As a continuation on the discussion about the link between quality and education for the ASQ Influential Voices, the following is perhaps one of the most influential TED Talks I have ever encountered. Seth Godin, whose impact on my life and career is well documented, asks the very important question in his eBook Stop Stealing Dreams and in this TED talk: “What is school for?”:
Seth further reinforces what school is currently designed to do versus what education really should be.
Is school really supposed to be about compliance – normal, fit in, follow instructions, textbooks, punitive vs. passion, heavy structure, standardized tests – or should it be about genuine education and curiosity?
The current structure of school really creates complicit employees with the curiosity removed instead of individuals trying to do things that are interesting.
How does that create genuine partnerships between workers and companies where both are trying to realize the best quality results possible? It doesn’t. Students become employees who simply do as they are told, or suffer the repercussions of being replaced by another cog that will.
It’s the curious ones, the imaginative ones, the dreamers, the ones who build interesting things or follow interesting paths that ask “why not?” or “how can we do better?” that find new ways to create better quality.
College used to be about developing the scholars of tomorrow. Now, in many cases, it’s a continuation of the standardization of grade school. In many cases we are taught that we cannot get good jobs without the proper education from college, or that we have to continue to follow the rules and fit in or else we will be ostracized from the job hunt circuit before graduating (and even after graduating)…yet here we are with markets flooded with MBA grads who struggle to find jobs and engineering grads who see many engineering jobs being filled overseas.
College used to be about scholarly pursuits, growing and being different, learning about one’s self beyond the standardized tests of high school. Now college is all about the post-graduation job, we have technical colleges popping up everywhere, for-profit schools all over the place where students are taught to “do it this way” and not to “think about different ways to accomplish an end result”.
Young professionals and graduates have been sold the idea that education guarantees success and happiness, and that is clearly far off from the truth.
Every person is different – so why is every person treated in the same way by a standardized school? Quality is different for every customer and every output – why are we training our students and graduates and employees to treat them the same?
I’m part of the ASQ Influential Voices program. While I receive an honorarium from ASQ for my commitment, the thoughts and opinions expressed on my blog are my own.