LISTEN — Class Disrupted S3 E2: What Schools Should Teach

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Class Disrupted is a bi-weekly education podcast featuring author Michael Horn and Summit Public Schools’ Diane Tavenner in conversation with educators, school leaders, students and other members of school communities as they investigate the challenges facing the education system amid this pandemic — and where we should go from here. Find every episode by bookmarking our Class Disrupted page or subscribing on Apple Podcasts, Google Play or Stitcher (new episodes every other Tuesday).

With fiery debates taking place around the country on teaching Critical Race Theory and how to address learning loss, what schools teach is front and center in the news and on people’s minds. In this episode of Class Disrupted, Diane Tavenner and Michael Horn take the excuse to broaden the conversation and speak to what schools should be teaching and offer a variety of frameworks throughout. In particular, they zero in on how schools should be teaching habits of success, academic skills, and knowledge in an interdependent, rather than siloed, way — and how that should inform the curriculum for each student.

Listen to the episode below. A full transcript follows.

Diane: Welcome to the 2021 school year. At this point, everyone is back in school in some shape or form and what a year it’s going to be.

Michael: Couldn’t agree more. Seeing you in person for our last episode was an amazing highlight in the summer Diane. As we jumped back into our routine for this third season now over Zoom, the last two episodes juxtaposed together, I think are both a reminder of what we’ve lost and also how much we’ve gained through all this, with you in California and me in Massachusetts. We probably never would’ve started this podcast, had it not been for the pandemic. And so that’s a silver lining because it’s been a ton of fun. And for our listeners tuning in, please, please send us emails. If you have questions that you would like us to cover or topics that you’re curious for our take on, as we really start to go down this path for a third season, because after we launched Class Disrupted at the start of the pandemic, hoping that, despite all of the pain of this moment, that this major disruption to our education system could be a catalyst for redesigning our schools so they can truly serve all students and communities.

We’ll be the first to admit, we didn’t think that this would be going into a third school year or a third season of Class Disrupted, but here we are. And we continue to be hopeful that there are opportunities and amidst this dreadful experience and that we don’t have to let this moment go to waste. We’re going to be dedicating season three to a really deep and nuanced exploration of exactly what needs to be redesigned in schools. And we’re going to take a big question approach if you will, to this and explore learning and teaching from the who, what, where, when, why, and how frameworks of questions that we’re all familiar with.

Diane: Michael, that’s such a great intro to the season and a perfect intro into this week, because we want to start right in by diving into questions about what kids should be learning. We’re here because this question seems to be on everybody’s mind right now for at least two reasons. The first being critical race theory. What we’ve seen over the last several months is a national debate unfold that so far has resulted in, best I can count, eight states passing legislation that in some way bands or restricts the teaching of critical race theory and or the concepts associated with it, 20 or so other states have introduced or put placeholders in for similar legislation. And there’s been federal and local school board activity all across the country related to this. So interestingly, the country is actually debating what kids should be learning in school. And then the second is another hot topic. This one is labeled Learning Loss, which has many, many people debating what schools should be teaching this year to students who either through testing or some other measure are assumed to have missed or lost learning. The conventional approach would have these students being taught remedial or lower grade level material, but many people are asserting that the best approaches are to accelerate teaching, again, an active, hot debate in the country right now about what kids should be learning.

Michael: And as often as the case, these things are political footballs of a variety of teams. But I’ve got some bad news for our listeners or maybe some good news, depending on your perspective, that we aren’t actually going to talk about either of those debates today in and of themselves. And in fact, I would argue it’s a bit hard to even summarize them because as we’ve talked, Diane, we both have significant concerns and issues with how they’ve even been framed and presented and discussed. But it is important to note that as a result of all of these debates, we do have a country that is at least on some level, really paying attention to what kids are learning right now.

Diane: And we will take that as an invitation to dig in on that, Michael. We couldn’t be happier that people are talking about that. When you and I think about and talk about redesigning schools to truly prepare all students for a good life, one of the key considerations is what they need to learn while they’re in school. Let’s dig in on the “what,” and I think there’s a few things we need to do here in order to consider redesigning the system to what we want it to be.

If you’re going to redesign something, first you actually have to see the system as it is. You have to see it and understand it. And we also need to have a point of view about what it could be. We have to create a vision, we have to paint a vision for what it could be. Let’s see if we can do a little bit of both today, but let’s start with the latter by playing what I call the magic wand game. We do this often when we are redesigning in order to really expand our thinking. And basically what we do is we remove all constraints, rules, existing assumptions by literally pretending that we’re starting school from scratch. So in doing so, let’s ask ourselves, what would we want kids to learn in our brand new redesign school?

