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  • November 07, 2018 2 min read

    Looking for lessons applied in the real world on seeking individual potential, cultivating life-long learners, and realizing that the factory model of education widely embraced in the US, no longer serves our economy.

    I design and build leather goods with an artisan team in a century-old historic landmark in the heart of Texas. Why would a school district ask a bag builder to speak at their leadership conference?

    This summer I was asked by Spring Branch ISD in Houston, Texas to speak at their annual leadership event, kind of an internal TED-talk.

    In particular, they wanted to hear about my work.

    To address their topic, we go deep into the Stash story.

    One travels from PSATs to present day. There are chairs in ditches, brooms, vacuums, and Marvel Superheros. There is stubborness and failed attempts to automate and bags named bbq chicken.


    The topic they gave me was this:

    Share with the audience the mindset of an artisan. In this day of bigger, better, faster, why does it matter to slow-down and create something of quality? What does it mean to commit oneself to the craft of doing something exceptionally well and aligned with a clear sense of purpose.

    Spring Branch has made it their mission to get their educational system out of the one-size-fits-all factory mindset.

    As a parent and an employer, I found the idea very engaging and was surprised as I wrote my presentation how far back I could connect their ideas into my own life.

    First, as a parent with two children in the educational system, one finishing secondary in a month and another beginning primary in about a year, I am very interested in an education that prepares them for our evolving economy.

    Second, as an employer experiencing a persistent qualified and engaged labor shortage in my type of business, I have a vested concern that we are adequately preparing our students for their future work life. But more on that another time.

    Let's get back to that SBISD TED-talk.
    Listen here.

    Further Reading

    A great article by John Baker, the founder of D2L here.

    The role of the employee in today’s knowledge economy is very different from the role of the employee in yesterday’s industrial economy.

    Do my needs as an employer matter to a 3rd grade teacher? I think they should. Nurturing the skills that modern organizations need should begin with early childhood education. How to create, how to invent, how to solve a problem, how to continually learn — these are skills that should be reinforced at every level of education.
    - John Baker, Founder D2L