Education Letter to the Editor

‘Obsolete’ System Stifles Students’ Self-Discovery

February 06, 2007 1 min read

To the Editor:

William Spady’s Jan. 10, 2007, Commentary “The Paradigm Trap” has finally identified the real problem of the American education system: It has been obsolete for over a century, and reforms like those of the No Child Left Behind Act simply reinforce its obsolescence.

Nature has carefully designed how humans develop during their first 19 years of life, but our education system virtually ignores this powerful and comprehensive process. Instead, we have adults designing a system to mold American children into their vision of the future. What incredible arrogance.

Consequently, we are producing many adolescents whose deeper potential is only marginally developed, who have little sense of who they are, their uniqueness, and their deeper purpose in life, and who thus are entering life overly controlled by peer pressure and their lesser instincts.

The early-20th-century Lebanese-American writer Khalil Gibran wisely noted this about children: “Their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”

Our job as adults is not to design our children’s futures. It is to help them discover who they truly are and their deeper intellectual, emotional, and spiritual potentials. Do this effectively, and, as a teacher who has watched former students tackle life over the past 55 years, I promise you they will prevail over whatever they face in life, and leave the world a better place.

Joseph W. Gauld

Founder of Hyde Schools


Hyde Foundation

Bath, Maine

A version of this article appeared in the February 07, 2007 edition of Education Week as ‘Obsolete’ System Stifles Students’ Self-Discovery