Debate Magazine

The 20th Century Was About “mass.” The 21st Century is Not.

By Stevemiranda

In response to yesterday’s post, I received this comment from Johnathan: “Pretending there are no obstacles in the way, ‘draw’ me a picture of what a re-invented school would look like.”

In my experience, this is no one right way to design a school. The school where I work now, PSCS, is really, really good. It’s not for everyone, but I believe the overwhelming majority of kids in society would thrive in a program like this because it’s personalized. PSCS founder Andy Smallman describes it as helping kids become more of who they already are instead of trying to turn them into something they’re not. In this sense, it scales: everyone has the capacity for self-actualization.

If you want top-notch traditional education, the Lakeside School in Seattle is, by most accounts, excellent. It is, however, not scalable since it thrives on an exclusive admissions program and a huge endowment. A major problem with society’s fundamental beliefs about school is that, instead of seeing it through the lens of human development, we see school narrowly as being primarily about academic achievement. We create public schools in the image of Lakeside, but without the luxury of being able to screen out applicants for whom this particular model of Ivy League prep is not a good fit.

So public school classroom teachers are forced to take future entrepreneurs, photographers, musicians, bed-and-breakfast hosts, computer programmers, and social activists and run them through a curriculum that is designed, as Sir Ken Robinson dryly observed, to train university professors. This doesn’t make any sense, and it’s why school is a source of pain in the lives of so many kids.

We need different kinds of schools for different kids. There is no one right way. The 20th century was about “mass”—mass transit, mass movements, mass marketing, mass entertainment, and mass education. The 21st century is about personalization: Chris Anderson’s famous “long tail,” customizing your own cell phone ring tone, and—increasingly—personalized education.

(Join the discussion at Get updates at

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Capt. Charles Morgan is Gulf To Table Certified

    Capt. Charles Morgan Gulf Table Certified

    Most restaurants peppered along the Gulf Coast claim to serve fresh local seafood, but when you utter the name Harbor Docks, claim becomes fact. Read more

    3 hours, 11 minutes ago by
  • Does Coffee Raise Blood Sugar? Preliminary Findings.

    Does Coffee Raise Blood Sugar? Preliminary Findings.

    A few weeks ago, I started an experiment to better understand how different foods and lifestyle decisions impact blood sugar, using a constant-glucose-monitorin... Read more

    3 hours, 37 minutes ago by   Dietdoctor
  • New Music Round-up Featuring Everything Everything, Sl0tface, Quiet Lions,...

    Music Round-up Featuring Everything Everything, Sl0tface, Quiet Lions, False Advertising Samoans

    Everything Everything – ‘A Fever Dream‘ (live) This video sees Everything Everything showcase the title track from their new album in all its glory. Read more

    3 hours, 42 minutes ago by   Spectralnights
  • WhatsApp Spy – Monitor Someone’s Calls, Chats & Multimedia

    WhatsApp Monitor Someone’s Calls, Chats Multimedia

    Are you aware of the fact that WhatsApp has one of the biggest fans following worldwide? It has more than 100 million users. It is obvious that employees,... Read more

    3 hours, 58 minutes ago by   Ruby Mariah
  • The Best Of : The Processional

    The processional is one of those key moments in a wedding day; a moment which can be a one in a lifetime event. As a wedding photographer, it’s vital that we... Read more

    4 hours ago by   Belinda Mccarthy
  • Eating Healthy in Barcelona3 Min Read

    Eating Healthy Barcelona3 Read

    One of the great cities of the world, Barcelona is a feast for both the eyes and taste buds. An estimated 32 million people visit the city each year to walk... Read more

    4 hours, 4 minutes ago by   Healthytravelblog
  • Will Coconut Oil Kill You?

    Could coconut oil kill you, like the American Heart Association recently announced? Here's a man who has mistakenly been healthy and ripped for many years from... Read more

    4 hours, 20 minutes ago by   Dietdoctor