Guiding Principles and Insights
Learn to Be. Learn to Know. Learn to Do.
Education should be an experience that fosters the unique potential of every student. Unfortunately, today’s system instead focuses more on the rote process of schooling—telling students to sit quietly and memorize information. The result is students who lack the critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing world. It also fails our nation’s teachers, many of whom spend an average of 45 school days each year prepping for and administering standardized tests rather than engaging students in rich curriculum based on their needs.
We’re working to change that by supporting educators who provide a three-dimensional learning experience. Learn to be means students identifying their unique aptitudes. Learn to know means acquiring the knowledge necessary to turn those aptitudes into valued skills. Learn to do means students apply what they’ve learned to contribute to society. All three are necessary to developing the critical thinking skills required to succeed in a 21st century economy.
We want to empower teachers to apply their own passions and aptitudes to help guide students along their journey of learning.
An “All-of-the-Above” Approach to Increasing Opportunities in Education
Much of today’s education debate misses the point: It shouldn’t be about where students go to school. It should be about how to best meet each student’s own unique needs. It’s why we’ve united with teachers representing various educational options that provide three-dimensional learning opportunities to students across the country—whether it be public or private, charter or home school, four-year college degrees or vocational training, or anything else.
That includes Matt Silverthorne, a K-12 teacher who brought entrepreneurship classes to his high school nearly 30 years ago and continues teaching today. It also includes state-of-the-art online programs like OpenStax that utilize adaptive technology to help students identify their strengths and close learning gaps. It includes programs like SkillsUSA that—alongside Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” fame—encourage more students to attend trade schools, transforming their strengths into valued skills that are in high demand.
Students and teachers are experimenting with various learning methods—and we want to ensure all students have access to whichever educational option is best able to help them succeed.
Educational opportunities must be available to all students, regardless of their zip codes or family income levels.
Expanding Access to More Options
The growth of so many new educational models presents enormous opportunities for students to find which is best suited for them. Yet barriers deny access to many of them. Low-income families in particular face limited options. Public policies cap enrollment or altogether ban charter schools. Higher education leaves the average student more than $30,000 in debt, and many vocational schools lack sufficient funding to meet growing demand.
Particularly in a country as prosperous and technologically advanced as ours, we’re working to remove these and other barriers currently in place.
That includes helping pass public policy reforms that make more options available for every child. It includes leveraging technology to expand access to Advanced Placement high school courses by providing free digital textbooks to schools and districts that otherwise could not afford them. And it includes utilizing online platforms to scale programs like Youth Entrepreneurs to reach far more students than a brick-and-mortar approach.
These are just a few examples of how we are expanding access to education. Given the advances in technology and innovation, we are on the cusp of transforming education like never before.