what school could be

what school could be.png

by Ted Dintersmith

if our desire is truly .. what school could be.. i guess it’s a good book..

i believe 8bn people have a desire/craving for .. what life could be.. so to that.. a frustrating book

we have the means to make a systemic change/leap ..let’s go there.. as it could be..

i would love to talk to you Ted (one of nation’s leading voices on innovation and ed – back jacket of book)


Janelle Holland (@jhollandglcs) tweeted at 4:46 AM – 8 Apr 2018 :

“If only we can find the courage to walk away from those eight miserable words “we have to be able to measure it.”” Thank you @dintersmith! Your book is amazing! Thanks for your courage, time and insight. (http://twitter.com/jhollandglcs/status/982932702520397824?s=17)

that would be good bye compulsory school, credentials as legit.. et al
ie: 7hr day .. 180 day yr.. so many credits.. pkg deal.. all measuring.. money is measuring..
i agree w that statement..  but i don’t think we grok the depth of our measuring ness..

on hold at library – thanks library





our children should study what’ important to learn, not what’s easy for you to test..

our children should study whatever they want.. undisturbed ecosystem..

let’s facil that

1 – conventional schools and their contexts


box: what the future could be: iot.. made to order breakfast from robot.. driverless car to go to meeting.. robots.. policing..? drones overhead..

wow.. doesn’t deal w equity at all.. steeped in consumerism.. we have to go deeper man

2 – real gold amid fool’s gold


across geographies, grades, school types, and socioeconomics, i came to appreciate that children thrive in learning environments that share four elements:

purpose: *students work on problems that are important to them and their community. they complete projects w real world impact that can be **displayed publicly. over time, student ***gain conviction that they can make a difference in their world. purposeful work build purposeful students

calling them *students is binding.. **displaying work as a standard.. can limit energy/aliveness.. (ask me.. i’ve seen it).. ***just like curiosity.. an undisturbed 5 yr old already has this..

essentials: like the *committee of ten did over a century ago, these **outstanding teachers understand the competencies and dispositions needed in the 21st cent.. creative problem solving, communication, collaboration, critical analysis, citizenship, and aspects of character. this profile serves as a north star guiding ***classroom learning and innovation..

*hope not like them  **no one does..unless we just boil it down to curiosity..  we need to let go of this control..  ***if they/we knew what was needed.. we wouldn’t still be in a classroom.. (hard to work toward antifragility and eudaimoniative surplus in a classroom)

agency: students have *voice in their work. starting at young ages, they learn to **set their goals, manage their efforts, assess their progress, and ***persevere to completion. as the learn how to learn, they ****free themselves of the need for formal instruction. personal agency can mean working at their own pace on a laptop, but it extends to their community as the teach, inspire, motivate, and learn from each other..

*not really.. (ask me.. i’ve seen it).. what you’re suggesting would be wonderful.. if we didn’t have the means to facil 7b voices/curiosities everyday.. and because we do have the means (as it could be).. what you’re suggesting is a broken feedback loop (kinder.. still broken)..  **these are killers..(ask me.. i’ve seen it) esp ***this one

****whoa.. there is no need for formal instruction.. maybe you mean detox.. from formal instruction..?

knowledge: students master deep knowledge. they teach others. their knowledge is reflected in the quality of what they create, build, make and design. guided by teachers, they acquire expertise on adjacent topics. *while their growing body of knowledge is organic and unpredictable, their understanding is deep, retained, and held to a high standard..

*organic..? unpredictable..? i don’t think so.. we need to let go a lot more for that to happen..

let’s just work on eudaimonia..  this isn’t a mechanical issue..

meadows undisturbed law..  we have to trust that.. if what you describe in peak worked.. it would have exponentially spread globally by now.. let go


box: what school could be:

children manage their learning.. projects that help them develop communication/reasoning along w core reading/math proficiency.. standardized test are used thoughtfully to id and asses student lagging in ‘learning how to learn’ skills

holy cow.. let go

curiosity is enough.. let’s facil that


if we trust teachers w the lives of our children, shouldn’t we trust them w a lesson plan?

if we trust kids/people.. we should trust (all of us) w no lesson plans..ie: no train

as i traveled.. to a person, the called for better ways to teach our teachers – the most direct path to modernizing our classrooms..

in the city.. as the day..

peak environments underscore a critical issue in ed: trust. if we don’t trust teachers/students, we won’t have peak. period.

i agree trust is the issue.. i would say peak isn’t there.. (obviously kinder than in the past.. but still not letting people be free people)

3 – prepared for what


the more society valued an elite uni credential, the better these graduates did

better as defined by ..?

harney domination law


all schools – in overt and *subtle ways – condition students to equate their worth w college outcomes, w parents piling on .. college isn’t just a goal for most students. it’s the goal for all students..

