Inflection Point

Fritjof Capra (systems thinker pre-Senge/Wheatley) said that we alway think that we’re at some kind of tipping point–but this week really feels like an inflection.  Here’s four pieces of evidence:

  • Voluntary national standards were released this week locking in the goal of giving every American student viable post secondary options. For a couple decades Marc Tucker has been talking about the goal of ‘college eligible without remediation,’ and we all finally caught up with him.
  • 35 states submitted apps for RttT last week. Less than a third will win, but going thru the motions (again) had value of imposing design principles, including high college/career ready standards, data, choice, and performance-based employment.
  • Grants totaling $350m will soon fund development of a new generation of assessments that will frame the next decade of education in America (and probably more important than the next reauthorization of ESEA).
  • A handful of small investments in second generation digital learning tools signals the beginning of the end of batch-print education and the dawn of digital personal learning.

Maybe it’s just a good night’s sleep, but put me in the optimistic column.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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