The Meaning Behind the Name BrokenAirplane

Maria Droujkova of Natural Math, wrote some very kind words about the BrokenAirplane blog but then she asked, "why is your Blog called BrokenAirplane?"

When I started writing this blog, I debated whether or not I would start off by saying why the blog has such a strange name. I decided against it because I felt it would be rude to walk into the Blogosphere and start sharing my opinion without first sharing and helping. So that is what I have done, providing technology and educational resources to help teachers and students alike.

But, now is just as good a time as any other, so here is the reason behind the name BrokenAirplane. Quick disclaimer, these views nor this blog do not represent my employer. In fact some of them may be contrary to their opinions. Thankfully, they are wise enough to see the importance of having dissenting views within a community.

I was inspired for the name of BrokenAirplane after a rereading my favorite book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. In it he makes the analogy of our society to an airplane that operates in opposition to the laws of nature. He states that many tried in the past to create flight but could not do so because it was contrary to the laws of gravity and aerodynamics.

He later expands on this idea in My Ishmael relating it to education. Stating that our educational system is not in need of reform but abandonment. It is contrary to the laws of how students learn and much of our frustration stems not from a need to do things better but because we are trying to apply standardized factory style methods of production to something as beautiful and complex as learning.

I equate education to a broken airplane that is not in need of repair but one that is fundamentally flawed design and I seek to encourage educators, students, and legislators to abandon this system. There is not one part of our system that could not be done better, with less stress, be more cost effective, and allow students and educators to flourish. I realize this might be offensive to some especially those who believe that with just a little more _______, we can turn the tide.
Our system attempts to standardize all students which is contrary to their long term desires and what is best for our society. In fact if our educational system were to succeed it would be detrimental to our economy as the current workforce would be made completely obsolete by the "improved educated" workforce. We have strained our financial system by encouraging everyone to pursue a college degree where one was not needed and inflated the cost of education, loans, home prices, wages, etc. We have conflated the idea that everyone should be able to go to college if they want to, with everyone must go to college if they want to be get a job.
This system is not unique to the United States but many were based upon similar ideas of efficiency and standardization. Yet Biology's most important lesson in my opinion is that diversity keeps an ecosystem strong. Our body of knowledge is so wide and yet we focus student's learning on such a small part of it. We need people who are passionate and sometimes that passion falls beyond that which can be turned into a marketable product or skill.
Could you imagine a world without standardized education? Have you been raised to believe that our country/world would fall apart without it? Do not forget that much of what we do today is only a couple of hundred years old. There have been ways that worked very well for thousands of years and provided happiness and a strong community. We can walk away anytime we want to....

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