*worse/subtler than that.. we all perpetuate supposed to‘s..

meaning .. even the nicest.. most innovative.. loving people.. in whatever their role/title they’ve/you’ve chosen for them.. isn’t letting go enough.. we’re all ongoingly disturbing the system.. until we let go enough.. ie: you’re doing the same in this book.. and i only say this snark.. because we have the means today for a systemic change.. a do over..


the school has a history of student suicides that spike when student receive their sat scores, early decision letters, and regular acceptance letters..

the death of us


*who should determine what we **prepare children for? who defines a child’s ***success?

*no one..**no prep..  ***redefining success.. flavors.. of eudaimonia

cheyenne wy.. wanting prep purpose to be military


charlotte, nc.. not your typical school.. it’s org’d in to 5 career academies: 1\ bio/health/public-admin  2\ exec leadership and entrepreneurial devel  3\ tech/entrepreneurship and adv manufacturing  4\ math/engineering, tech, science  5\ school of arts and tech

*it’s hard to imagine any teenager not interested in at least one

whoa.. *that statement shows an incredible bias to your year long trip.. this book.. your films.. wow

i can imagine tons of teenagers not interest in them.. probably all teenagers.. and all people.. if they/we had the free space to be honest.. (ask me.. i’ve seen it) we load everything up w assumptions and pkg deals..  and then ask people if they like our offering in spaces where they/we feel the need to be voluntarily compliant..

all paths are respected

as long as they head to college or career..? because i don’t think you’re talking about paths to eudaimonia.. which is what the world needs most..


tony monfiletto: plan backward from what our industry partners need. we have *industry people pitch ideas to our schools, and teacher s partner w them to create projects

missing out if not from daily curiosities.. *industry projects aren’t deep enough



jag’s scalable impact is a big deal as they work to ensure that every student, irrespective of socioeconomic level, can reach a run on the economic ladder



standardize tests can evaluate low level reading and math capabilities, helping ensure that children are ‘learning how to learn’



if successful, the coalition( w portfolios et al) could restore authenticity to high school and align ‘college ready’ w ‘life ready’



well carted interdisciplinary projects don’t map onto a traditional transcript but align w the mastery transcript. no more trade offs between better learning and a better transcript..

begs we go hlb to align with life

4 – the ivory tower


our best path to leveling society’s playing field is to make the high school diploma meaningful.. award credit for demonstrated competency and real word experience.turn the world upside down..

what..? holy cow.. a diploma.. as best path..? in 2018?


eric mazur



upside in our grasp, if we can find the courage to walk away from those eight miserable words: ‘we have to be able to measure it’

cool.. agree.. but if you’re assuming pkg deals.. and basic skills.. and classrooms and diplomas.. and… et al.. you are measuring..

5 – letting go

mostly on parents letting go

6 – social equity


if our goal is to close a gap measure by standardized tests, we should give up. these tests reflect the *parent’s motivation, not the child’s. consider a more meaningful **achievement gap: how students ***perform on messy real world problems that require resourcefulness, out of the box thinking, doggedness, and staring down failure.. ****authentic challenges get at a child’s competencies, character, and *****intrinsic motivation – more than the parent’s commitment..

*i don’t know we can pin it on parents..  i don’t think anyone is truly motivated by test scores.. it’s a symptom of our systemic disturbance..

**achievement isn’t meaningful if we’re going for eudaimonia.. most things that matter you can’t see.. can’t measure..

***looking to performance is disturbance to the ecosystem

****outside challenges are not truly authentic to the person.. we just want to believe they are

curiosity is what gets at *****intrinsic motivation


if we aligned school w life.. could we elevate learning for all kids.. while closing an authentic achievement gap..

if we facilitated daily curiosity.. for 7bn people (level the opp/equity gap – everyone getting a go everyday) .. we’d quit talking achievement gap


this day (on selma bridge) made me question what i was questioning..  when i set out in sept i was focused on pedagogy.. but what if this issue is deeper..



education has become the modern american caste system.. we bemoan the achievement gap but dwell on the wrong ‘achievement’ and the wrong ‘gap’… *achievement should be based on challenging real world problems.. the gap we need to face is how much more we **spend to ed our rich children than our poor..

*achievement itself is the wrong question/focus

**gap is in equity (everyone getting a go everyday).. focus on money and you’ll just keep focusing/perpetuating money.. w/nothing to do w equity

7 – human potential


does school develop human potential or rank it

we don’t need to develop human potential.. we just need to listen to what it needs (tribe/resources).. facil that.. then get out of the way.. meadows undisturbed law

every school day attacks a dyslexic’s sense of worth

i’d say that’s true for all people.. ie: socrates supposed to law


everything changes if school is about projects, big ideas, and curiosity

not everything.. or we’d have global equity by now.. i’d suggest everything could change if life was about cure ios city.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]


she wondered if our ed model is contributing to our nations’ drug addiction epidemic

of course.. but it’s not going to help to change our ed model.. what it keeps us from is authentic connections.. and today we have the means to facil the ginormity of that kind of chaos.. ie: as it could be..


