I never liked school and I was never great at it. Even though I graduated with a bachelors in business, my grades were subpar at best, because I wasn’t a great test taker, was worse at taking notes, and placed more emphasis on making friends, socializing, and establishing relationships than I did on studying.

To this day I have a reoccurring nightmare that I still have a math final to take in order to graduate, and I’m failing it. I’ve woken up in a cold sweat to that dream more times than I care to admit.

This afternoon I watched the movie “Your Place or Mine” where Reese Witherspoon is going back to school, and that same anxiety of note taking and test taking popped up for me while watching it. The movie reminded me how worthless our current educational system is.

I’ve been decently successful over the past decade, and I can’t attribute any of that to formal education. I’ve learned more through my own curiosity and consistent reading, watching, listening, socializing, and learning from others then I ever did in a classroom.

I know for a fact I’m not alone in this. The majority of my successful friends who I’ve spoken with about education feel similarly. The American educational system is a relic of the industrial revolution and does more harm than good. It stifles creativity and teaches young minds what to think instead of how to think.

School, tests, and “traditional” education are a terrible preparation for the real world. Never once I have I used the calculus I was forced to take and got a D in. Memorizing random historical dates hasn’t made me a cent in almost 20 years in the business world. What would have been helpful was learning how to navigate relationships, self awareness, empathy, social dynamics, budgeting, and taxes.

It’s time to throw out the current system and replace it. I’m sure many teachers and other (broke) academic elitists will disagree with me, and that’s ok. Anytime someone’s livelihood is threatened they’ll typically double down. However, true intellectual integrity should warrant looking at it objectively and be willing to overhaul a system for the greater good.

Discuss.

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