Nikhil Goyal (@TalkPolitical on Twitter) is a student at Syosset High School in NY. He's the author of the All Hands on Deck: Why America Needs a Learning Revolution (September 2012), columnist for the Huffington Post, guest blogger for New York Times: Dot Earth, and a conference speaker. Visit his website.
Last year, industrial designer Dean Benstead unveiled the 02 Pursuit -- a prototype for a motorcycle ruled not by gas or electricity, but by compressed air. Just last month, Google announced to the public its secret initiative, Project Glass, the company's first venture into wearable computing.
And yet, in the world of education, the "next big thing" is merit pay for teachers and boosting test scores. Do our policymakers not understand that the world is going through a revolution in the way we live, interact and learn?
Our education system is stuck in paralysis. We have tried doing the same thing over and over again with the expectation of a different result. This is insanity at its finest. The way we educate is based on the tenets of the Industrial Revolution -- conformity and standardization.
For instance, creativity is virtually extinguished as a child goes through his or her schooling. In their 1998 book Breakpoint and Beyond, George Land and Beth Jarman refer to a study in which 1,500 kindergartners between three and five years old were given a divergent thinking test. Divergent thinking tests don't measure creativity, but rather one's propensity for creativity. The test asks questions such as "How many ways could you use this paperclip?" or "How many ways could you improve this toy fire truck?" -- questions designed to encourage creative thought rather than elicit right-or-wrong answers. Ninety-eight percent of kindergarteners tested at genius level. The kids were tested every few years. By the end of post-secondary education, only two percent of students tested at genius level.