Michael: I’m game, Diane. Let’s get started with this. Now I’ll confess that coming from the lens that I do to education topics, in an innovation perspective and so forth, I’m certainly not an expert on this topic, but I’ve also learned a great deal through the years. And so, one of those things I’ve learned is to listen to folks who have thought a lot about this topic. So before I jump in with my thoughts, I want to know what’s on your list?

Diane: Well, I thought you’d never ask, Michael, so I’m happy to start, but don’t sell yourself too short. Not only have you learned a lot, but you’re a parent as well. And I just want to point out that one of the things we collectively should be doing is amplifying the perspective of parents when we are redesigning schools. And to that very point, I’m going to kick us off with a category that I usually call habits of success. It’s alternatively called a range of things from building blocks, to life skills, and a whole variety of things. But, essentially on my list, what I think kids should be taught and learning in school begins with relationship skills, social skills, planning, organization, self-direction, curiosity, endurance, perseverance, giving and getting feedback, self-awareness and regulation and of course reflection.

Michael: I just want to pause here before you keep going for two reasons. One, a lot on your list is why people have written books about everything that I needed to learn, I learned in kindergarten. Because a lot of the topics you just listed are what we think of is really that entry level curriculum into schooling. And that’ll come back in a moment. But the second thing I want to do is, I’ve personally come to believe that this is incredibly important, all that you listed, but I’ll also surface some concerns around this one, so we’re not a total echo chamber. Mike Goldstein, who also started and used to run a network of charter schools, MATCH in the Boston area, for those that know. He has held a number of interesting roles in the world of education since, including internationally with Bridge International, has said that he’s suspect about this one, because there’s a good deal of evidence that schools don’t teach these habits well.

My own take on that is that schools haven’t historically done a lot of things well. But that doesn’t mean that we think they shouldn’t be on the hook for teaching, say, core academic skills or that just because it hasn’t gone well, it can’t be done well or that it shouldn’t be done. This is a broader challenge with data. It’s always backward looking, but good sound theory can point a better way forward, I think, but that’s a digression for another time, because the things that you listed are incredibly important for life success, and they have an increasing amount of research behind them. And as far as I can tell, schools like yours, Diane, seem to have cracked the nut on how to make progress in these areas. And part of this, I suspect is your structure, summit is a mastery and competency based model.

So a lot of these skills are reinforced, not just through asking students to do what I say is important, but to actually watch what I do, you model it, everything that you do. And so the actions align with the rhetoric. And then the second thing is that these habits of success shouldn’t be taught as something extra on the plate of teachers. One more thing that you’ve got to do or a simple slogan or as a side dish, which I think is how a lot of schools often treat these habits and character skills. And it also induces a lot of eye-rolling among parents sometimes when you do it that way. But if you teach them interdependently with the academic skills and knowledge, then it’s not an add on or an afterthought or something that’s replacing academics. In fact, it’s reinforcing them, it’s synergistic with them.

It’s what we do well in kindergarten and forget sometimes as students get older. And that’s why I think historically, it’s induced that eye-rolling or the reactions of a Mike Goldstein, because they’ve been done separately and in ways that haven’t been authentic.

Last thought, Diane, just really quickly, because I think it will come up, which is people will note that the research says these habits are very predictive of life success, but only after individuals have a certain baseline of knowledge and skills that people love to point that out. If you don’t have certain academic knowledge, these skills, grit, perseverance, they’re all well and good, but they don’t amount to anything. But if we’re now talking and having a conversation about these habits being taught in the context of academic knowledge and skills, well, then this also becomes an academic quote unquote conversation, if you will, because we’ll do both and we’ll help the academic acquisition be more effective. Thanks to these habits.

Diane: As I suspected, Michael, you know a lot about what is important to teach and you raised some really good questions, but also some critical points that I just want to emphasize. So first, the evidence is clear that every skill I listed is in fact a skill, which means it’s teachable. This was a question mark for a long time. So I think it’s really important to highlight this. Skeptics need to come to terms with the reality that schools have been expecting and assessing these skills for at least a century without actually teaching them, and talk about setting kids up for failure. We essentially say, we expect you to be able to do all of these things, but we aren’t going to show you how to do them. And we know that many or most of you don’t have a way to learn them somewhere else. And if you don’t know them, you will struggle on the next bucket of things where we’re about to talk about, the traditional academic skills, but we’re still going to expect that you know them. In my view, a school that is redesigned for success, has to find a way to teach these habits of success to all kids, full stop.

