is that maybe the system is wrong.  What makes the system right anyway? Where did it come from?  What has made our society think that our education system is so perfect.  Oh, I know lots of people complain about the education system, but that complaining still hasn’t changed the fundamental approach to education has it?

Even kids that are labeled as having learning disabilities–do they really have learning disabilities?  Maybe they just learn a different way!  Maybe they have a different purpose in life than sitting in school hour upon hour and year after year until they are dead inside. They get frustrated and bored sitting there doing nothing meaningful or real. Maybe they could achieve their full potential by not being in school?

You know, sometimes school seems like a prison.  It’s a place to dump kids off.  To get them out of the way for 12 years.  To keep them from interfering in real life.  Adults, just want them out of the way, just push them off to the side. Humm, George Bernard Shaw had similar thoughts. Who is he? One of those big losers. He didn’t like school so he became an playwright and co-founded the London School of Economics instead. Oh, he also received both a Nobel Prize for Literature and an Oscar. Not bad for giving up on school at about 16. Does that mean he quite learning? No, absolutely not. He taught himself in the way need needed to learn and made something of his life as a result.

Listen up now, have you considered that the school years are really the years that people have the most energy and possibly the most creativity.  But the school system dumps you down locks you in a box requiring you to learn a certain way. If you do not learn their way what happens? You get bad grades! How does that sound for a civilized accomplishment.  Wonderful accomplishment for our civilized age, we have managed to kill some of the greatest potential available to help our world.  How, by locking it away in school for 12 years.

Just in case you’re starting to think I’m way off let’s look at a little history.  I know it’s almost worthless looking at history because you never learn form the past. You just make the same mistakes again. Well at lest most people do. But lets try anyway. For starters did you realize that high school or secondary education didn’t always exist.  Shocking! In fact it wasn’t until the end of the 18th century that secondary education became something of a focus in society.  So, what did people do before secondary school?  They joined society as productive members performing work that benefited society and the world.  They applied their creativity their ingenuity and made the world a better place.

Okay, I can hear you saying that all the great progress we have made in the last 200 or so years is a result of all the extra education. Really? Interesting, have you considered all the progress America made in it’s early days? There were more inventions and patents generated in Americas early years then now. This was a time when creativity and ingenuity was fostered. Young people were leading the way instead of sitting in school. The country grew rapidly and prospered.

Okay, but what about now you say. With all the technology if kids don’t go to school and get the education they need in our technologically advanced world they will fail. How can you succeed in school when the technical information you learned in the first two years is outdated two years later when you graduate?

Let me just say this there’s a growing number of people that believe that the kids that quit and drop out of school are really the smart ones.  They get fed up with being fed useless unnecessary and unhelpful garbage.  Unfortunately these kids have not been shown how to become really successful.  So some of them do not become very successful in life. Some people use this to show what happens if you give up on school. But, have you considered the kids that drop out and do become successful?

Some kids to come with the built in ability to succeed no matter what. Others need a little help or they hung out in the system to long and lost their drive, their creativity and desire to fight the system. Thus they gave up hope.

I mentioned earlier their would be a long list of drop outs or a list of big losers! As you read this you better keep in mind this is only a tiny fraction of the total number. There are thousands of other people from all walks of life that have succeed with out a complete and “proper” education. As you can see they didn’t quite learning they just took their education into their own hands.

Consider the following educational dropouts:

