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Education Strategy: Popup K‑12 Classrooms to Promote Individuality

When strate­gists see prob­lems, they some­times see solu­tions. In wrote my the­sis on cre­ative orga­ni­za­tions, so it’s no sur­prise when I say that edu­ca­tion should be about help­ing kids be their best selves.

A Systems Approach Sometimes Means A New System

Cre­ative kids need flex­i­ble edu­ca­tion sys­tems that fos­ter growth, choice (change) and scal­ing. Because if you don’t have choice, you lack feed­back (and lack a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for change). And if you don’t have scal­a­bil­i­ty, growth needs to work hard­er. I see poten­tial for growth in the use of pop­up class­rooms for K‑12.

How many sta­tis­tics have we seen show­ing that K‑12 edu­ca­tion in Amer­i­ca is a hor­ri­ble val­ue for the mon­ey (both from those try­ing to shut it down and those com­plain­ing there’s not enough fund­ing)? So why not have a sys­tem for pop­up class­rooms in the Socrat­ic tra­di­tion?

How It Would Work

Par­ents want to edu­cate their kids, so they take their kids to the rose gar­den to look at the flow­ers, study pol­li­na­tion mech­a­nisms, etc.

Sep­a­rate­ly, a guy decides he wants to teach kids about botany. So he shows up in the rose gar­den as a self-appoint­ed guide/teacher, wear­ing an arm­band (or a t‑shirt or a sand­wich board).

Inter­est­ed par­ents can go up to him with their kids and ask ques­tions. If they like the answers and trust the guy, they’ll tip him and tell their friends.

Grassroots, Social Accountability

But pret­ty soon, par­ents will want to know who these guys and gals are. So you use social media to find out about them. Option­al­ly, grow­ing out of this, you could have a local com­mu­ni­ty group made of par­ents who can gov­ern, and even pro­vide accred­i­ta­tion. Of course, they would­n’t have any real author­i­ty, only social author­i­ty, which is enough.

Disciplines that could be Taught

Out­doors, you could teach astron­o­my, botany, envi­ron­men­tal val­ues and lots of sci­ence. And with more and more cowork­ing and meet­ing spaces avail­able, class­rooms could be set up to accom­mo­date the­o­ret­i­cal pur­suits, writ­ing, etc.

Economic Pressure to Deliver Quality

The cool thing is this: if par­ents want to pay, they can (and will). It’s sup­ply and demand. Basi­cal­ly, these teach­ers would be paid by how well the par­ents like them.

There’s room for spe­cial­iza­tion and dis­cre­tion, based on par­ents’ judg­ments:

  • ADHD-friend­ly teach­ing
  • Small­er class sizes
  • More par­ent dis­cre­tion
  • More-inter­est­ing top­ics
  • Kids matched with good teachers/presenters

Who would do this?

Peo­ple who are retired, unem­ployed or just want to give back.

The idea isn’t crazy. I think it just needs a leader…and maybe an app.