Chomsky is a genius; one of my true heroes. I don’t agree with all of his ideas; I have found only one mentor that I’ve found myself nearly completely agreeing with so far; that’s the father of Embodied Cognition (after a search for several decades for a worthy hypothesis that fits my way of thinking); George Lakoff
In linguistics, he was head-to-head against Chomsky back in the 50s/60s; Chomsky’s ideas won out in the popularity contest and Lakoff only started gaining traction in the late 1970s and has been gaining influence.
Chomsky’s ideas use a computational theory of mind; Lakoff, an embodied cognition model (that we are more than just our brain, but has room for some of Chomsky’s ideas to be potentially included within)
But one thing they have in common is this basic premise: Education is being done wrong, to put it bluntly. Chomsky’s ideas on education are amazing and fantastic and I find myself nodding my head anytime he speaks about it.
I’m sure at some point he influenced much of my thinking on Education.
I also was strongly influenced by John Holt, who came up with Unschooling, and Summerhill; an experimental school in England that extends back about 100 years now. The Sudbury schools in the USA are somewhat similar, although they each have their own take on things.
The current system: The biggest problem with it is exactly as you said: Good grades have little to do with “What’s fundamentally right or wrong” but “agreeing with the teacher”.
That’s always true and hasn’t changed. “Teaching to the test” has removed some of that bias; but in favor of a skeletal learning that provides some of the bones of education with none of the ‘meat’.
It’s no wonder being in school feels like being a walking zombie much of the time.
We accept that “this is the way it is” because it’s what we learned; and alternatives are almost nowhere to be found. I was lucky; I stumbled across “How Children Learn” and “How Children Fail” by John Holt in my library when I was about 14 years old; same time that i read “Enders Game” sitting in the library stacks until closing one day after school. [that was my “hunger games”]
It gave answers; that what I see around me isn’t the only way there is; and that what I was feeling is normal, yet not necessarily necessary.
But I’ve always been strange like that: When I was 12, I got a job being the custodian at my local church. I had the keys to everything – it was awesome. I found a book from ‘ancient times’ to to me – from the mid 1950s – about “From 9-16″ – big thick book describing “What’s Normal” for parents to see in their kids, from a 1950s perspective. I got to see “into my future”; and I just mentally changed where it says, “And she sits there, listening to Jazz records and doesn’t listen to you” to “I sit there listening to [whatever music I was into at the time] and not listening to you.”
I was also influenced by Eric Ericson, who was the only psychologist I ever saw (tripped over him when I was 18 – NOT someone I learned in school) – who broke down Stages of Life – not just from 0-5, or 5-17 – but from 0 through death.
So when I was 30 and feeling the need to get a mortgage and house, I knew I was in “nesting stage” – even though I had read the book 12 years earlier; I knew I was perfectly normal and fitting into a pattern. It also gave me the power to not follow the pattern, which I’ve also done.
If you’re able to pursue college, and have the fortitude to get through it, go for it. But also; if you drop out, and yet you have skills (for me, it was computers and programming) that are marketable, getting a decent job and an income is possible; there’s ways around not having a college diploma and getting an income doing what you like.
The Burger King Myth is instilled is us from the time we’re young; but if you study income levels; the GREATEST income boost is between “didn’t finish high school” and “finished high school.”
You don’t get an extreme income boost until you reach “Masters Degree”; and that’s a little tricky too; because an MBA (Masters of business) is a different beast than academic master’s degree – MUCH easier to get (it’s designed for business ppl to get a diploma rather easily within a few years) – so that skews the results.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t finish; there are a lot of reasons to get a degree. Income doesn’t have to be one of them; The world of Business is a strange thing; they want to hire people who can make them money.
The degree is used by as a way to “filter out” having to do too many resumes and interviews by their Human Resources departments.
Business is all about who you know, and impressing them somehow.
My best jobs I got through the “back door”; my skills speak for themselves. I’d get a “temp job”; they needed stuff done. So I’d get myself in that way, and then be SPECTACULAR with my skillset; going over and above what their expectations are; and then, they’d hire me at levels that should have required 7 years of school, even though I didn’t finish college.
That’s me though. I’m a case study, not a role model.