Education in Nevada (Big Idea Challenge)

A paradigm shift is desperately needed in education. Over the years, influential people* have pointed out that a standard educational curriculum designed to accommodate the Industrial Revolution no longer serves our students or society well. Yet here we are in 2022, and little has changed.

Add to that almost daily headlines about behavioral issues and violence in schools, where we continue to treat the symptoms instead of addressing the issues at their core. Zero tolerance and punishment haven’t worked in over a century, and there’s no reason to think that will change. Life skills, lived experience, and social-emotional challenges can no longer be neglected.

I propose an Immersive and Integrated educational model that takes full advantage of the tools available today to address the needs of the whole child (e.g., skills related to careers, civics, finances, and social-emotional well-being in addition to academics). Here’s a brief overview of my vision for education, with the goal of creating happier children, happier adults, and a happier world!

Big Idea Challenge: The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education and the Engelstad Foundation will give winners of a three-phased contest up to $500,000 to solve one question: “Who has an idea for improving Nevada’s educational landscape?” Concepts for “The Big Idea Challenge: An Education Innovation Contest” can range from simple classroom tools for kids, technology that supports teachers, a model to boost schools’ infrastructure or anything else, according to a news release. Initial applications that include a brief pitch of the idea will be accepted until March 31. 

*Sir Ken Robinson considered in 2005(!) in the most viewed TED talk of all time (“Do Schools Kill Creativity?”) that a standard educational curriculum designed to accommodate the Industrial Revolution (through rudimentary skills and obedience) might not work for the 21st century. Hadi Partovi, Founder/CEO of Code.org, pointed out in 2018: “You see teachers teaching the exact same subject matter as they taught in 1918: reading, writing, math, science, history and foreign languages. Problem-solving, creative thinking, digital skills, and collaboration are in greater need every year yet are not taught in our schools.”

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