Second, I just want to underline a really critical point you made, which is, the evidence is also clear that they are interdependent with what we normally think of as important to learn in school. These aren’t a side dish, as you said, they are part of the main course and need to be taught in an integrated way. We aren’t piling more on in our newly designed school. We’re actually integrating something that has always been assumed, but not explicit.

And we can do so in really elegant ways in our newly designed school. I think a really great example of this from just this last week, Michael, is what Summit’s Director of Whole Child Development, Jewell Bachelor is working on. She is co-designing with our school leaders, as well as other members of our academic team, a tool set and coaching guide to support our practices for bringing students back into school after being physically out for over a year. And there is so much to talk about here, but I want to point to two aspects that really speak to what you’ve been detailing, Michael. First, the guide begins with asking educators to reflect. Reflection is one of the key habits of success. It lies at the heart of learning and it is a skill all of our children need.

To your point, the first thing we do is ask educators to do it, do as I do. Second, people might be surprised that the guide is grounded in the academic skills that we know our students need. There is no distance or separation in the work that the Director of Whole Child Development is doing. These are a totally integrated experience. And then finally, I just want to point out that most people agree that the habits of success are the skills you need in life over and over again, adults, employers, colleagues, everyone speaks to these skills as the “real life skills” that will enable them to function and be successful. We get eye-rolling there, Michael, because people are like, “Everyone knows you need these, but they don’t happen in school.” And so, assuming everyone isn’t wrong, then it seems to me that our newly designed school needs to prioritize and teach them.

Michael: Amen.

Diane: That was pretty intense as it should be, but habits aren’t the only “what” we should be teaching in a redesigned school. So let’s move next to a more traditional category, academic skills. And I’m going to kick us off with a pretty short list here, Michael. I’ve only got four things on it, reading, communication problem-solving and metacognition, or thinking about your thinking or how you learn.

Michael: I love this list. It’s shorter than I expected. But I may add a couple, but this is an area where I’ve evolved a lot in my thinking, because initially, it was easy to say skills are context dependent. So my ability to communicate in the realm of education or innovation is quite high. Whereas if I got into Google and their product development for something super-intense with artificial intelligence, I’d be somewhat helpless to communicate because I wouldn’t have the background knowledge and so forth. But what I think I’ve evolved to is that if we’re clear on what these different skills mean. So we say communication, the core tenants are, these five things or whatever it might be. Then as we build academic knowledge, we do so through a framework of the skill, so that as I go into any arena, as I learn anything new, I’m doing so with intentionality around communication and so forth.

The second thing I’ll just highlight is that reading is also one of these skills. And that’s incredibly important as a foundation. You learn to read and that’s the big set of skills. And then there are some other skills, of course, as you continue to read around how to identify certain passages and certain techniques and the illusions and things like that, but your ability to read and get the main idea from a passage or think critically, does become much more about your knowledge, which we’ll get into, but reading itself, there’s so much evidence of how to teach reading and get that skill really strong in the first few years of a child’s academic experience. And we don’t do it all that well, Diane today.

Diane: Michael, there’s a reason that reading was at the top of my list. And you’re really tapping into those reasons. You might not know this, but I was a reading teacher early on, but more important than that, reading is at the top of the list because I do believe, like you, that it is at the heart of the academic skills schools should be teaching all the way from our youngest learners all the way through high school. Some people think it just stops after a child initially learns to read, but that is not true. As we’ve shared before, schools across the country — and you just alluded to it — are truly failing students right now in the early years, by not ensuring that they learn to read. When those test scores come out about the number of fourth graders in our country who cannot read, this should be an emergency for everyone.

Primarily because it’s a solvable problem, it is in my view, what elementary schools should be completely focused on nailing. The fact that we’re not doing that right now needs to be addressed in our redesigned schools. It just has to be a non-negotiable that every child learns to read. And it doesn’t stop there. Once they’ve learned to read, as you just said, they need to continue to develop their reading skills, to read evermore challenging material, and for a variety of purposes. It’s also important to note here that the critics of skills-based approaches to school (I know it seems very strange that there are critics of skills-based approach to learning. Maybe there’s better names for them, but anyway) they point out that reading is dependent upon knowledge of what you’re reading about. What you just alluded to Michael, and so there is a truth, and there’s certainly a connection there, but the more that you know about the world, the better reader you are, because you know the content of what you’re reading. It enables you to be a better reader, but just like the habits list, these things are completely intertwined.

