There are no shortages of challenges and problems in our Early Education system. We created 249smiles to solve one particularly poignant problem, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. In the process we have been introduced to some great people/organizations working on very innovative solutions and people/groups that continue to, in my opinion, throw good money at bad solutions. But, we are innovators at heart, so we follow many of these conversations and initiatives trying to imagine solutions to the myriad problems facing our Early Education, and more broadly, our Education system.
There are plenty of people who will talk about the problems; I think the more interesting conversation revolves around those trying to create solutions. I want to introduce one of those conversations that recently sparked my interest. A couple of months ago Union Square Ventures brought together a group of “…academics, entrepreneurs, educators, and administrators” to a session the named Hacking Education
The session focused on driving dialogue between, groups that don’t communicate too frequently. I highly recommend reading the transcripts of the meeting, though a bit disjointed at times, the thinking challenges our current approach to fixing education and what education may, or should, look like in the future. Whether you agree with any of the conclusions or schools of thought (no pun intended), the conversation should be applauded. The event connected disparate groups of sharp thinkers to better understand, holistically, the challenges and requirements of a sustainable solution. This type of conversation will help avoid the “Not invented here” syndrome, we have seen with many organizations and initiatives.
The problem is complex, with many moving parts. Assuming that a solution will arise from any one silo is naïve. We need to encourage more of this interdisciplinary conversation and drive it to action. The current economic situation cannot be an excuse for not addressing the underlying problems. If it were a purely budgetary concern, this would have been solved during the boom years. But, the problem persists. I argue that when we, as a community or society, deem a problem important enough to ‘need fixin’, the money becomes fairly irrelevant. Poor or rich, with kids or without, the success or failure of our education system will affect you. Engaging now gives you, and your community, a head start. You can start small…start a conversation – simply talk to people you know about the problems you see. You can start bigger…mentor a student – share some of your wisdom. Or, you can go big…start creating solutions – we all have unique talents and this is a problem that requires an integrated solution, so put your talents to work and make your mark.