From Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence: "The guiding visionary behind Project Specrum is Howard Gardner, a psychologist at the Harvard School of Education. "The time has come," Gardner told me, "to broaden our notion of the spectrum of talents. The single most important contribution education can make to a child's development is to help him toward a field where his talents best suit him, where he will be satisfied and competent. We've completely lost sight of that. Instead we subject everyone to an education where, if you succeed, you will be best suited to be a college professor. And we evaluate everyone along the way according to whether they meet that narrow standard of success. We should send less time ranking children and more time helping them to identify their natural competencies and gifts, and cultivate those. There are hundreds and hundreds of ways to succeed, and many, many different abilities that will help you get there." This is something I've given some thought to in recent years, regarding what it means to be "smart" and "capable" (at least in the United States). To me, there's a lot to be desired about the current model of education; in particular, the one-size-fits-all method of academia, which classifies certain subjects as "standard" and leaves others by the wayside. Should you fail to live up to one or more of those standards, you're considered a failure, to some extent. Quite simply, some areas of study are vastly overrated, and others are sorely neglected (or ignored entirely). Focus: Pretend you could do K-12 all over again. Which subjects would you devote more time to? Which ones would you want to take that aren't classified as "subjects" by conventional education (see examples below)? Alt. Focus: Which subjects would you gloss over or omit, and why? "Because I wasn't very good at them" isn't an entirely unreasonable response, but do elaborate if you can. I think that starting from an early age, every child would be well-served to be taught logic and reason. I'm sure I speak for many people when I say that the average young person today (and many older ones, as well) couldn't argue their way out of a paper bag. I'm not asking for a dictionary definition of the regression fallacy, but knowing how to ascribe the proper cause to an effect would do the world a lot of good. Another focal point that would be neat to see as part of standard education, would be one listed in the book itself: interpersonal skills. This is another area in which many people I know seem to lack, particularly in the advent of Facebook and other "social" media. Again, from Dr. Gardner: "Many people with IQs of 160 work for people with IQs of 100, if the former have poor intrapersonal intelligence and the latter have a high one. And in the day-to-day world no intelligence is more important that the interpersonal. If you don't have it, you'll make poor choices of who to marry, what job to take, and so on. We need to train children in the personal intelligences in school." These are just two off the top of my head, and I'm ignoring the feasibility of implementing them into the current U.S. education model, but hopefully it'll get the ball rolling towards other, similar ideas. Don't hesitate to think "outside of the box" (whatever that means).