SkilStak is Not a School

I’m not a school. In fact, I find the term offensive when others use it to explain what I do. SkilStak is a learning community. I have members, not students; sessions, not classes; blocks, not semesters; output and mastery metrics, not grades, certificates, and diplomas; conversations, not parent-teacher conferences.

The terms “teacher” and “student” are broken. They imply a transitive relationship whereby the “teacher” injects the “student” with learning. It’s never worked that way. The most accurate term is facilitator when the person doesn’t have expertise themselves who is assisting with the learning, or mentor if that person has deep mastery of what is being learned. The fact that these accurate terms are viewed as “weird” says a lot about our society.

The responsibility for learning begins and ends with the person doing the learning. Everyone else is just there to help that happen.

Schools don’t work and never have. Communities of learning that happen to be located at schools do.

🤪 There are a lot of people who think I am absolutely crazy for suggesting these things. But these notions are backed by science and personal experience. I have the luxury of promoting a leaning environment that actually works and doesn’t burn out both the “teachers” and “students” and, in my experience, this upsets a lot of people — especially those being paid to promote the status quo. I have had “students” who signed up for “schools” after coming here vent to me — one nearly threw his laptop during an irrelevant, traditional course — because once someone has experienced real learning they are very intolerate of anything else — especially when it comes with a price tag of $800 a “credit hour” (another stupid construct).

Socrates didn’t run a “school” and vehemently denies ever having received money for guiding and mentor those he accepted into his learning community.

If I could remove the burden of payment I would. I constantly seek to discover ways to lower my costs so that more can enjoy membership in my community rather than only those who can afford it.

Payment for education is one of the most broken aspects of our society. Free learning from those who have acquired the skills and knowledge is a human right.

Moreover, though some Americans would shoot me for saying so, those who have achieved mastery have a social obligation to share what they know. That means everyone, not just “teachers.”

Look at every other intelligent species on the planet. They all follow this. Only humans have invented excess, copyrights, patents, greed, and knowledge hording for money. Americans don’t even have free college (unless you live in New York), while almost every other nation does. This is absolutely absurd. It’s not “communist” to suggest all humans have a right to learn enough to become gainfully employed in a profession from those who are.

“Why don’t you have grades, certificates, or diplomas?”

Because they are brain-dead stupid artifacts of a completely broken system based on a fundamental lie, that mastery can somehow be achieved, documented, and ignored. Mastery is fluid and must be constantly maintained. No one is ever done learning.

Your projects and a polished portfolio are your proof of your skills. They are all you ever need to show for your learning. Everything else is useless — yes even your big fancy university degrees. Just because a university remains the best place to gain certain skills and knowledge does not make it the only place. [The CEOs of Apple, IBM, Google, and others agree.]