And so the pulling apart, dissecting, and preferencing one over the other is where we get into a problem. And so an elegant school design is going to come by integrating.

Michael: Totally. I want to come back to this more when we get into the academic knowledge piece. Cause I also think it suggests yet another way all these things are interdependent that we don’t have to make them so atomized if you will, in our school design. So, we’ll come back to this in a moment. For now, I’ll actually say, Doug Lemov has a great book called Reading. I think that’s the name of it, that I highly recommend folks check out, because I think it does a good job of talking, balancing if you will, the knowledge aspect with all the other skills and tactics that are critical as students age up. I could say, I might have a different list of tactics because of my schooling model might look different on the ground, but I think the principles are actually helpful there.

Michael: I also want to just tee off a couple other things, you add communication and I would add problem solving, critical thinking, maybe even creativity to that list, Diane. And this is where people get, I think in a lather, if you will, because they quickly say, “Well, creativity, what the heck does that mean?” And I think it’s why it’s so critical for any school that’s tackling these skills to be super clear about what it is that you mean, that as you’re learning new knowledge and progressing from a novice to an expert, that the goal of the curriculum should explicitly be in building these schools with the ultimate goal being that as you learn a new field, you actually start to take these frameworks and actively use them. And critical thinking, I think is a great example around this. There’s a great book out from MIT press by Jonathan Haber, called Critical Thinking.

Also Minerva University, that we’re both on the board of and your son is a student there, has done a lot of work to codifying what are these skills made up of. They’ve written an entire book about building the intentional university on this topic. If you’re explicit about that, as you’re learning math, for example, Jonathan Haber does a great job of showing how, as we learn math, we don’t actually learn critical thinking skills in the conventional curriculum. We don’t actually make these leaps for students. Instead, we just teach formulas and don’t actually grasp the opportunity that algebra, which everyone thinks is a critical thinking class. We don’t actually help people think critically because we don’t structure it in a way that aligns with all the research around how to do so. So that would be a big piece of, I think, what I would do on that.

And then just lastly, come back to your reflection point in metacognition, because I think those are intertwined. If you build it in the learning cycle and as you’re building agency, which is one of those habits in students, again, this all should reinforce itself so that students are starting to own their own learning, so that they’re not just regurgitating something that’s coming down from them, from a teacher, but that they can start to become more and more independent learners themselves, which is what’s going to be required as they go out in the world to build, yes, new knowledge, but then do something with that knowledge.

Diane: Michael, I hope as people are following this conversation, they’re noticing that we are mixing and mingling the items from our different buckets on the list, which could mean we’re disorganized. That’s not what it is, or we’re actually proving our own point, which is the interconnectedness and relatedness of all of these items so that they are jumping from bucket to bucket and intertwining with each other, which has me wanting to loop back to knowledge.

We’ve noted knowledge a couple of times already. This is probably the most familiar thing that schools are charged with teaching and kids are charged with learning and the historical heart of schools. Let’s start by connecting it back to reading as well as your great add to the list, curiosity. Interestingly, of course, knowledge is something students should be learning in school. We’re not going to take that off our future redesign list. But how I think about this based upon the science of human development is in concentric circles. So naturally, humans are curious about themselves and so you should start your knowledge there from the littlest, the youngest ages. It’s intuitive for parents if you’re watching kids. So knowledge starts there and quite frankly, it persists throughout our lives. I don’t know about you, but I’m still learning all sorts of things about myself and spending a lot of time on it.

Michael: I’ll readily say that’s true for me too.

Diane: Second is knowledge about my community, which begins small with my family, my neighborhood, my school, and moves into ever expanding circles. And then, I would put my last category of knowledge as where my curiosity takes me. And to your point, curiosity is perhaps the most powerful learning tool humans have, literally the most powerful learning tool humans have. This is one that they’re naturally born with unlike so many of these other skills. So I didn’t originally put it on my list because for me, it’s so much less about schools teaching curiosity, and I’ll be honest, the evidence there is a little bit thin. It’s so much more about schools not squeezing it out of children, not pummeling them and getting rid of their curiosity, but instead cultivating and nurturing it. And I would say you talked about some of the things schools are not very good at doing historically. I would say one thing they’re excellent at doing historically is beating curiosity out of kids.

