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Temple Grandin is a cross-species hero. Her appearance at TED makes me wonder: what took them so long to invite her?

Her work with animals, particularly in the design of slaughterhouses, revolutionized the cattle industry. As an autistic, she is the living representation of what’s possible with what she calls “unique minds” – her passion is in direct opposition to the standardization that has strangled education in the US for decades.

The current economic landscape is driving school systems toward more standardization as budgets get slashed, particularly for the subjects that engage outlier minds: shop, art, music.

Einstein was likely an autistic-spectrum mind – probably Asperger Syndrome – so what does it mean for innovative thinking in our society that we’re taking non-standardized minds and forcing them down paths that will cut them off from their ability to think in new ways?

Sounds like the essence of cruelty. In fact, it’s intellectual slaughter. We’re forcing kids down chutes, prodding them toward the end of the track – in this case, a high school diploma, not a killing bolt to the forehead, but how many minds are killed by the process?

What can we do? Fight to keep visual and verbal arts in the curriculum for public schools, for one. Another would be to consider a 2nd or retirement career in the classroom, particularly if you’re a scientist or artist.

Be an innovative thinker yourself.

That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it…

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