In a recent interview, inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk explained why traditional schooling is essentially useless. Musk is the CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors and chairman of SolarCity. He is also the founder of SpaceX and a co-founder of PayPal.
In the interview Musk said that, “I think a lot of things that people learn probably there’s no point in learning them because that they never use them in the future because kids just in school kinda puzzled as to why they’re there.”
Musk has revealed in the past that his own experience in public school was horrible, riddled with both bullying and lessons that were neither valuable nor interesting.
Musk doesn’t even care if his employees have college degrees. He told Auto Bild in 2014 that an applicant’s formal education is not a priority for him.
“There’s no need even to have a college degree, or even high school really. If someone graduates from a good university that may be an indication that they are capable of great things but that is not necessarily the case,” Musk said.
Musk has been gotten into a few interesting Twitter exchanges on this topic also. Last year, Musk responded to a Tweet that said “You can’t succeed in life without a degree. That’s why you need schooling if you want to go to Harvard.”
“That’s not true. Don’t confuse schooling with education. I didn’t go to Harvard but the people that work for me did,” Musk said in response.
Musk is practicing what he preaches for his own children as well. In a 2015 interview, Musk revealed that he made a school for his children so they could pursue their own paths in learning.
In the interview, Musk says.
“I didn’t see the regular schools doing the things I thought should be done…Some people love English or languages. Some people love math. Some people love music. Different abilities, different times. It makes more sense to cater the education to match their aptitudes and abilities.”
He went on to explain how hands-on experience is more important than making children memorize and regurgitate answers to questions.
“It’s important to teach problem-solving, or teach to the problem and not the tools. Let’s say you’re trying to teach people about how engines work. A more traditional approach would be saying, ‘we’re going to teach all about screwdrivers and wrenches.’ This is a very difficult way to do it,” he said.
Musk then explained that it is better to actually let them take apart an engine, in real life, and figure it out for themselves.
“How are we going to take it apart? You need a screwdriver. That’s what the screwdriver is for. And then a very important thing happens: The relevance of the tools becomes apparent,” he said.
If one of the most brilliant inventors and entrepreneurs in the world doesn’t trust his children’s brains in the hands of the government, maybe you should reconsider your choices if you currently have children in public school.