Michael: Yeah. And there are counter examples, where there are schools set up that don’t beat curiosity out. And so that’s why we know that it can be done in a different way to your point and not set up as a game that you’re playing, as opposed to just excitement about all of these three categories you just listed. I’ll also say your three categories, incidentally align very neatly to how Montessori thinks about its curriculum development over time. And when you introduce things from natural history or science or space and things like that into the curriculum that it builds out from this centeredness to a more, further and further out concepts and abstractions and so forth. So it’s interesting. I like your framework. It’s super simple to remember. So I’m going to hold on to that, but one other thought, because I suspect people are saying, “Okay, what about the subjects though?”

So I just want to tackle that from a different point of view, if that’s okay. I think it’s complementary and we can certainly do a lot more in future episodes on this. But my own take is that the American schooling system has some of the basic building blocks more right than wrong, but that we have the silos and categories within probably incorrect. So what I mean by that is, our mathematics, history and civics, languages, and sciences, those are probably the right headers, broadly speaking, but within them, we probably have some outdated categories, both within those silos, but also across. And so on the first one, on the outdated categories, for example, I’ll come back to that algebra example I used earlier and I’ve written about this and I think you’re on the same page as me. Why algebra over say, statistics or data analytics or things like that?

Why not engineering as opposed to biology, chemistry, physics, computational thinking is a huge topic right now. And when I say that, I don’t just mean coding, and by the way, this is actually probably an example. That’s more of a skill than knowledge that can be taught interdependently in all other subjects. Get into that in a moment. There’s probably not nearly enough on civics and I think would fit in your second bucket about my community and those ever expanding circles and civics in terms of like, how the system works? How I can affect change in it? How do I fit within it? And the vision for what country aspires to be? And like a very hard-headed look at where it’s fallen short and where it succeeds, not with all the emotion that is wrapped up in that right now, but being analytical, practicing those critical thinking skills and evaluation and so forth, so that we can think about, where we’ve come and where we’re trying to go toward.

I think we’ve probably stratified the categories way too much. So there’s not nearly enough interdisciplinary thinking. And this is an outgrowth of organizations. Organizations over time perpetuate themselves and the walls between different functions become more and more concrete if you will. But just to take one, if we pause it that after you’ve learned to read, reading becomes more about background knowledge, you teach reading through building coherent knowledge across all the other subject matters that are out there, meaning history, social studies, science, et cetera, arts, music, all of that becomes about reading. If you’re doing reading and writing across these fields. And it’s less about people marching, I think through a specific canon, then I would argue coherent bodies of knowledge through those different disciplines.

So that when you’re learning about the enlightenment, you’re thinking through the scientific discoveries that happened, going through them yourselves and learning about the history and the social movements and so forth that occurred at the same time. And, are there certain core things that all students should know? I’m sure that the answer is that there are a few Diane.

I’m seeing you sort of shrug a little bit, but I also think that there’s always going to be topics that are conspicuously absent or even disappointingly absent. Like we always can say, “I never learned about X? How could that have been?” I think that’s always going to be the case, I guess, would be my argument and we should be less judgmental about that and more, “How do we build those skills and habits through the coherent bodies of knowledge that we do tackle so that I can continue to explore?” And when I hear something that I didn’t know anything about it, it also matters. To know anything about that in school, I have a window into how to learn more about it, so that I can then think about how to assimilate it into this framework of how the country works and where I want the country to go.

Diane: Michael, I think you’re leading us into another full episode.

Michael: Oh, dear. I’m sorry for that.

Diane: No, it combines both the, what we are teaching with the how, and quite frankly, the who, decides. And I think you’ve touched on that. And, in fact, maybe it’s more than another episode. Maybe it’s a few different episodes, which I think are critical for us to tackle. So, let’s do that. But let me just share a couple of high level reactions to what you’ve just put on the table for us. First, when it comes to traditional subjects like history and science, the evidence suggests that our overriding aim and approach should be about teaching kids to think like historians and think like scientists. And yes, this really does make obsolete much of the traditional organization by course, or by unit. There’s so much there. So let’s come back to that. Some of the best thinkers on this, like Bror Saxborg, are really great at describing how you should actually think about, and what the big ideas are in those bodies of subject areas.

