Learning in the 21st Century

“There is powerful evidence that school reform will be inadequate to meet the needs of our economy and nation; school transformation is what will be required.”

  --Patrick Bassett, President of the National Association of Independent Schools (2001-2013)


The Future of Education, Now


The best schools today are not strikingly different than they were at the close of the 19th century. These schools were designed to indoctrinate students in a cultural literacy and prepare them for increasing specialization in order to be best suited for the industrialized world. Exposure to ever-larger amounts of content has been at the core of this model.

Defined by disruptive technology and pervasive globalization, the world of the 21st Century is radically different and calls for a markedly new approach to education. Traditional, static, hierarchical workplaces are rapidly evolving.  Now, the most successful professionals are defined by their ability to critically examine and sift massive quantities of information.  They are challenged to understand and empathize with a full spectrum of diverse backgrounds and perspectives.  They must be comfortable in the face of ambiguity and know how to strategically tackle deeply complex problems.  They need to be creative and entrepreneurial in constantly looking for ways to innovate and improve. Finally, they need to be able to employ all of those skills as engaged teammates in highly-collaborative workplace environments.

Thought leaders ranging from the President of the United States to CEOs of major corporations to respected researchers in the field of education are all issuing the same challenge: innovate schools now, or face global irrelevancy in the future.  Schools that are prepared to address this dissonance have an incredible opportunity to both provide a truly powerful, relevant education to their own students and to blaze a path for other schools to follow.