Why Regulatory Authorities need to see the Lego Movie!

If you haven’t seen the Lego Movie, take it out, make some popcorn and watch it with the kids. Let me know your thoughts..

We watched the Lego Movie over the weekend and it got me thinking…

There seems to be two messages here.

 One message is to encourage kids to explore, be innovative, original and think out of the box.

The other message is to stop those who want to control, keep things neatly in a box and micro manage.

Living inside the Box or Learning out of the Box

I loved the way the Lego movie portrayed those who want to build their world completely according to the instruction manual. Instruction manuals keep things simple and organized, especially for those in power, especially for President Business.  It is all under control and the outcomes are predictable. It’s what a bureaucracy loves. Neat packages, rules kept, people under control, no unknown factors.

However, the child in the story wants to push the boundaries. He likes to go beyond those defined lines – he wants to explore – to see what happens if he joins one piece to another. “Keep Out”, “Do Not Touch!” are the signs which destroy his creativity and he doesn’t understand exactly what the problem is if he were to design a new spaceship or add a Star Wars character into a western theme.

Kids are inherently creative. If we limit them to learn just what we think they need or what we determine to be a comprehensive curriculum – we fail to see that excellence comes from the freedom to be diverse and unique. Yes – open the world to them – and then let them explore, cross boundaries, research, play around, deepen their knowledge and grow according to their personalities.

Some regulatory authorities who oversee us as home educators don’t get this.

They believe that prescriptive regulation is the key for all children. They somehow think one model is good for all children; that one set of lessons, syllabus, and curricula meets all children’s needs and interests.

Unfortunately, this narrow-minded approach to education will not bring educational excellence.

The Strengths of De-Regulation

Recently, Professor Ian Young from the Australian National University in his speech, Imagining an Australia built on the brilliance of our people, about the de-regulation of universities, said,

“To build an education system that is brilliant, we have to stop funding universities the same way regardless of how they teach. We have to stop the endless per-student funding cuts to higher education. We have created a perverse incentive that rewards universities for enrolling as many students as possible and teaching them as cheaply as possible. That’s what our current system does.

That isn’t the way to build outstanding universities or to give our children an excellent education that suits their particular passions and needs.

For students to have real options and real choices, we need real diversity amongst our universities. We need to enable each Australian university to offer an experience unique to it, to play to its strengths.”

Although the Professor is speaking about Australian Universities, and how “de-regulation will enable Universities to differentiate and play to their strengths” I believe the same thing can be said about education in general. To give our children an outstanding education means we need to educate to their passions and needs, give them real options, real choices and provide unique experiences.

An institutionalized schooling model does not work for all children and our governments should acknowledge, support and de-regulate those who wish to home educate and provide a unique educational experience for their children.

Your thoughts?