One third of American adolescents are on medication – half of that number, on psychoactive prescriptions. We have an educational system that not only can’t prepare young people for the rapidly evolving future world we’re creating for them to inhabit – it traumatizes people by attempting to squeeze every kind of human through the same twelve-plus-year sentence of indoctrination and obedience training. Are damaged and addicted mind control slaves really who we hope we’re shaping? Obviously not! That’s where the radical (yet common sense and plainly reasonable) ideas of Michael Strong come in. Michael has devoted his life to establishing new education systems that prepare young people for a lifelong learning process, to think for themselves and find their self-esteem in cultivated excellence, not rote memorization or decontextualized performance. Civilization might mean domesticated people…but do want to live in the Calcutta Zoo?
In this week’s episode, I speak with Michael Strong – about how he sees the future evolution of education and learning – starting with a “narrative collapse” about our consensus standardized testing hallucination and a departure from the “factory-worker factory” model that dominates the US public education system now – and growing into an ecology of different styles and possibilities more suited to the future: early-entry programs that restore apprenticeship, train young entrepreneurs, link “un-schooled” families into a learning network, and rebuild the independent and creative minds we’ll need to thrive through the next hundred years of exponential change.
About Michael Strong:
“I think creating better ways of living is the most exciting, fun task for the 21st Century…[and] middle and high school is more or less prison for 80% of students.”
• How to create happy, positive, creative experiences for young people by reimagining the education system
• How do we unwind a system that pressures everyone to conform, and establish a system that encourages the vast (and USEFUL) diversity of human personality types, talents, and learning styles?
“School is a very narrow band for people who are good at tasks…that doesn’t do justice to the diverse count of moral beings, but also there’s this moral chaos, where I think a lot of the consumerism and addictive behaviors of young people is that there is no sense of virtue or excellence.”
• Why mental health and behavioral disorders are at an all-time high, and getting worse, and what to do about it.
• The tragicomedy of Socratic process versus fundamentalists in the schools, and taking a pragmatic stance to the chaos and complexity of our time.
• Crafting your own sense of meaning and independent moral authority in stark contrast to our legacy of hierarchical thinking.
• How to individuate in an era of increased networking – how to tell the difference between pressure to conform and desire to connect?
• Technology addiction versus relational meditation and deep nature communion.
“One of the things I love about the San Francisco Bay Area is that no matter how weird you are, somebody is weirder.”
• Individualism versus political correctness.
• The dissolution of established job categories and the beginning of totally unique, distinct purpose and meaning for individuals.
• The proliferation of new aesthetics and the emergence of new freedom and openness in the human experience.
• How grateful should we be for living in the modern era?
• How do we prepare young people to think independently?
• What integrated educational curricula look like, exploring ideas across subjects rather than demanding the learning of specific facts.
• How to measure success for students in nontraditional systems so they can still win at the university admissions game.
• And more…
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