Schools Weren’t Built for Tomorrow’s Leaders
The modern public education system in the United States is behind the curve in so many areas, eschewing innovation and the cultivation of tomorrow’s leaders (and their untapped emotional and intellectual potentials) in favor of an outdated system which places the onus on assignments and grades. For a school to really give tomorrow’s leaders a fair shake in becoming fitting to the roles they will assume as they grow older, it has to look at its practices and agendas and how one-size-fits-all education and bureaucracy is stifling growth in our student populace.
A culture of following blanket directives in fear of discipline isn’t one which promotes the individuality necessary for a student to take their own initiative and become a leader. Sacrificing creativity for rigor, innovation for the grades necessary to make the next level, our students are placed into stifling educational environments which punish deviation and reward groupthink.
What fear does to tomorrow’s leaders
One high school in Washington D.C., known to be one of the hardest schools in all of the United States, has built such a culture of fear that students skip class to hide in the library in hopes of acing the next big test on the docket. It’s a grading culture which tells students that their entire futures are predicated upon the approval of the system. Top-achievers live in constant fear of slipping up, watching their potential careers vanish as others race ahead of them who are much more adept at playing the game.
While testing and its consequences have their place, such a culture of fear turns students into anxious followers rather than potential leaders. The best entrepreneurs aren’t afraid of failure. In fact, they embrace the potential of failure in hopes of the next successful venture. Students who are afraid of their own shadows in school aren’t given the opportunity to embrace such an entrepreneurial spirit. They’re taught that their fears are always valid and worth fearing. That’s no way to build a future leader.
The Mark Cuban effect
Schools aren’t changing their didactic ways anytime soon, or not fast enough to really cultivate a culture of budding leadership in their student populace. So, it behooves students (and concerned parents) to look at sources outside of the educational system which reflect how success can be achieved without playing the follow-the-leader games of public education. Billionaire entrepreneur and media personality Mark Cuban was once suspended from high school for wearing a shirt with the word “bullshit” on it. He constantly got into trouble, unable to reconcile his own desire to lead with the bureaucratic structures of the educational system.
“It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. You only have to be right once and then everyone can tell you that you are an overnight success,” Cuban once said. If students can find a way to experience and learn different modes of grading success and failure, especially with their own ethics and wants and needs into account, they can break from the backward nature of the public education system and build themselves internally as confident leaders unafraid of a bad grade or a bad decision.