Education Reform

Nikhil Goyal is not your typical high school senior. At 17 years old he has just published a book – not a novel or children’s book mind you, but a book on education reform.

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One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School is a frank and intriguing look at the current education system in the United States through the eyes of one person who certainly has the right to judge being close to leaving it. What is fundamentally interesting about the work is not what Goyal deems to be wrong about the system, but what he insists might be able to fix it. The biggest change becoming evident in the title, One Size Does Not Fit All, bringing up a good point when it comes to education. A generalized system will not work for every child, no more than a single size t-shirt would fit all American children.

There is, as Goyal explains, an innate problem in the system in that it demands excellence in a few particular subjects, but does not allow for children to explore their passions. Crushing their curiosities under a metaphorical cartoon anvil. And then a grand piano. And then a safe. It is not surprising to hear that children are largely dissatisfied with a system that works less for them and more for bureaucrats. It is apparent that changes must be made, that that first anvil must be kept aloft so that passions may be fostered.

In an interesting passage, Goyal recommends that students get involved in education reform by blogging about their daily experience in schools and observations of schools in their communities. This brings up a key part of the world in which our education system exists today. The internet, smart phones, tablets – they are all an increasingly large part of society. How are students to get their voices heard?  By taking them to the largest information source the world has ever seen. Blogging is an online chronicle of experience, of perspective, and if students heed Goyal’s suggestion, an education revolution cannot be far behind.

Technology has the potential to change the face of education and students like Goyal, who recognize the flaws in the system, the improvements it needs, will also recognize the role technology will play in improving education. Let’s just hope this doesn’t become live-action Les Misérables, with children across the nation shout-singing “Do You Hear the People Sing?” at their teachers from the tops of swingsets…

Do you think an education revolution is on its way? Would you secretly enjoy a Les Mis flash mob in the name of tailoring school to fit each individual student’s needs?