Chris Unger on A Revolution in Education

Key Points

  • We need to think of new incentivization models for driving innovation.

On this episode of the Getting Smart Podcast  Tom Vander Ark is joined by our friend Dr. Chris Unger, a Teaching Professor in the Graduate Programs in Education including the Doctor of Education program and author of the great new book A Revolution in Education: Scaling Agency & Opportunity for All

From an excerpt published on Getting Smart: 

“So, the call to action is clear:  To school and district leaders, classroom educators, policy actors, parents, and community members, the future of education is yours to pursue.  We can use many of the stories presented in the book and as evident elsewhere to help us pursue new designs.  The revolution has been and continues to be underway here and there, but we need it to grow everywhere.  Not slowly, and in only some communities.  Rather, we need the number to grow exponentially, and in all communities.  To do this, district and state policy actors need to be brave and figure out ways to incentivize and support the significant growth of agency-oriented schools.  We can’t keep hoping that a few will break the mold despite the circumstances.  We need the system to actively incentivize and support the development and growth of new designs.  Then we need school and district leaders to embrace the challenge, community members to advocate for the new designs, and then district and state policy actors to create the greenfield for such schools to take root and grow.  Fast.  

How many more generations of students should we lose to apathy, compliance, and the lack of skills and knowledge that can benefit them moving forward in their lives?  How much longer can we wait not taking advantage of the creativity of our educators and the possibilities of what we can do for our youth, our communities, and the world?  Let’s stop tinkering inside the current model – something our current schools are very good at – and re-vision the aims of our schools and how we can achieve those ends – toward agency and opportunity for all.”

Key Quotes: 

“How do you design your life and not just feel like life happens to you.”


Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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