Educating the American Future explores why America needs an alternative education system based on a detailed plan of multiple schools networked as representatives of The New American Commonwealth School.
My book argues that American education has reached a stage in which its two century old management practices should not prevent the creation of other systems comprising different organizational structures and different deliverables. Pragmatism tells us that we need to do something to achieve a more predictable, equitable, and prosperous future. The political rhetoric of educational “change,“ heard, implemented, and reversed every four year, can be replaced with education practices that welcome and help solve the changing needs of American life. This is called existential learning. The test of any new education system should not be limited to percentages or averages of correct answers or high GPAs but to whether classroom knowledge transferred into the community achieves individual and community value by enhancing the social good.
Put more precisely, it is time for a new adventure in American education that provides real and tangible community service opportunities for students, parents, teachers and community supporters. What we don’t need is an habitual reliance on an arcane system that continues chugging away largely unaware of where it is going and what it is doing to the American future. It’s time to take the educational spotlight off the individual student and illuminate community needs, from focusing on grade point averages to how a learning community of students, teachers and concerned citizens plan and solve future drinking water needs, become an 100% energy autonomous community, or reduce infrastructure costs or how to reduce community pollution. The real test in education is its relevancy to our students, our communities, our country and to the Earth rather than to a set of obsolete metrics. Educators may disagree, but schools that do not translate knowledge into social capital may ironically become dinosaurs largely blind to their fate.