Education is something we all know is very important for our future. However, talk of constructive steps tends to glaze over because of the complexity of the issues and variety of perspectives and interests. I cannot count how many times educators have expressed concern to me about how any changes might affect them, and very competent business leaders have thrown up their hands saying they don’t have time to delve into issues this complicated.
I want to share that, after several intensive years of research, site visits, interviews, and pilot activities, we have found that there is a strong consensus among leading national voices about the problem and what needs to be done. However, concise explanations are hard to find. I recently developed a summary paper that should help both educators and business leaders grasp that consensus. You can download it here: Education for the 21st Century A New Paradigm 31oct2014. I also encourage you to view the following video clip, which has stark quotes from several names you will recognize along with scenes from one leading implementation of the solution at High Tech High in San Diego.
The video is from Tony Wagner. Tony is Expert in Residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab, has written two books Creating Innovators and The Global Achievement Gap, and is one of the most prominent international speakers on education transformation. He fully endorsed the paper, and shared my frustration about how to get more educators on board. As Tony put it, “helping people reframe the education problem as one of reinvention, and not mere reform, is a huge and very challenging task”. This made me wonder again: Are we in the Lehigh Valley and Allentown stuck in reform mode, or are we ready to tackle reinvention?
Reinvention is never easy. We have an advantage over many communities in having people here who have already developed the experience to help pull this off. But reinvention of a core public institution cannot take place without strong leadership and drive from all key segments of the community. The opportunity is here now. What role will you play? Frankly, the future of a lot of kids, companies who need better skilled employees, and our region being more than a warehousing center depend on the answer from you and others.
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