The Missing Institution: Why We Don’t Have a Silicon Valley of Education

About eight years ago, while I was still the principal of Moreno Valley High School, I completed a 400 page manuscript on my experiences in K-12 education to date.  I hired a professional editor to pull it together for publication and, after working on it for awhile she came back to me and said, “This is extremely important material that the world needs to hear about.  Unfortunately it needs to be re-written completely.”

At the time, I didn’t have the heart to re-write it.  In the last year or so I’ve begun looking at it again and have re-written some sections, copied and pasted others.  I think that the pain of those experiences are now far enough away that I can re-write the manuscript, bit by  bit.  I’ll test market some pieces here.

One section which has long been a favorite of those who have read it is my leader’s eye account of “The First Three Days of Socratic Practice in an Inner City Classroom.”  Here is a link to one version of that piece, comments welcome.

 

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About Michael Strong

Co-founder, Ko School + Incubator, Conscious Capitalism, Radical Social Entrepreneurs, lead author of Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World's Problems, author of The Habit of Thought: From Socratic Seminars to Socratic Practice.
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12 Responses to The Missing Institution: Why We Don’t Have a Silicon Valley of Education

  1. Joshua Zader says:

    This was fascinating. I was only sorry that it stopped with day three, because I found the story itself interesting. I enjoyed how you interspersed the narrative with meta-comments about your overall strategy; it made for an intriguing way to understand and learn about your approach. Have you written about the subsequent days and how they went?

    • flowidealism says:

      Thanks, Joshua. I have not written about subsequent days, but I do have some student reports from the end-of-the-year which are fairly spectacular. I’ll post the best one up here shortly. Someday it would be fun to go into a classroom like this and work together; it is very exhilarating.

      • Joshua Zader says:

        I would LOVE to go into a classroom with you like this one day. And I think I would take to it like a fish to water, once I got the hang of it. Seems like it would be very intellectually stimulating — perhaps the ultimate intellectual stimulation, releasing energy you know students already have inside, if they are just given the right context.

        By the way, the “St Peter” who wrote below is my friend Peter Saint-Andre, author of the new “The Tao of Roark,” to which I sent you a link. Glad you two have had some contact now, because I think you’d find many areas of overlap and enjoyment.

  2. Michael, if it’s any encouragement, I can hardly WAIT until you re-write it and share all your ideas with us. So sorry about the pain of that experience, they were awful to you.

    • flowidealism says:

      Thanks, Marsha. What is most encouraging is that the up and coming generation of young people seem to care about education, and they all seem to understand that the existing system is part of the problem. One of my goals will be to raise the bar with respect to what is possible in education, while convincing them how deeply government contaminates and undermines excellence in education.

  3. stpeter says:

    Joshua just pointed me to your site. Great stuff!

    Have you heard about the “peer-to-peer learning” company Skillshare? See http://www.skillshare.com/ and also a few recent posts at GigaOm:

    http://gigaom.com/2011/08/05/skillshare/
    http://gigaom.com/2011/08/16/skillshare-raises-3-1m-to-make-every-person-a-teacher/

    It’s good to see some entrepreneurial energy happening in the education space.

    As to a Silicon Valley of education: where do you think such a scene might develop? I say “scene” because Silicon Valley is a place and a vibe and a mindset. Note that Skillshare seems to have been most successful so far in New York City, perhaps because it focuses on real-world sharing of skills, not online sharing. Dense cities seem best for their model, whereas online learning could happen in a more distributed fashion. There is room here for many models and many experiments, and I wonder what you think about different approaches.

    Along with Marsha, I’m really looking to a rewrite of your book!

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  5. flowidealism says:

    Hi St.Peter,

    I had not heard of Skillshare, but will check it out. Your questions regarding a “Silicon Valley of Education” are important and deserve many posts, which I will get to in due time. Although it does not address your entirely appropriate remark regarding geographical proximity, for now you might find my short article “Why We Don’t Have a Silicon Valley of Education” to be of interest,

    http://www.edspresso.com/index.php/2006/05/why-we-dont-have-a-silicon-valley-of-education-michael-strong/

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