email: ‘please don’t stop what you’re doing. i speak on behalf of every high school students. they *deserve to love what they do.. these were the notes that made everyday of my trip an honor

i appreciate that you care so much.. but what you’re doing isn’t going to get us to where hs students get to do what they love.. mainly because it has to be all of us.. it’s not only that everyone *deserves to love what they do.. the world needs 7 bn people doing what they love.. that’s how one ness works.. that’s the undisturbed ecosystem..


during my travels, i kept coming back to the issues of tech, curriculum, human potential and social equity


flanagan: *there are no bad boys. there is only bad environ, bad training, bad ie, bad thinking

*indeed.. we have to assume good.. of 100% of us.. then i’d stop at.. there is only bad environ.. meaning: meadows undisturbed law.. because if the ecosystem is undisturbed.. we don’t need training et al


blackburn’s members: this si the first think i’ve ver graduated form in my life

thinking graduation or ged or whatever is a measure we should celebrate .. strive for.. is a killer/disturbance

8 – doing (obsolete) things better


as an experienced businessperson, i can assure state leaders that the best path to business growth comes from high quality schools that produce graduates ready for the workforce and that attract businesses and families to the state

that’s our goal..? business growth..?



i challenge them to brainstorm about ways to make milwaukee’s schools better than finland’s in 10 years

wow..  you have no idea what our potential is today .. right..?


i met many (tfa) on this trip.. most told me that they got a lot out of their tfa experience but weren’t sure their students did. . i see a bigger issue w the tfa model.. they recruit people who excelled in conventional school and want the same for their students.. i saw this unquestioned commitment to academic hoop jumping in most schools.. districts. .and states led by tfa alumni..


brené: when it comes to education, if you can measure it, it probably doesn’t matter


9 – doing better things


we’ve struggled to scale our successes (in us ed) largely due to confusion about what to scale..

scale curiosity.. just that


america’s greatness comes from tis creativity, drive, and pioneering spirit. . our form of govt affords people the latitude to pursue their passions..

how do you figure that..?

during the cold war, we saw the power of these organizing principles when the us faced off against the centrally planned ussr.. history leaves no doubt about which model brings out the best in its population

wtf..? your ie is about war..? for bringing out the best in a population..?


john dewey: give the pupils something to do not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; earning naturally results

i don’t agree with that.. esp today when we have the means for a better way (do something better)..ie: listen to 7bn voices/curiosities.. everyday.. and facil that..



the role of intrinsic motivation has been completely lost in our schools

when did school ever facil intrinsic motivation..? we’ve never had the means before..


one washington state district regularly asks its students, teachers, principals, admin: 1\ do you feel safe at school, 2\ is there someone sr to you you can talk to when you have a concern, 3\ do you have pride in your school, 4\ would you recommend your school to a friend, 5\ is the work you are assigned meaningful, 6\ do you look forward to coming to school each day…   our ed system spends billions of dollars collecting data precisely measuring student progress on material they’ll probably never use. few schools gather data on important questions like these.. something they can do for free w survey monkey

i know tons of schools that do those surveys.. most don’t feel free enough to answer them legit.. often considered a joke/waste.. by many

Ted.. why can’t your – do something better – be beyond school..?


oscar: adults long ago put someone on the moon.. do you think adults can work together to make our schools great?

Ted.. the moon: short via  2 convos..

as it could be


pam moran and john hunter


10 – it takes a village


iowa big – co founded by shawn cornally – credit for mastery.. students develop their work plan, organize it into tasks . faculty track progress and hold them accountable for completing work..

thinkthankthunk: http://monkblogs.blogspot.com/search?q=thinkthankthunk


sir ken and oklahoma



remake learning – *using city as platform to enhance learning experiences..  **system of credentials and badges..

*cool  **not cool



again and again, adults would share: ‘you know nowadays a child that gets interested in something and becomes an expert in a matter of days’…. this simple staggering observation is knocking on the front door of every school in america.. time to let it in..

no.. time to let them/us out..

let’s just listen to and facil curiosity.. for everyone…we need everyone.. and everyone needs to be set free

a new vision: *trusted classrooms and **organic learning and ***life ready

let’s try *trusted people  .. and if we want **organic learning we have to let go enough to get us back to our undisturbed ecosystem..  which has nothing to do with school as institution..  because we would all be ***living .. revolution of everyday life..


(on a speech americans are longing for) ending with: let us once again have the courage to transform our schools, to launch our children into lives of purpose, to unleash their potential to create a better future for all..

most of it sounded like things we’ve been hearing for years..  how about this: let’s be brave enough to let go.. and try life as it could be..


oscar, don’t give up on us.

if you mean that.. dear Ted, ask me what i’ve seen


as it could be..

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way