Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Howard Gardner Told Me I Have a Gift (We All Do - What is Yours?)

Gardner termed them multiple intelligences, but I prefer the term ability, talent or gift. And whether it came from God or evolution is really irrelevant, but the point is we all have valuable contributions to make as human beings in this world.

In 2006, my daughter entered high school, and I really began to give deep thought to what her post-secondary future would look like. What I discovered alarmed me. I have always encouraged my child to be open-minded, and tried to teach her to think critically, but it appeared that the soft rhetoric of “you must go to college” pushed gently on my generation had erupted into a hard-line, no-other-option available, edict from every adult in the school system. Not just in high school, but from the very first days of kindergarten, all students are being told that they should plan for college. Period. Well, I believe that is fundamentally wrong.

There are actually school personnel, parents, and experts who also disagree with this college-for-all model. But they are often intimidated by their peers, or even worse, directed by their supervisors, to remain silent when they encounter a student who might succeed on another path. I have slowly found a few who are willing to admit it, especially among parents who see their own children's talents, and let love triumph over “teacher knows best” and a one-track system driven by a false edict that true success and happiness is only achievable with a four-year (or more) degree.

Another proponent I admire is the well-known author Charles Murray. In his 2008 book, Real Education, he posits that if we truly encourage students in developing their natural talents, along with some fundamental changes in degree components and other training/certifications, we might actually create a system that is just, fair, and creates an educated populace that adequately serves societal needs.

Why does our society now seem to accept that “everyone should go to college”? When you really stop and ask yourself this question, what do you believe? Could it be that Big Education is reaping financial benefits the likes of which no industry has ever experienced?

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