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Elon Musk and His Thoughts on Education: Some Good, Some Bad

Updated: 5 days ago

Photo by Alexander Shatov

I listened to an interview with Elon Musk and his views on education. He began speaking about colleges and how colleges are not for learning. It became interesting for me when he began describing the school he created for his children and nine others.

Highlights about this school included:

  1. There are no grades. The present education system is like an assembly line in that all the students are in the same grade. and move at the same pace. He believes education should match a student's abilities and aptitude.

  2. He stated students should be taught how to solve problems and not about the tools.

  3. Present-day education to him was just downloading basic algorithms to the brain.

  4. Education should not be a huge chore. Instead, education should be gamified.

  5. His experience with educational instruction was only from a traditional lecture approach

  6. It is important to give the reason for learning something. Learning should be entertaining.. Like a good video game.

  7. Allow each student to progress as fast as he can in each subject. Disconnect the whole grade-level thing. What He Has Incorrect I read an article in the Wall Street Journal on Morris Chang, the 94-year-old founder of the world's largest chip maker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing. The article said, "some of TSMC's young employees in the US have attitudes toward work that he struggles to understand.." There is a very large TSMC plant they are building in Phoenix. "They talk about life-work balance," he says. That's a term I didn't even know when I was their age. if there was no work, there was no life." The point is Mr. Musk is very, very wrong on the idea that learning needs to be entertaining like a video game. Hard work is very important as a life skill. A good school through clear expectations and meaningful work is able to support parents in developing good work habits. Playing video games does not. From his comment about hating school, I expect Elon has never attended a great or even a good school. Because at a great school students are given a clear purpose in building upon previous knowledge. Knowledge that allows students to think, apply and understand the world around them. Quality thinking requires broad knowledge. That ties into the idea he has of teaching to a student's strengths and interests. Wrong. One of the many joys of managing a learning system such as Maricopa Christian Academy is observing over the years the different interests, the growing aptitudes in a variety of subjects and the real enthusiasm that comes from their growing knowledge. Maricopa Christian Academy students are not taught to their strengths, we create strengths across the curriculum. What He Had Correct Of course, the present educational system of grades is like an assembly line. An ungraded system is a great structure to begin educating students. A structure we practice here at Maricopa Christian Academy. The traditional grade system holds back the majority of students from having the opportunity to move on after mastery of each skill. It holds back those who need more help because they become frustrated at falling further behind, year after year as the rest of the class moves forward while they stay in the same campground year after year.

At Maricopa Christian Academy, our individualized education follows educational principles developed from solid research and applied for over forty years. Most students advance as they master school and teacher goals daily. Those behind in their skills, begin at where they are at, then progress from there.

Happy Resurrection Sunday! He has risen.

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