In this TED talk from last year, Ken Robinson talks about the need to radically change the way we educate children.
We have built education on a fast-food model, he claims. Everything is standardized. If educational reformers such as Michael Bloomberg and Michelle Rhee have their way, even more standardization is to come. He recommends an alternative. Just like Zagat and Michelin Guide restaurants are not standardized, but creative and customized, so too education should forgo the old standardized paradigm and move to a creative and customized model.
Our education system is designed like a factory. It's linear, where batches of children start at the beginning of the system and moved through each successive stage until they wind up at the end. "Defective" children, like defective factory products, are discarded along the way. As an alternative, he suggests modeling education more agrarianly, creating the environment and best conditions for childrne to grow and supporting them as the flourish.