Saturday, August 3, 2013

#215 / The Superhero Pledge #2

About a year ago, the San Jose Mercury News did an article on the "Superhero Pledge." Frankly, I was underwhelmed by the concept, and was not very entranced by the idea that we now have a University  (Draper U) that bases its approach to education on the idea that all of its students should become self-promoting "superheroes." If you want to read my earlier comments, they are right here

Most recently, the San Francisco Chronicle has discovered Draper U. It ran an article on the school in its Sunday, July 28, 2013 edition. The Chronicle reprinted the "Superhero Pledge" in full:

Superhero Oath 
(Recited each morning by students of Draper University) 
I will promote freedom at all costs. 
I will do everything in my power to drive, build and pursue progress and change. 
My brand, my network, and my reputation are paramount.  
I will set positive examples for others to emulate. 
I will instill good habits in myself. I will take care of myself. 
I will fail and fail again until I succeed. 
I will explore the world with gusto and enthusiasm. 
I will treat people well. 
I will make short-term sacrifices for long term success. 
I will pursue fairness, openness, health and fun with all that I encounter. Mostly fun. 
I will keep my word. 
I will try my best to make reparations for my digressions. 
The Black Swan Clause: I am bound to this oath unless in my travels I determine that the oath has somehow missed something important and extraordinary. 
The Evangelism Clause: I will promote and add to the ongoing success of Draper University, its students, its faculty, its administration, and its facilities. I will help prepare the next generation of Superheroes. 
The Superhero Clause: I will accept the lifelong obligation to hone my Superhero powers, and apply those Superhero powers to the good of the universe.

I remain underwhelmed by Draper U and the "Superhero Pledge." 

In fact, I found a book review printed by the Chronicle on the same day to be a lot more helpful, and a lot more inspiring. George Packer's new book, The Great Unwinding, discusses the economic and social breakdown now afflicting the United States. This breakdown, according to Packer, has been caused by the fact that "the leaders of industry, commerce and finance in the United States have broken and discarded the fragile, unwritten compact previously existing during a past period of growth and progress."

In other words, the leaders of industry, commerce and finance (prominent among the supporters of Draper U) have written off the idea that we are "all in this together." That is not the right focus, says Draper U. Forget about cooperation and collaboration and that outmoded "social compact." Nowadays, everyone is on their own: "My brand, my network, and my reputation are paramount."

Not the education I want for my grandchildren! I want them to be citizens, not "superheroes."

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