Because if we want our kids to grow up to be creative and innovative, then the way they are taught in class should be, too.

By Hollee Actman Becker
November 08, 2016
Prince Ea/YouTube

Have you guys ever heard of Prince Ea, the spoken-word artist and activist known for sharing seriously inspirational videos on YouTube? I'll admit I hadn't until yesterday, when I received an excited text from my 14-year-old daughter.

"Omg we just saw this in class," she wrote, forwarding me a link. "Just watch."

And so I did. In this particular video—titled "The People vs. The School System"—Prince EA stages a mock trial in order to present a powerful case against the entire US school system for basically crushing our kids' spirits by failing to support their creativity and individuality.

"Albert Einstein once said: Everyone's a genius," he begins. "But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

True story.

"Tell me school, are you proud of the things you've done?" he then asks. "Turning millions of people into robots, do you find that fun? Do you realize how many kids relate to that fish? Swimming upstream in class, never finding their gifts? Thinking they are stupid. Believing they are useless. Well the time has come, no more excuses."

Brilliant! He then goes on to underscore the importance of bringing customized models of teaching to the classroom.

"Every scientist will tell you that no two brains are the same," he explains. "And every parent with two or more children will confirm that claim. So please explain why you treat students like cookie-cutter frames or snapback hats, giving them this one-size-fits-all crap."

It's a great question, as are the ones he goes on to raise about things like the efficacy of standardized testing, low teacher wages, and the Common Core, before finally resting his case:

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, if we continue down this road, the results will be lethal," he warns. "I don't have much faith in schools, but I do have faith in people. If we can customize healthcare, cars, and Facebook pages, then it is our duty to do the same with education.... This is a world in which I believe. A world in which fish are no longer forced to climb trees."

A-men! #ImWithHim. And you will be, too, after you watch the entire five-minute indictment.

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a mom. Check out her website for more, and then follow her on Twitter at @holleewoodworld.


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