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Shakespeare Goes to School?

Shakespeare Goes to School?

August 13th, 2012 // 1:41 pm @

David Brooks wondered (The New York Times, July 5, 2012), what would Shakespeare’s Henry V have become as a leader if he had attended a current typical American school?

He wouldn’t be trained to fulfill the potential of his natural leadership abilities, he’d be cited for safety violations, suspended and labeled.

Whatever the label, he’d almost certainly be herded into a specific group and kept there year after year.

Brooks wrote:

“The education system has become culturally cohesive, rewarding and encouraging a certain sort of person: one who is nurturing, collaborative, disciplined, neat, studious, industrious and ambitious.”

In short, the kind of student who would make the most zealous Tiger Mom proud, the kind student who will grow into what C.S. Lewis called “Men Without Chests” and spending their lives on what author Sandra Tsing-Loh called “high-class drone work.”

In fact, such drone work has become the most widespread new definition of success in the corporate world.

We shouldn’t be surprised with this result.

After all, our education system in the Western world are perfectly aligned with this goal:

“Achieve, but don’t stand out too much. Succeed, but don’t alienate those around you. Fit in, be a team player, don’t rock the boat, impress the adults and you’ll get accolades, scholarships, and career success.”

The fact that in the new economy such attitudes are more likely to get Johnny or Mary a pink slip than a corner office is ignored by many parents and teachers.

And the reality that entrepreneurial success has a much higher probability of propelling Tommy or Sally to a higher standard of living than his or her parents, and in fact that this is the only thing likely to do so, is virtually never taught—except by two groups, parents who are successful entrepreneurs in their own right, and parents who are successful professionals.

Many such professionals now see that the medical, legal and other historically top-earning sectors are changing in ways that will end their run as upper-middle-class bastions of upward social mobility.



odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

Category : Blog &Culture &Current Events &Education &Family &Leadership

2 Comments → “Shakespeare Goes to School?”

  1. Dave Johnson

    11 years ago

    “Most jobs and many leisure activities – especially those involving passive consumption of mass media – are not designed to make us happy and strong. Their purpose is to make money for someone else. If we allow them to, they can suck out the marrow of our lives, leaving only feeble husks”. – Mihaly Csikszentmihaly

  2. Kris Bayer

    11 years ago

    One of the beauties of homeschooling, in my opinion, has always been the individual attention and individual approach that each family allows or provides. This, like the internet, opens up many possibilities. Conformity is not the goal.
    As small as it sounds, our homeschool group is starting with IEW Lemonade to Leadership for 3rd to 6th grade kids this school year. It teaches kids to start and build a business. The kids will be able to join the local Farmers Market next summer for one Saturday for their businesses. People are looking for ways to build entrepreneurship skills and build communities. I am excited.
    As communities become strong and independent…. who knows what might change!

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