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    • Students need more opportunities to create something meaningful and significant to them. Everyday assignments don't amount to much a person can be proud of and it's a finished larger product that gets people excited about what they can do or what they've created. Allowing students to work on individualized projects can also create opportunities to encourage them to work on areas of weakness because it's needed to improve their overall creation. It helps build on their areas of strength while at the same time helping them to realize that you can't generally do great things without having a reasonably well rounded skill set. Do we really want a group of kids to all know the same things upon graduation? Wouldn't it make more sense to have a graduating class that has a wide assortments of talents and interests that are more highly developed and specialized? Why wait until they are done university or college? Why burn them out of their desire to learn before they even leave middle school? How many of these kids become lifelong learners because it's what they've learned in school vs what experiences they've had outside of school? I figure most people who are lifelong learners became that way despite school and not because of it.

    • Chris MacAskill

      I missed grades 3-5 while living on the streets with my mom, then went to live with my father a few weeks into 6th grade. Mom and I didn't tell anyone I had missed those years, so the teachers and my father had no way to know. The well-intended teachers of the day saw to it that I got an IQ test. It revealed that I probably had a learning disability, so I was placed in special ed.

      Through no fault of the angels who taught us, I came to hate school because it made me feel stupid. Then, when I somehow got into UC Santa Barbara despite Ds in English, I couldn't pass English 1A, so I got on academic probation and then released. I was so angry I swore I'd never set foot on another college campus in my life.

      And then I met a girl. She had a degree. We got married shortly after my 20th birthday. She promised to help tutor me in English if I'd give college another try. I wouldn't have done it for anyone else, but my male ego told me I must...

      I attended a lecture by a professor of higher ed, who boomed across the podium, "THE IQ TEST IS THE BIGGEST FRAUD EVER PERPETRATED ON THE AMERICAN PUBLIC!! It measures interest and exposure."

      "If you want to graduate in the top 2% of your class, set aside 4 hours a day at the same time and place. Don't eat, daydream, watch TV, play games or anything else there. Just study. In time it will become habit and for those 4 hours, you will get in the zone. Learning will become delightful."

      I tried it. And I got a full scholarship to Stanford Grad school and got a 4.0 average there. The boy who was known to the kids in middle school as the retard had figured out a way to learn.

      Ironically, I made a pledge to myself to enjoy Stanford more than any student who had every attended, and I believe I did.

    • I hope you're taking notes for a memoir. Have you written anything about your life that we could read?

    You've been invited!