American Education: You Deserve Better

The teachers blame it on the parents. The system blames it on the students. The public blames it on the system.

Teachers will tell me I have no business complaining because I can’t possibly understand. I’ve never stood in front of a classroom of students.

They have a point. It’s not a valid one. Most of the people in the workforce went to school of some kind. Many are in debt after paying for higher education.

They know how those institutions prepared them for the “real world.” They understand the chasm at play.

In fact, here’s people smarter than me talking about what they wished they would’ve learned in school.

The point is it’s time to put a stop to the endless cycle of blame and do something to fix it.

Here’s the formula.

Good grades in High School + College = Great Job, Tons of Money, Happy Ever After



WRONG! Not in this economy. It’s not that simple.

The American education system is a model that beats the creativity out of kids. That teaches them that test scores, fitting in, fear of failing, and mediocre obedience is the key to success. It is. In school.

But I have a secret.


Nearly anything you memorize in school I can look up online just as fast.

Following rules are for factory workers, and we’ve already outsourced most of those jobs in America.

Why aren’t we teaching heretical thought, divergent thinking, leadership, how to solve problems that matter?

Why are geometric proofs required and physical education, personal finance, networking, negotiation, public speaking and more advanced technology classes NOT?

Why is education still considered an easy major? Why do countless business and psychology majors switch to education to finish out their collegiate career?

It’s easy to complain, and that’s fine. Complaining loud enough to the right people leads to increased awareness, which leads to important conversations.

Important conversations can facilitate change.


I need your help. If we want more classes like this one (pdf) then we need to speak up.

Give me content to share with teachers, professors, curriculum writers, and legislature.

Here’s what I need from you:

  • A desire to positively impact our country’s education system
  • A 90 second video explaining how you think our current education system is flawed AND what you wish you would’ve learned in school.

That’s it!

I’ll host many of the videos here on this blog. If we run out of room or you’d rather just share your video on your own blog I’ll be more than happy to link to it and share it on the landing page (Education Reform) I’ll be creating for this project.

Let’s fire up the discussion. Use #EduReform as a hash-tag on Twitter.

If you would like to participate please e-mail me at ryanstephensmarketing(at) to sort out the details.

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  • Important project Ryan. Glad to see someone doing something about this problem, I just might have to pitch in…

    I’m wondering, did Obama’s State of the Union Speech prompt this post/project?


  • What a fantastic initiative! The education system is damaged, anyone can see that. But your question is spot on — how do we fix it. Is it about the testing? Is it about the memorizing? Or is it about the application?

    My parents instilled in me an absolute love of learning. I question anything and want to know everything. I loved and thrived in college as an English major — one of those majors that so many people wonder if there’s any use for it. I question it, too. But while I’m not doing anything remotely related to this field in my day-job, I attribute so much to the skills I learned while studying in how it helps me analyze, problem-solve, understand and relate to people. Studying literature and writing has helped me learn how to communicate effectively, to envision, to pay attention to meaning and detail, to understand perspective and how everything can be interpreted differently.

    Looking back, it’s everything I learned outside of the lessons themselves that have meant something. It’s being able to apply these skills in the every-day environment that matters.

    It’s my opinion that education has become too specific and competitive in regards to scores and grades. Cultivate a love of learning and you’ll create a well-rounded person; teach lessons in such a way that you can learn to apply those lessons in a practical manner. It doesn’t have to be a full-semester class on networking or public speaking, but tailor communication courses to include these lessons; in a World Politics course, have projects dedicated to civil debate and cultural awareness; in a business or math 101 course, dedicate a class to maintaining personal finance.

    Maybe it’s not the system itself that’s broken; maybe it’s the way we use it…

    Sorry for the long post, Ryan…The video thing just isn’t happening this time 😉 Love your passion, love your project.



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  • Great topic of discussion AND a useful project. There are some super TED talks about this subject, too numerous for me to post here. Here’s a link to a free pdf by Seth Godin. Enjoy!