Voyager June 2019

June 13, 2019

Charles Bowden

Summertime is always the best of what might be.

Dear Learner-Centered Leaders,

Learner-centered education is an idea whose time has come. For the first time in history, what business, parents, higher education institutions, and kids want is what learner-centered education offers—confident, entrepreneurial, life-long learners who know their interests and passions and have the skills and dispositions to pursue them. The result is young people and adults who can make meaningful contributions to their communities, families, the economy, and our democracy.

With an idea that holds so much promise, why isn’t it sweeping the country? While it might be easy for you and me to imagine the possibilities a robust learner-centered ecosystem would provide, there are millions more who have never considered such a world. Although it’s natural for us to trust that all learners want to learn, and we know that when kids get to become who they want to be (rather than who we want them to be); they exceed all of our expectations. This is not the common belief among most people.

As movement leaders, it is our collective responsibility to demonstrate what learner-centered education can provide every young learner and every community in this country. So, how do we do it? At Education Reimagined, it is our belief that we must activate a transformational flywheel with four mutually reinforcing wings that enable creation and invention, rather than repetition of the past. These three wings are:

  1. Supporting learner-centered inventors to build proof of concept—full blown expressions of learner-centered education that enable learner-centered models to thrive;
  2. Creating the policy conditions to create the new models and new systems that enable the emergence of demonstrations all over the country; and
  3. Unleashing the latent public hunger in many parents and kids for learner-centered options.

This is not just a task for education leaders. This is a task for entire communities to embrace together. This belief is currently driving Education Reimagined’s desire to find 2-3 states that are ready to convene diverse stakeholders who want to keep that fly-wheel moving in their state. Only in this way can we develop the systemic proof of concept that will demonstrate what learner-centered education can produce when unconstrained by conventional barriers. Imagine communities producing the outcomes society most wants and needs that the current system design simply can’t deliver. Does your state fit the bill? Let us know!

As always, we are grateful for your courage and commitment to bringing this vision of learner-centered education to life for young people all across this country and world!

With love and gratitude,

Kelly Young