Jason Tanz writes in Wired magazine this month about techies who are hacking education. Of course, it isn't just techies. The over 2 million homeschooled kids in America include a wide variety of people who have one thing in common: they don't believe the public education system will serve their kids.
ndeed, that’s precisely why schools adopt a one-size-fits-all model. Unlike the Cooks, they don’t have the luxury of tailoring an entire lesson plan to the needs and proclivities of one or two students. They have to balance the needs of individual students against the needs of the class as a whole—including kids who come into school with different interests, skills, and abilities. That’s why so many teachers aim for the middle of the bell curve—hoping to have the maximum impact on the largest number of students, even as they risk losing the outliers on either end of the chart.Homeschoolers opt out of the system for many reasons. Ultimately, the one-size fits all solution in education doesn't work for many. Even private schools rarely do more than one-size fits all education. Yet, we know that such an educational system only serves a small slice of the population. In order to meet student needs' better is a complex problem. It isn't just about providing more individualized education (read change the way we train teachers and provide more resources), but also we have to think differently about the way we measure achievement and success. We need to not aim for excellent sheep but instead aim for excellence. Such a change requires a fundamental change in our education mindset - one I hope that is some day achieved.