The latest TIME magazine features an interview with Ken Robinson, who sees a need for major changes in education.
You’re famous for your TED talk on how schools kill creativity. Your book Finding Your Element is more self-help. Did you scale down your ambition?
No. At TED they think that talk has been seen by maybe 300 million people because it gets shown at events. It’s not “Gangnam Style,” I grant you. It was an attempt to say that there are features of mass education which militate against individuality and creativity. At the heart of my argument is a different conception of talent, ability and what drives people. That’s what this book’s about. …
… Don’t people go to school to discover their element?
Part of the transformation we need in education is to think differently about talent. The figures in the U.S. are very worrying. It has one of the highest nongraduation rates in the developed world despite spending more money on education than many.
So how do we fix that?
We individualize it. Education is being driven more and more by testing. We pay a high price for this in terms of kids’ interest. I can’t imagine there’s a student in America who gets up in the morning hoping he can improve the state’s test scores.
Are you suggesting that kids shouldn’t go to college?
No, but it’s important to question this assumption that if you don’t go to college, your life is over.
It seems Robinson might support the notion that college has been oversold. He almost certainly would endorse the idea that a one-size-fits-all government-monopoly education establishment isn’t the solution to the nation’s education ills. That’s why education reform makes sense.