Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education by Sir Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica

10. Changing the Climate

  • While each of us can do something to change the system, there is a need for local and national policies to change for the better as well. Some states are starting to get the idea. Ken tells how South Carolina is starting to prioritize technology, project-based learning, problem solving, and communication while giving teachers more freedom while still holding them accountable. They are giving up on textbooks and lockers and parts of some schools look more like Starbucks. A premium is placed on recruiting, retention and continuous professional development of high-quality teachers. A big challenge is challenging entrenched thinking.
  • Healthy systems work holistically and each element helps sustain the others. Education should be the same. Since the US spends more money than any other country, it is vital to focus the resources on professional training, appropriate technology, and common support service. Schools in a given state can vary widely, so it’s important to give each school the means to craft different educational strategies. Ken offers a number of case studies from around the world that schools can learn from. He also encourages leaders to listen to all voices in the culture. This conversation needs to be long-term and continuous. There are many amazing transformational stories out there. Seek them out and invite them in.


  • Personalizing education might sound revolutionary, but this revolution is not new. Its roots are deep in the history of education. Ken mentions a who’s who of progressive educators from the 17th century on who have advocated and practiced personalized and holistic education. He sees no permanent utopia for education, just a constant striving to create the best conditions for real people in real communities in a constantly changing world. I agree with Ken that the technology available to our schools can be used to personalize education in wholly new ways. Rigorous, personalized, and engaged education is what everyone needs, but so many have too long been denied. Now it’s time for everyone, not for a select few.
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