The message behind the massacre
Suzanne Deffree - April 17, 2007
The massacre at Virginia Tech is a national tragedy by all counts. We all will be living with this explosion of anger and frustration for many years to come, and no amount of talk or action will ever right what has been done.
But there is a cause-effect issue here that is worth noting. The pressure to succeed, and the method by which we measure success, may be surpassing human limitations for students all over the globe. Overachievers and underachievers are self destructing in a system that cares only for spectacular grades and outrageous performance on standardized tests.
There was a time when our nation’s youth had time to play and think—and still had opportunities to succeed. As we cut into that time with college prep camps and extra studies and advanced placement courses, we also put a crimp on innovation and the time necessary to think about ideas that go way outside of the box. What’s becoming apparent is that we may need to rethink the box altogether, getting away from standardized measurements and looking at potential employees not because of where they went to school but because they have potential to succeed in ways we cannot measure with our present tools.
Given today’s hiring practices, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs wouldn’t qualify for even low level jobs in Silicon Valley. They wouldn’t even get funding for a startup. That’s a problem, and it’s up to companies—from the top down—to dictate to their HR departments, that college degrees account for something, but not everything. And that has to be pushed back from there deep into the global education system.
It’s clear that the current state of things isn’t working. It’s killing our youth, and it will kill the innovation within them. And that will create a whole other series of tragedies from which we may never recover.
–Ed Sperling, Editor in Chief, Electronic News