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  • I spent the last year working on a book called

  • "Hacking Your Education" which is about

  • my own non-traditional educational background

  • and it tells my story in a narrative basis,

  • but it also weaves the story together about

  • 40 other people I've interviewed

  • who've done interesting things in their lives

  • without relying the form of education.

  • Some got college degrees, some didn't,

  • some never went, but the common things' that

  • what they do professionally

  • has absolutely nothing to do with

  • what they've learned in the classroom.

  • When I was in 5th grade, I was 12,

  • I came into my parents and said to them that

  • I didn't want to go to school,

  • well a lot of 5th grader said that,

  • but my parents actually took me seriously,

  • and they said, "You know it's your life,

  • you should make your own decisions,

  • if you don't want to go to school

  • the worst thing could possibly happen

  • as you might go back one day."

  • My parents spent their sleepless night

  • wondering about whether or not I would be able to

  • sit outside the school

  • But my mother was a school teacher,

  • my dad, an engineer both products off the system,

  • but ultimately they allowed me to become an unschooler,

  • the self directed from home schooling.

  • So instead of going to middle school and high school,

  • I found mentor that know businesses,

  • I did internships, I lived in France for half a year,

  • I volunteered my community,

  • I was able to do things that I would've never been able

  • to do, had I been inside a classroom.

  • Unschooling is an educational philosophy

  • that started back in the 1960s,

  • the term was coined by a guy named John Holt,

  • he's a teacher in New York City for 27 years,

  • and he's been asking the question you normally ask

  • when you talk about improving something,

  • he's been asking "How do We Make School Better?"

  • and that came up with all the traditional solutions

  • of getting class size smaller,

  • personalizing the education,

  • and he eventually came out with a conclusion that

  • that was not the right question,

  • the right question to ask was rather the outcome

  • do we really want from school,

  • do we want schools to form a community?

  • Do we want to get social equalizer?

  • Do we want it to deliver knowledge?

  • So, based on those outcomes,

  • what is the best way to actually achieve those outcomes?

  • Now I go back to this,

  • because people like to talk about education reform

  • that changes the education system today,

  • but I want to remind you all that education reform,

  • particularily ideas about anti-institutional educational

  • are not new.

  • A. S. Neil started a school in UK in 1920s

  • called Summer Hill,

  • Neil wrote a book by the same name in 1960

  • and that book, about a democratic free school,

  • sold 3 million copies of the 13-year period

  • from 1960 to 1973,

  • Summer Hill is a democratic free school that teachers...

  • that there's no curriculum,

  • students hire the teachers,

  • and it's student-center in any possible way.

  • John Holt sold a magazine called

  • "Growing without Schooling" in 1970s

  • to push his idea into the world,

  • and the interesting thing is that the magazine

  • was actually deliver to your mail box,

  • in a brown paper bag,

  • as those content would be as the objectional

  • to the postmaster, or to your neighbors

  • as an pornography,

  • and that's how crazy and radical this idea

  • about turning education were.

  • The real question here is not about whether you should

  • go to school or whether you should leave school,

  • is about whether or not we trust people

  • on innate capacity to be curious.

  • And that's the real question,

  • do we think people need to be put into a system,

  • to be guided and molded and tested and shaped?

  • Like a bag of flour?

  • Or do we think that to left you own your devices

  • and you'll be able to ask questions,

  • answered that, and came up with answers.

  • One point that I want to stopped on and clarify is that

  • "homeschooling" is not the same thing as "unschooling"

  • my parents didn't pull me out of school

  • because they didn't want to teach me elvolution

  • it's not the case at all.

  • Leaving school was my idea,

  • and unschooling is something that has done

  • for educational reason.

  • Another good thing to clarify is that unschooling

  • and leaving school doesn't mean that

  • I've learned in a solitary way,

  • I wasn't sitting in my room, on my computer,

  • looking a lecture for 16 hours a day.

  • I had a very vibrant community who were around me,

  • who were able to support me in the process,

  • so like I mentioned, I did things like

  • running political campaign,

  • I organized club of groups,

  • I played in band, I helped in the library in my hometown,

  • I went to conferences, I worked in silicon valley start ups,

  • and eventually even after spending 6 years

  • outside the system, I still went to college,

  • and that's because it's what I thought

  • the next step was, even as an unschooler,

  • I justify my choice to leave school by saying

  • "Hey my friend Sara was unschool

  • and she got in to Harvard,

  • so it must be OK for me too, right?"

  • My parents have gone my peers are going,

  • that's what the society expects you to do

  • if you want to be an educated member of society right?

  • And I found that in college the same frustration

  • I had in my 5th grade classroom was still present.

