If education’s role is to allow each person to become the best version of themselves possible, then surely all will not follow the same educational path. There are those in today’s world who contribute in all ways, at a variety of levels, and there is no common path that any has taken. Successful people have spent years earning college degrees and successful people haven’t stepped foot in a college classroom. Clearly a college degree is not essential.
Thomas Jefferson argued that we should have an approach to education that allows each person to find their right place and that for different people and different professions the time of schooling and length of it will vary.
As we consider how today’s traditional schools need to be reformed, let’s take this under consideration. Let’s do away with the bland idea that the same amount of education should be completed by everyone. There are successful people in the world who would tell you that they were largely self-educated, or that what they learned that was truly important and helpful was not learned in a classroom.
We need to come to an understanding that “it’s okay” if it’s not the same for all. Equality in education can’t be equated with spending the same amount of time in school. Some people are in school who really don’t need to be. They are learning more harmful things that good: learning to dislike learning, learning to not know who they are, learning that because they don’t feel right in school there’s something wrong with them, and so on. Surely these people would be better off learning how to sustain their life in a meaningful and responsible way now.
As we change the conversation, let’s keep this idea in mind. One size does not fit all in a world of unique and lovely human individuals.