Michael shares 5 key insights from his new book, From Reopen to Reinvent: (Re)Creating School for Every Child.
1. Think positive sum, not zero sum.
Our school structures are built on a historical legacy of sorting students out of the education system. This stems from a scarcity mentality—that there are only a few opportunities, so we must select those students who will benefit the most and discard the rest. Although this arrangement was once successful for society, in today’s knowledge economy—which prizes intellectual capital and works best when all individuals can develop their human potential—sorting no longer suffices. Nor is it necessary, given that today’s technology allows us to personalize learning in unprecedented ways. Opportunity is now abundant.
For instance, at Santa Rita Elementary School in the Los Altos School District in California, a fifth-grade student started the year at the bottom of his class in math. He struggled to keep up and considered himself one of those kids who would just never quite “get it.” In a typical school, he would have been placed in the bottom math group—because the system is built to sort, not support, students. That would have meant that he would not have taken algebra until high school, which would have negatively impacted his college and career choices.