  • People were not because they actually wanted to learn,

  • because they knew what they are curious about,

  • but because they didn't know what else to do

  • with their lives, and that's perfectly normal,

  • I don't know what to do with my life,

  • I'm 20, and most 20-year old don't either,

  • but if you don't know what to do with your life,

  • they are a lot cheaper ways to spend for 4 years

  • than in the institution of higher education.

  • And one of the massive problems is that

  • the cost of college is rising astronomically,

  • and the US loan for the cost of college since 1980

  • has got more than 350% more than any of good economy,

  • like transportation, healthcare, medical cost

  • and it's quickly being followed by

  • the cost of education in other countries,

  • the UK triple tuition fees last year,

  • they protest all across South America right now

  • about the rising cost of college,

  • and it's not hard to imagine that other places won't

  • soon will have to raise university tuition fees

  • to be sustainable.

  • The other thing US students

  • take some 27,000 in debt upon graduation,

  • which is an astronomically number

  • and it really forces you in one path

  • if you want to be able to pay back

  • your loans when you graduated.

  • Student loan debts is now surpassing credit card debts,

  • that's more than 1 trillion dollars,

  • which is pretty scary and means we might

  • have a crisis on our hands

  • that could be bigger than the housing bubble.

  • But the problem is not just the cost is rising,

  • but the quality is declining at the same time,

  • this is why the New York Times has writing article

  • about "Generation Limbo",

  • the generation of college students who are under 25,

  • who hold college degree,

  • of them 22.5% are unemployed,

  • the other 22% are working in jobs

  • that don't required their degrees,

  • they didn't except to go to Yale

  • and get a English degree just to work in Starbucks.

  • There's been a referent grade inflation,

  • 6 years ago only 15% of grades were

  • going to be over A, today more than 40% are.

  • And academically adrift was something

  • on the NYU last year, from that 36% of students over

  • the course of 4 years of college showed no improvement

  • whatsoever on skill like critical thinking,

  • complex reasoning and writing.

  • So challenges are not just about the cost,

  • but the quality is plummeting as well.

  • My argument is not that the school should go away,

  • but rather there should be more ways for people

  • to forge multiple paths.

  • About a week before I left college,

  • I was having dinner in the cafeteria,

  • a friend of mine was asking serious question about

  • how and what am I going to do when I left school,

  • and finally he came out with these question,

  • which I found that was a little bit funny,

  • not because that he thought that going to

  • date girls and drink beers was main purpose of college,

  • actually it's like one of the best reason

  • to go to college honestly,

  • but rather he didn't understand that's something

  • you can do outside the university.

  • You can get drunk, and go on date

  • in the real world too, right?

  • You don't have to pay for 40,000 dollars a year

  • to do that, just as the same,

  • you don't have to pay 40,000a year to learn.

  • And I finally got about this

  • i finally came up with a good comeback

  • that I prefer guys with champagne

  • and there was more than in San Francisco,

  • but then everyone was a Arkansas while I was at college.

  • So I started writing publicly about

  • my frustration at uncollege.org

  • and sort of this movement is grown

  • over the course of past year

  • and now we provide resources

  • and create real world educational experiences

  • that people want to learn outside the university,

  • we provide academic camps,

  • get people all over the world to learn,

  • about the skills of self-directed learning,

  • and next year we also want to make

  • "Gap Year Programme" to take an entire whole of people

  • through the entire process of

  • what not going to school might look like.

  • But what we're doing is a little small piece

  • of the greater trend,

  • which is that education is becoming decentralized.

  • You used to go to school and get everything from it,

  • your professors, your teachers,

  • your classes, the network, the community,

  • and now those things are slowly being taken apart.

  • It used to be that you go to a lecture

  • and get that knowledge, and now MIT's

  • putting their courses online for over 11 years,

  • and more recently we see things like course room ...

  • but it also means that is pretty boring

  • the knowledge bit is easy to access.

  • What's more interesting is ultimate ways to find community,

  • looking in incubator to see what things can surprise there,

  • and look in things like skill shelter

  • which enable people to create real world classes

  • and that's how decentralizing parts of the university.

  • The last and probably the most difficult part

  • of the university to decentralize is its secondary effect.

  • College is an effective function as a form of currency

  • to show as a proxy to employers that you're confident

  • and can accomplish something in the world,

  • but already if you want to be a programmer

  • or a designer in Silicon Valley,

  • you don't sent your resume and your transcript,

  • you upload your portfolio to a web site like

  • "Github" ,"Stack Overflow" (09:43) ....

  • and prove your knowledge through

  • contributing to that community to give

  • a kind of value with your work in real time.

  • Education is changing rapidly than we can possibly imagine,

  • and I think when most people talking about

  • changing the education system

  • they think about this in a wrong way,

  • the point that I want to drive home here is,

  • to me is not changing the education system,

  • it's about removing the education system.

  • 20 years in the future, there won't be an