From the Op-Ed Desk of Sean’s Brain: The Final Hours of Institutional Education


Written by SeanRitchey on February 23, 2014

I’ve been thinking about that moment right before a specific market corrects from a bubble or an industry is radically restructured by new technology
Usually right before the rapid shift begins, more people than ever before are lining up to pay top dollar to get on board
Because the prevailing wisdom of the moment is that you’d be stupid not to
That you’d better get in before it’s too late and you’re left out in the cold

It’s also striking to watch industries get turned on their heads as new internet based platforms transform one industry after another
The fight that huge institutions engage in to attempt to maintain the old business model
But they can never hold on
Or keep the change at bay

You have to embrace the change
Radically reinvent your business model
Or be rendered obsolete in a staggeringly short amount of time

When I look at the education system in the US today, to me it feels like the moment right before the avalanche

My heart goes out to young people who are in school today
We live in the fastest changing social and economic landscapes in history
But our education system has been stagnant in form and approach for nearly a century

In k-12 school, we are teaching our children how to function is a world that hasn’t existed for decades
Asking them to memorize information, that they can look up in 10 seconds on their phones
Smashing their creativity and individualism out of them with a system obsessed with test results

And the people just going to into college this coming fall…
Maybe you managed to survive 12 years of public school, with [some of] your sense of self and creativity intact
And now we’re sending you to college
We are about to fail you, on a truly epic level
Unable to deliver on the empty promises
That you’ll be prepared to thrive in tomorrow’s economy
Find your passion
Develop a specialty
And above all, that at the end of the process, you will get a job

As tens of thousands who have gone to college in the last ten years will attest, the results are not matching the promises
We have a whole generation of people who are crushed by student loan debt
From participating in an overpriced system that is providing staggeringly misguided preparation for successful participation in today’s world

Creativity is the most important currency of our time
The future of eduction is not going to be built on four year degrees from brick and mortar institutions
Today, what matters is what you know, what you can do, and how you contribute
Pieces of paper hold little importance in a world that places the highest value on demonstrated application of skills and knowledge

The only saving grace in this moment
Is that we live in the fastest changing, most innovative moment in human history
I believe that more change will take place in these next 30 years than the last three centuries
The internet is still just a toddler
What we call “social media” is in its infancy, and has just begun its disruptive and radical reworking of everything
The global climate is changing faster than anyone though possible
And the accumulative decisions and indecisions of the last three generations has pushed the world economy to a breaking point
The motif of our time, both for business and humanity, is evolve or perish

The education industry is one of the largest industries in today’s economy that has yet to be substantially disrupted by the internet and web based social collaboration
But change is coming
Even by the time people entering college this coming fall are graduating
The educational landscape will probably be a different place

Creativity and change are the themes of our time
And the speed at which things are evolving is staggering
We are going to change the way we do everything
Both through necessity and for the betterment of everyone


Leave a comment

  • Jan Curtiss Taylor

    Hey there….. Passionate words from the new generation. Every three months a new team of players gets the latest technology and takes over the lead flight pattern to the future. I have a degree in grandmothering and it works pretty well because its the bases of both biological tradition and principles of civilizing life in my family. It works because we all bonded. It works because there is something happening and my grandchildren are teaching me new modalities and new ways, within ancient traditions. The codes of conduct are universal in philosophy, religion, and the arts. The truth is always the truth. We all die eventually. Your book is beginning to take form. Let this be the introduction. You can print it on the web site. Grandmother J.