Nearly every facet of society—from technology to jobs to demographics—has transformed over the last century. With that, the skills and mindsets people need to thrive have changed too. But in most schools across America, our students are sitting in classrooms that look and operate like those of a century ago. This design of schooling—known as the “industrial model”—persists throughout mainstream education.
Despite tireless efforts to squeeze every drop of value out of the current model as we can, most schools fail to prepare students sufficiently. In the fast-changing 21st century, our children need even more than academic skills and knowledge. They also need learning mindsets, creativity, communication and collaboration, critical consciousness, and leadership skills—skills that the industrial model was not designed to foster.
Together, these conditions call for fundamentally new learning environments. Tweaks around the edges of school won’t cut it.