  • Sir Richard Branson – Virgin Group – over 360 companies – Virgin Records, Virgin Megastores – Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • Bill Gates – Left Harvard at 20 – You know Microsoft right?
  • John Mackey – Sometimes called the Bill Gates of organic food – Chairman and CEO of Whole Foods Market a $3.8 billion Fortune 500 company
  • Ron Popeil – The Father of infomercials
  • Sir Alan Michael Sugar – His companies are Amstrad and Amsair – The star of BBC’s The Apprentice- Has more money then most Phd’s
  • Thomas Edison – Only a few months of formal school – Mom taught him to read, write and do arithmetic – Lights anyone?
  • George Washington – President – General – Done with school by 16 – Won a war
  • James H. Clark – Silicon Graphics, Inc., Netscape, myCFO and Healtheon – Maybe just a bit better off then MD’s
  • Jack Kent Cooke – Canadian entrepreneur – former owner of Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings
  • Simon Cowell – Executive, television producer and entrepreneur – dropped out at 16 – earned $75 million in 2009 – Heard of American Idol?
  • Henry Ford – Ford Cars anyone?
  • Soichiro Honda – Can you guess?
  • Ray Kroc – McDonald’s – You may have helped make him rich
  • Marcus Loew – MGM entertainment
  • David H. Murdock – Dole Food Company – you probably ate some of his food
  • John D. Rockefeller – Oil magnete – Standard Oil company
  • Vidal Sassoon – Hairdresser – you may have used his products
  • Dave Thomas – Wendy’s owner – Frosty’s are nice
  • Lucille Ball – Actress, model, executive – I Love Lucy
  • Drew Barrymore – Actress, film producer and film director
  • Pierce Brosnan Actor – 007, firm producer and environmentalist – left school at 16
  • Jim Carrey – Actor and comedian
  • Tom Cruise – Actor and producer
  • Robert DeNiro – Actor, director and producer
  • Sean Connery – Actor and producer – he is also a Knight
  • Nicole Kidman – Actress, fashion model, singer and humanitarian
  • John Travolta – Actor, Dancer and Singer
  • Kate Winslet – Actress and occasional singer – Youngest person to accrue six Academy Award nominations
  • Vincent van Gogh – Painter – maybe you learned about him in school
  • Jackie Collins – Novelist and Actress
  • William Faulkner Nobel Price – Novelist and short story writer
  • Gwendolyn MacEwen – Canadian Novelist and poet
  • Herman Melville – Writer, essayist, poet – Maybe you have heard of Moby-Dick
  • Anaïs Nin – French Author
  • Banjo Paterson – Australian bush poet, journalist and author
  • William Shakespeare – English playwright and poet – Romeo and Juliet
  • Jerry Lewis – American comedian, actor, film producer, writer, film director and singer
  • Will Rogers – American cowboy, comedian, humorist, social commentator, and actor – Has an airport named after him
  • Luc Besson – French film director and producer
  • Peter Jackson – Directed the Lord of The Rings
  • Bryan Adams – Canadian rock singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer and photographer.
  • Christina Aguilera – pop singer and songwriter
  • Céline Dion – Canadian singer, songwriter, actress and entrepreneur
  • Elton John – English singer-songwriter, composer and pianist
  • Peter Jennings – A poor student which he claimed was due to pure boredom – you may have listen to one of his newscasts
  • Ronald Reagan – Actor and United States President
  • Margaret Brown – American socialite, philanthropist and activist
  • James Buchanan Eads – American civil engineer and inventor with more then 50 patents – how did he do that without all the school?
  • Albert Einstein – Theoretical physicist, author and philosopher – Swiss Nobel laureate – no way, a school drop out? Yep! E=mc2
  • Garrett A. Morgan – Inventor
  • Wright brothers – Built first succesful airplane – how did they do that without modern schools?
  • Dale Earnhardt – American race car driver
  • Joe DiMaggio – Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Wolfgang Puck – Austrian-American celebrity chef, restaurateur and businessman
  • Paul Revere – Amercian silversmith, patriot during American Revolution
  • Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) – Hip Hop mogul from one of Brooklyn’s roughest housing projects
  • Carl Lindner – United Dairy Farmers company worth over $1.7 billion – did he milk the system?
  • George Forman – Gold medal 1968 Olympics – now he promotes different products – you know the grill right?
  • Gisele Bundchen – Model, earned $25 million in 2009
  • George Bernard Shaw – Playwright –  He called schools prisons and turnkeys where kids are kept to prevent them from disturbing their parents
  • George Eastman – Founder of the Kodak camera company. He helped develope the industry that takes all those school pictures.
  • Ansel Adams – Photographer – cool stuff if you haven’t seen his work

Maybe being a loser isn’t so bad! You have to realize that this is just a small handful of the many great people through all the ages that have made great contributions to our planet. Again this is just a small handful of people that have lived high profile and successful lives without finishing a “proper education”. How many millions of people have led ordinary yet successful lives even though they dropped out of school.

You know they say that college graduates earn more money then non-college graduates, but is that just the reward for playing along with the system?   You have to ask, where did those statistics come from? And how do you factor in all those high school dropouts that never amount to much because the system broke them and ruined them.  If they had been allowed to learn and educate themselves like Abraham Lincoln what might their lives have been like.  Unfortunately, no one will know.

And don’t get me wrong I’m not down on all teachers, most are very sincere and want to help children. The trouble is that they too have been educated in a system.  And now they have to work with in that system.  You have to understand sometimes it’s hard do things different because you don’t know there could be something real different. Sometimes you don’t see things for what they really are because you don’t know how to see. If you can’t see anything different how do you do anything different?

So what’s the point of all this.  Will it change our educational system?  Will it make a huge difference?  Probably not.  But I had to say it, it was burning within me and I couldn’t keep it in.  I can’t stand idly by with so many people never being what they could be. You know the funny thing is, this whole thing started when I saw an article title about bad grades. I never read the article. I have not idea what is said, but it sure got me thinking.

Why don’t you hear it from a kids perspective. A kid that has published books and been paid $10,000 to speak in the corporate world among other accomplishments. Why would the corporate world pay her this much? Because some people are beginnig to realize that kids just might have real value to offer. Listen to Adora Svitak say it in her own words.

I just hope that you will think about your kids’ education.  Is it all it could be?  A lot of people are scared to let their children learn in a way that is considered different.  They’re scared their children will not be able to perform as well when compared to the children in the system.  But what made the system the great standard? Why do you need to compare your children to them? Please, give it some thought.

I want you to know I’m not against education or learning. I’m against a system that offers a one size fits all approach more or less. The only way to better ourselves is to learn and technology has really opened the doors to so much information that our ancestors never had access too. School is not the only way to learn and for most people I do not think it is the best way.

Give your child what they deserve; the freedom to achieve their total potential. The world will be a better place with that freedom.

Image Credit(s): Courtesy of Flickr amboo who?
Source(s): School Survival, Neotorama

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