Rethinking Education

This week’s letter will be more like an Outside the Box than a Thoughts from the Frontline.I am feeling under the weather, and while I can read and move around somewhat, I am really not thinking all that well and am not up to wasting your time writing a letter that neither you nor I will be happy with.

Thankfully, my friend Peter Diamandis sent a letter detailing his vision of the future of education, and I want to share it with you. I have been struck by the number of times in the last year when, as I begin to talk about the problems our society will face in the coming years – especially as regards the future of work –someone says “The answer is more education.”

I don’t want to be glib, but our educational system is largely a failure in producing children and young adults ready for the future. Why we would think that more of that would be useful? What we need to do is completely rethink the whole concept of what we call education. I will admit to being somewhat at a loss, having read many treatises and essays on changing education, but finding nothing that really brings it together.

Peter lives and breathes the future. I attended his executive seminar at Singularity University many years ago – an experience I highly recommend – and he has spoken at my conference. He is the founder of the XPRIZES and so much more – the accolades would take a full page. Go to his wiki page if you’re curious.

I am going to reproduce his letter with few edits, and though it is a little longer than our usual Outside the Box, it is unusually thoughtful and thought-provoking. If you are interested in what education must and will become, here is a good place to start. And so, without further ado, here’s Peter.

Reinventing Our Kids’ Education

By Peter Diamandis

This week, Bill Gates announced his plan to invest almost $1.7 billion into reforming U.S. public education over the next five years.

Of that sum, he allocated 25 percent to “big bets – innovations with the potential to change the trajectory of public education over the next 10 to 15 years.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of education – both for my two 6-year-old boys and the employees of my companies.

This is a topic I’ll cover in depth at Abundance 360 in January in Beverly Hills. My guest presenters are Sebastian Thrun, co-founder of Udacity; Max Ventilla, CEO of AltSchool; and Carin Watson, EVP of Learning & Education at Singularity University.

Earlier this year, I wrote a whitepaper on how I would reinvent K-12 education for an exponential world. You can read my thoughts below – or download it here:

I started asking myself, given the fact that most elementary schools haven’t changed in decades (maybe longer), what do I want my kids to learn? How would I reinvent elementary school during an exponential era?