Thursday, July 25, 2013

Who is education's John Galt?

Who is John Galt?  Well most would say he is a character in Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged.   The novel written in 1957 was a political statement that appears to have incredible foresight into our current political environment.   The book deals with monopolies, government policies, and infringing on the people’s ability to make a living.  John Galt begins to recruit the nation’s best minds to develop a utopian society.  I’ll let you finish the story on your own.  But what is important for this discussion is the books rally cry of “who is John Galt”? 


While to novel dealt with the government’s attempts to monopolize society, the phrase “Who is John Galt?”, could translate into education.  Who are educations John Galt?  Who is going to rescue us from the impending doom we are facing?  Is it Ken Robinson who preaches the importance of the arts and technology?  Is it Alfie Kohn, a psychologist, who wants to see educators eliminate extrinsic motivators?  Or is it Logan LaPlante, a 12 year old who preaches the benefits of “hackschooling” to sold out TED conventions?


Answer: none of the above!  While all of these great minds can and have provided positive influences on education, there is no single person who can be called John Galt.  Just as in Atlas Shrugged   no single person can save the nation’s educational system.  But let me clarify a point, our education system is not as broke as the media portrays it.  There are a lot of outstanding teachers doing amazing things with very little support.  Just like in Atlas Shrugged, it is the government’s insistence on managing these educators that is the real issue. 


We are all the John Galt’s of education.  Parents, community leaders, teachers, administrators, everyone can be a leader.   Teachers are constantly coming up with innovative ways to provide the best possible instruction to their students.  Administrators work long hours to ensure teachers have the support they need.  But they cannot do it alone.  Parents must demand the best for their children and community leaders must demand support for their schools.


Just as enthusiasm is the best way to motivate a child to learn, a community rallying behind their school is a great way to build pride and improve the future.  Support your school, support your teachers and you will become John Galt! 

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