Let’s face it: the modern western education system is hopelessly out of date. This system was initiated by governments that required workers who could apply basic scientific methodology to their tasks in the 1800s (at the start of the industrial revolution). Since that time, the method of brain-washing our citizens have remained relatively constant, while at the same time upping the ante by requiring “more, faster and better” from their students. The technological progression over the previous 200 years (!) has led to some amazing breakthroughs in just about every area of civilization – with the exception of educating those that would inherit our planet, society and way of interpreting life.
I say that education is a form of brain-washing because that is precisely what it is: a way of indoctrinating the individual into a sociological tunnel that serves the progression of the state, tribe or family (depending on where you come from). It is the way that and reason why nations arise, amassing groups of families with a similar knowledge of how the universe is with the intent on dominating that most marginal of portions of it – the earth (to this day the limits of our ability). As a nation rises in power, those that fly under its banner are required to not only conform to its ideology and methods of gathering intelligence on the world around them, but to disseminate that knowledge to the rest of the nation in order to secure its position in the greater scheme of things. This happens with every civilization, be it the first hominids searching for a secure cave to the modern construction of cities to house a population.
In western society, education arose as a form of manipulating the population into a position where the individual could assume a place in society that required them to pose as a form of authority figure for the production of some of the more complex machinery in use by the rest of the people: the knowledge required to produce a functional cart, a crossbow or a windmill was (at the time) comparatively less than that required to engineer a steam engine, hydro-electric dam or the first chemical experiments that soil fertilizers needed. At the time of its implementation this might have been a fine idea, but that time is now drawing to a close.
Education has moved from the arena of teaching what is required to perform specific duties into a realm where the individual is required to take charge of their own learning – and rightly so, as self-determination in society is becoming more and more acceptable. Unfortunately, the system of education utilized by its citizenry is still stuck in the middle-ages, requiring subject matter to be absorbed that is – if not redundant altogether – at the least far outside the borders of an individual’s set goals. Employment opportunities in western countries are becoming more and more specialized, in turn requiring more specialized education methods and as of today those needs are being ignored by all but a few education systems. If self-determination be the cornerstone to a happy, productive & successful citizen, then let the individual determine what is relevant to them in order to achieve their goals.
When teachers say that students are slipping through the cracks, they imply that the student is failing their society, not being able to absorb the curriculum put in place in order that they become a well-conditioned citizen who can fill a role in society. However, I think that when most teachers say this, it is more of an indictment against the education system itself, imposing unrealistic standards on its students in order that they be considered ‘successful’ applications of a system that is in dire need of restructuring for the purpose of skilling the future workers of that society; so that they may fill a number of roles within the workforce rather than acquiring the specialized knowledge needed to perform one specific task.