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.

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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and Learn Capital and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.

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