What we want education to do for our grandchildren.

Our grandchildren are or soon will be in formal K-12 education.  Some are in Ohio, others in Georgia.  All appear to be getting the basic education we’ve all come to know as standards-based academics.  Math and reading with a little science and social studies is the primary focus.  Oh, there are the occasional breakthrough moments.  For example, our grandson had lessons on financial literacy.  The program was built by EverFi and our grandson loved the experience.  He learned about checking accounts, savings, and investments.  We had fun discussing how time is the key to investment results.

Math and reading are clearly important.  Without them, our grandchildren would be unable to engage in all sorts of other learning experiences.  But they aren’t the real purpose of education, they are just the tools for real educational experiences.  Unfortunately, the reform agenda we have been on for the last 15-20 years has reduced education to focusing on tools, not real life valued education.

Missing from the reform are the key learnings necessary for our grandchildren to explore and understand 1) What they truly love, 2) What they are good at, 3) What the world needs, and 4) What they can get paid to do.  There are incredibly important learnings within each of these simple understandings.  Knowing how to read and compute doesn’t assure students are sufficiently prepared to explore, choose, grow, and choose again the answers to these 4 understandings. 

Ted Fujimoto’s (consultlandmark.com) Venn diagram captures these understandings well.  Helping youth think about and assemble these various components in a way that allows them to create their own Ikigai is what education should do. 

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NGLC MyWays provides a more in-depth look at the knowledge, skills, and attributes students need to navigate an increasingly complex world.  The MyWays work is fully aligned to the 4 concepts in Ted’s Ikigai Venn diagram.  It is what we want education to do for our grandchildren.

Robert Sommers