I am about to attend a fundraiser for Global Citizen Year, a remarkable program that provides high school graduates with a “gap year” comparable to the Peace Corps. Volunteers are placed in countries such as Ecuador, Brazil and Senegal, and live and work there for a year. Then they go off to college with more of a global perspective. And though the program is new, I’m convinced the folks who go through GCY will make the most of their experience in college because they will have more of a global perspective and will not take for granted the educational opportunities in the US.
The founder of GCY, Abby Falik, wanted to go to the Peace Corps out of high school, but was told “come back in four years.” She effectively started planning GCY at that point. Her premise is that some high school graduates are ready for the Peace Corps.
I have a similar premise — some middle school students are capable of far more than we ask of them, and they waste their potential in middle schools. If they were challenged to learn as much math as possible, to learn to be the best possible communicator (written, verbal, and multimedia), and to learn as much about the world as possible (literature, history, culture, and sustainable science) then they would be amazing life-long learners. We’re currently producing students whose creativity and love of learning are being driven out of them.
If young people were expected to make a difference in the world and were mentored in 6th and 7th grade to that end, I think they could do remarkable work in 8th grade that would change the world.
That’s the premise of the school I’m opening in 2013, tentatively called Triangle Learning Community, or TLC for short.
I hope you will check out my school proposal.
And on an only tangentially related note, here’s a great TED talk (we’ll make good use of TED talks and other online resources at my school).
Watch the last three minutes of this amazing video and think about all the energy we put into competitions (not just debate competitions) that could go into making the world a better place. Young people are capable. We need to give them more responsibility and ask more of them.