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High school graduates receive applause for high grade point averages -- how to fool an entire community

High_school_graduation Last week I witnessed mass hypnosis at a high school graduation.  I wondered how it was that so many people could be fooled.

Here's the scoop...

A neighbor's son was graduating and I wanted to show my support by attending the graduation ceremony.  This young man is an exceptional person - - smart, considerate, friendly and he had a grade point average of 5.0 (grade inflation is for another post).

Early on in the ceremony the principal addressed the 276 students and the parents, relatives, and friends of the graduates (several thousand people!).  The principal went on and on about how this graduating class has the highest grade point average, the highest test scores, the highest number of college applicants, etc, etc. 

The audience applauded.  The audience cheered.

My wife and I rolled our eyes.

How is it that so many people can be in a fog?  Fooled into believing that high grades and high test scores equates to success in real life.

I guess there are very few of us who know the world is flat, otherwise the principal's focus on left brain strengths would fall flat.  Did you know the world is flat?  If not, read Thomas Friedman's NY Times best seller HERE.

Friedman will tell you that India is pumping out Harvard MBA equivalents like there is no tomorrow - - and they'll work for a fraction of the cost.  And because of technology (high speed internet, etc.) you can now hire one of these Harvard MBA equivalents from India for between $5 - $15/hour.  Today's high school graduates are now competing with these Harvard MBA equivalents.

What is the answer?

Focus on building RIGHT BRAIN skills.  That's what Dan Pink says in his powerful book entitled "A Whole New Mind - Why Right Brainers Will Rule The Future".  Watch a video of Dan Pink HERE

So here's a question for you...

What would a principal say about a graduating class if the school focused on building right brain strengths among the students?

Some possible answers might be:

  • 100% of our students are able to define their personal mission (life purpose) and they have a clear direction on how to express their mission for the greatest possible good.
  • Each student is connected to and understands their personal values.
  • Our students understand how they learn best through their unique learning style.
  • The creative process has been fully explored by each and every student.  Expressing their creativity comes easily and naturally.

And the audience applauds wildly.

Will this ever happen?  It's unlikely.  Especially with the current fixation on test scores and No Child Left Behind.

I wish all parents were required to read John Taylor Gatto's book entitled "The Underground History of American Education".  Perhaps the cultural hypnosis about the importance of high test scores would vanish.  You can listen to this audio interview I did with Gatto HERE.

What kind of hypnosis is your team operating under?

Post Update:

Dan Pink (mentioned above) just sent me an email after he read this post and said he once interviewed John Taylor Gatto (also mentioned above).  The interview appeared in the October 2000 issue of Fast Company Magazine.  You can read Dan's interview of John HERE. (it's really good)

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