The other big point you’re raising is there’s a common body of knowledge that every child in the country should learn. And well, I think the evidence is abundant that the answer is no. But this is where the people making the decisions are definitely not aligned with the evidence and quite frankly, a lot of what’s familiar to us and our nostalgia and all of that comes into play. And we all have things we’re very passionate about. And so in my view, this is a really fascinating conversation that starts with the who, but then spills into a whole bunch of other pieces.

And then the last point I’ll make right now is, there’s so much more to talk about before we leave today. I want to offer that if we want to redesign our schools, we have to not only imagine what they can be, but we also have to see the system that they are right now. So let’s just spend a minute on that. We spent almost all of our time on the magic wand. We got very excited about what it could be. So, let’s just make a few observations on what it is currently. First, the habits of success are, in my view, the most significant addition, they’re suddenly in fashion, people are all about social emotional learning because of the pandemic and whatnot, but they are not meaningfully included in the vast majority of schools and what schools are doing right now.

So I think that’s the current state of things. And so I would say they’re the most significant add in terms of what we think schools should be redesigned to do. I think our academic list, as we noted, is significantly shorter and more focused than what you’d normally find in most schools and notably preferences skills that are built over multiple years. And we’ll get into this at some point, when we discuss competency-based and mastery based approaches. Finally, the knowledge list is what I would call student centered. And so that’s a very different approach than what we have now. It isn’t just a laundry list of the facts and information that adults in power have decided that all kids should know, it’s really personalized to the students and acknowledges that our role is to develop unique human beings. I would say those are the three key differences in my mind between what we have now in schools and our vision for the redesign.

Michael: Yeah, I think you’re exactly right. And as we transition out of this and jump into a final word about what we’re reading and expanding in our own horizons, the only push, I guess I would add is this should all be framed as what will be necessary for each individual to be prepared to lead a successful life as they define success and match with their potential and their passions that they will build in the future. And so if people hear something that they disagree with, I think we actually could peel back the layers of the onion and come to a little more commonality. Maybe all students do need this particular knowledge or maybe in this community it’s really important, but in this community it might be less so, because of what success looks like and preparation to be successful.

Diane: I most certainly agree with you. And I may have even written a book about something like this.

Michael: You have. Prepared. Check it out. On the note of books, what are you learning and exploring right now, Diane?

Diane: I’m reading a very fascinating and provocative book, Michael, called, The Tyranny of Merit, by Michael Sandel, and it is just really pushing me. How do you even summarize it? I think it really is a philosophical argument that is very provocative. I think it’s really calling into question our definition of success in our society, and who we are and how we see ourselves and each other and quite frankly, has significant implications for the conversation we’re having today and that we have every week on Class Disrupted. I’m really being provoked by it. It’s fascinating.

Michael: Yeah, it’s a fascinating book. It’s also fascinating the reaction to the book by the way, Diane, because it has pulled apart strange bedfellows in interesting ways. Like you have reviews of conservative thinkers, just for example, who have posed opposite takes on the merits of that book. And it’s so interesting right now. And I think it pulls in a lot of strands that have hit at some core truths and then asks some big questions of, “Okay, so what do we do about it?” For me, I’ll throw in my list. I finally finished the Walter Isaacson series of books. I finished Codebreakers, and I’m moving on to other things. But the one thing I’ll just tease here is, I actually think it’s a really fascinating biography of Jennifer Doudna, researcher at UC Berkeley, who has been on the front lines of the COVID vaccine response and gene editing and so forth.

And it’s a fascinating window into the academic systems in higher education and the competition among researchers and development of groundbreaking research that leads to things that save lives and raise a lot of thorny, ethical questions as well. But I also think it points to something that we don’t talk nearly enough about in the what category as well, which is the fad over the last decade has been, “We’ve got to teach coding, coding, coding.” And the next wave for students who are in middle school right now is probably not going to be coding. It’s probably going to be biotech. And, I’ve become convinced over that from this book, from Susan Hockfield, the former president of MIT. So I just think it’s another topic that doesn’t get nearly enough attention and doesn’t fit neatly into those silos, today’s academic curriculum. So I’ll leave it there, Diane. And for all of us, this was a big episode. I hope you followed it all. We’ll look forward to your reactions and thanks as always for joining us on Class Disrupted.

Michael Horn is the author of numerous books on the future of learning including Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. He works with a portfolio of organizations to help transform education so that all individuals can build their passions and fulfill their potential.

Diane Tavenner is CEO of Summit Public Schools and co-founder of the Summit Learning Program. She is a life-long educator, innovator, and the author of Prepared: What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life.

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