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American Schools have as one of their major missions preparing children to participate fully in their democracy. Another function is to prepare the student to serve some economic function. The system which we use today originates largely from a time when the economic function needed by our society was largely that of a factory worker. One problem at the time was how to supply enough workers to meet the needs of factories.
The solution was an educational system that, in its very structure, simulated this new world, the world of the factory. This system did not emerge instantly. Yet the whole idea of assembling masses of students (raw material) to be processed by teachers (workers) in a centrally located school (factory) was a stroke of industrial genius. The whole administrative hierarchy of education, as it grew up, followed the model of industrial bureaucracy. The very organization of knowledge into permanent disciplines was grounded on industrial assumptions. Children marched from place to place and sat in assigned stations. Bells rang to announce changes of time and so the child was groomed for life as a factory worker. Today, however, we do not really need factory workers. We have machines and industrialization. We need thinkers, problem solvers, coders, artists, story tellers, musicians, engineers, architects, in short we need makers. Now, it stands to reason that the system designed to produce factory workers should look very different from the system designed to make makers. At their core the two paths value fundamentally different and often diametrically opposed goals.
Where a factory based school demands conformity; a 21st century school, that is to say a making school, needs creativity.
Conformity is the enemy of creativity. Conformity requires sameness, creativity invites diversity. We are most creative when we can see things in ways others can not. We are the most conforming when we see things as others see them.
Factory based schools demand structure; a 21st century school allows fluidity. Structure is enforced in the times of learning, the topics of learning, and the progression of learning. A 21st century school must allow students to pursue their passions. It must help the student to see the interconnectedness of the subjects of inquiry. Math is code and code is physics. Mastery of code and physics however is not terribly helpful without the ability to communicate it and the aesthetic awareness to make it appealing.
Factories rely on compulsion while 21st century schools rely on passion. If the product being offered is unpalatable, as much of public school curriculum is, then the use of force, i.e. compulsion is necessary to ensure the product is being consumed. In contrast is the product is inherently appetizing, then no compulsion is necessary to bring about consumption. Furthermore, by introducing grades a factory based school separates the value of the learning from the topic being learned and replaces it with the payment, that is to say a grade.
Factory based schools need to assess the quality of their products (the students) while 21st century schools teach children to assess the quality of their own products (work and creations). One of these depends on an authority figure to establish value the other works to imbue this critical judgment in the student.
Factory based schools simulate a work environment but do not allow for meaningful work. 21st century schools know that skills surrounding money, credit, time commitments, materials, invoicing, etc are best learned in business transactions and therefore strongly encourage students to be entrepreneurs.
Students are strongly encouraged to take the skills that they learn in our classes and start businesses. Sacramento Makers Academy is proud to fund student businesses and in the 2016-2017 provided close to $8000 for student businesses and projects.
Fall Quarter Begins: Monday, August 21
Labor Day Monday, September 4
Columbus Day Monday, October 9
Veterans Day (observed) Friday, November 10
Thanksgiving Break 11-20 to 11-24
Winter Quarter Begins Monday 11-17
Winter Break 12-25 to 1-5
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Monday, January 15
Lincoln’s Birthday Monday, February 12
Washington’s Birthday Monday, February 19
Spring Quarter Begins Monday, March 5
Spring Break March 26-30
Memorial Day Monday, May 28