Now that he’s stepped down and sold it all to Disney, George Lucas wants to remaster education.
Surprisingly, I don’t have a problem with this. For two reasons.
George Lucas actually attended and graduated from public school. He’s been on the inside of public education in the most important role: a student. The loudest (and most obnoxious) voices in education reform – Bill and Melinda Gates and Michelle Rhee – did not. All three were private school kids.
Admittedly, I haven’t much experience with private school kids. It’s limited to the kids from a particular, very tony prep school in Jacksonville, FL, whom I had occasion to run into at academic competitions (I was a French-lete). Those kids were, frequently, a$$holes*.
So, I get a little eye twitch when a bunch of private school kids start fcuking around with public education and insisting that public ed sucks because the teachers suck. Those three private school kids – Bill, Melinda, and Michelle – had a unionless experience at schools of choice and probably got a good education, too. But, it appears that they all slept through the logical fallacy lesson on causal oversimplification**.
Bill, Melinda, and Michelle come to ed reform from a place where teachers suck. Teachers are the problem. Fix that broken cog and you fix the education problem. You’ll know when the problem is fixed because kids will pass the test.
George Lucas is coming to ed reform from a place where the system is the problem. He’s talking about building a system that promotes differences in learning, development, and assessment; promoting critical thinking, project-based learning, and mentorships. All things that are anathema to advocates of standardized testing.
It’s a grand vision and one that my colleagues and I have been wanting for what feels like forever. It’s not an easy vision with a straightforward path and outcomes that fit handily in a spreadsheet. It’s messy, and the outcome won’t be clear until everyone has done their job well and steps back to look at the whole picture.
Which brings me to my second reason…..
Kids aren’t software or machines. Kids are movies.
With software, one wrong thing can screw up the entire program. With movies, it’s subjective. How many times have you seen a movie that, even though one thing irritated the $h!t out you, was still pretty good? How many times have you seen a movie that, on paper, should have been amazing and wound up sucking butt?
Happens to me all the time.
A lot of different kinds of work from a lot of different people goes into a movie. While all that is going on, you view the dailies for a sense of how the movie is coming along. But, whether the movie is a success or not depends on all aspects coming together. It’s a messy process and the outcome may not be clear until everyone’s work is done.
Just like raising and educating a kid.
I may not agree with every movie decision George Lucas has made. I may feel like taking a shower after watching the prequels. I may want to fillet Jar Jar Binks, pan-fry him, and serve him with a bright, citrus compound butter. But, George Lucas is a creative who’s been on the receiving end of public education. And education, like making movies, is a creative process requiring the work of a lot of people for one end product.
He’s suited to the task. Because of that, I’m really interested to see what he does.
*That doesn’t mean all the prep school kids were/are as$$holes. Just the ones I interacted with. “prep school” does not equal “a$$hole”.