Time magazine did a cover package on the end of college. I tell you this because Time magazine is the pulse of American ideas. Something is mainstream when it gets into Time. Because those journalists don’t aim to frame public discussion so much a summarize it in a way to reflect the discussion back to us.
1. Accept that for most kids, there won’t be college.
So go read that issue. The most memorable part for me was that in ten years, most colleges will be gone. They are just not sustainable institutions. They are too expensive for what they deliver. In ten years, what will be left is the top fifty schools and the schools like the University of Phoenix, that are relatively quick, cheap paths to getting a degree.
2. Don’t make your kids pay dues to an evaporating system.
I do a lot of consulting for companies about how to bridge the gap between Generation Y and Baby Boomers. And the biggest issue is that Baby Boomers paid their dues and methodically climbed corporate ladders, and now there’s nothing on at the top. There is no job security, there is very little hierarchy based on age, and young people are refusing to pay their dues—and getting away with it.
So Baby Boomers spent their lives following rules for a system that no longer exists. And they’re really upset.
This is what’s going to happen to the kids who spend eighteen years in a test-based education system. The kids will not have anywhere to put those gold stars for well-roundedness and high GPAs and going to school like a 9-5 factory worker. Those kids will not be in any better shape than the kids who were homeschooled, learning whatever they want to learn. Because aside from the very, very best applicants, there will not be a college sorting system that rewards going to school.
I liked the idea of minimalist photography because I spend my twenties reading minimalist literature like Sandra Cisneros and Raymond Carver, and I loved how simple and raw it felt. But every time I think about using these photographs in a post, I end up choosing something else more familiar.
Now I realize that these pictures are a perfect depiction of what it feels like to homeschool. It’s beautiful and peaceful because there’s an inherent trust in your kids to be their smart, charming selves without going to school and being told what to. But it’s also empty and scary and hard to see what’s ahead, even though we know surely there must be something there.
So I’m posting these pictures today as a reminder that I need to face the scary part of homeschooling head on. I need to accept that I know things will change in education and I’m not totally sure how, but I’m not having my kids pay dues for a system that won’t exist when it’s time for them to cash in.