Education Week: Ted on ‘What’s Actually Working in the Classroom’
“A few years ago, I connected some dots. As a venture capitalist for most of my career, I have devoted my energy and funds more recently to helping schools rethink education. I recognized that machine intelligence is racing ahead, wiping out routine jobs, and reshaping the competencies students will need to thrive in an innovation era. Yet, our test-driven education system seems to prioritize low-level skills, rather than creativity, curiosity, and audacity—all of which are critical. Absent profound changes in our schools, children’s futures are in jeopardy.
Many business-minded innovators are quick to offer opinions about schooling without doing their homework. Given education’s complex and disparate constituencies, I didn’t want to become one of those people. So I’ve been talking to the people closest to education to understand what we can learn from their successes and struggles. I began showcasing examples of innovative schools in my 2015 documentary “Most Likely to Succeed.” And then, for the entire 2015-16 school year, I traveled to all 50 states, visited 200 schools, and met people from every nook and cranny of the education system.
I listened to and learned from thousands of teachers and students across the full spectrum of America’s classrooms—public, charter, and private; urban, suburban, and rural; low-income to wealthy districts. What I discovered is that amidst all the chatter about education’s desperate state, there are many educators preparing kids for a world of innovation. And other educators need to pay attention to the conditions that let these powerful learning experiences blossom.”