Education and the McRib




Have you seen the McDonald’s McRib?  It makes its appearance on the McDonalds menu occasionally and people seem to flock to it.  McDonalds even has a special McRib club celebrating the sandwich. The club fan pages says “The club who loves the flavorful pork and tangy barbeque sauce of our favorite sandwich. We’re a discriminating group who don’t mind getting sticky.”

I saw a McRib commercial the other day, and it occurred to me that education today has a lot in common with the McRib.  The McRib is made up of processed meat, ground up and pressed into a mold so that it looks like actual ribs (bones and all which is a little disconcerting).  It is drenched in barbecue sauce, slapped on a patty with a few pickles and onion and sold as food.  It is made to look like something that is satisfying and fulfilling but it is really just a cheap, processed imitation of the real thing.  Education is looking more and more like a McRib these days, processed, standardized and made to look like something that is satisfying and doing it’s job. But really, this kind of education is only a cheapened imitation of the real thing.

The real thing is truly satisfying, always better than the imitation.



  1. I have just finished parent teacher conferences and I have had to explain why I teach the way I do..over and over again! Parents are used to the worksheet approach and I am hands on all the way! This post made me smile because it puts into words what I have been trying to tell my parents! Real learning is so filling and satisfying…good to the last bite!!
    Thanks for writing such an amazing post…I really needed to read that tonight!!

  2. Great post! I zeroed in on the last statement in the ad since it resonated with me: “We’re a discriminating group who don’t mind getting sticky”. There are deep parallels to this and being an effective educator.
    I’d like to think of myself as one who doesn’t mind “getting sticky” for the sake of the learners around me. I learned in a massive snowball fight as a kid that those on the front lines end up getting pelted the most. True leaders (in any profession) are the ones who go first and lead by example. Changes happen in sticky areas.
    If we want to be change agents in the current education field, then maybe we all need to be willing to go into the “sticky” areas with students more often. You’ve given me lots to think about today – Thanks for the reminder!

  3. I love this simile. One, because my husband loves the McRib, which is completely beyond my understanding. But your comparison to education nailed my growing frustrations over the last 8 to 10 years in the growing divide between what I do in my classroom and with my department members and what I’m “supposed” to do.

  4. Alot of things of our life depends on imitation like some chinese products .They try to imitate Japaneses products .but they can’t .Education especially in private school .They try to satisfy parents to pay money for what looks like great education.Great Post…

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