Bill Gates says U.S. schools are "broken." Alvin Toffler calls them relics of a by-gone industrial age. Now, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers, 1 in 10 American high-schools is a "drop out factory," where 60 percent of freshman do not even make it to their senior year. What a colossal waste of human talent. The U.S. has been living off the educational investments of other countries, particularly China and India, for the past several decades. What happens if the supply of foreign talent dries up or decides to head elsewhere?
is a wonder
to be prayed
- Robert Corin Morris “The Radiant Silence” Weavings
People are creative. We like challenging and creative work. Most of us do not need to spend more time in educational prisons sitting like a bump on a log in class or getting ready for the big game, the pep rally or the prom. We need to be involved in stuff that activates creativity.
This is a story about tools and bravery and marketing.
The tools: when you give a kid a net connection, access to wikipedia and to the rest of the world, things change fast. Things you wouldn't necessarily predict. Like a ten year old who can diagnose his dad's illness. Or a farmer that can ask his daughter to find out where to get a new part for the tractor. Or...
The marketing: Everything, even laptops for kids, works its way through the innovation diffusion curve. That means that most countries, most organizations and most communities aren't going to adopt this tool for a few years. It doesn't matter if it's perfect... these things take time. Smart marketing embraces the curve and doesn't insist that it must change for this project, right now.
One kid (or five kids) at a time. It's enough. It'll happen.
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How do you define "great" in the nonprofit sector when there are no agreed upon measures of success? This was the question that motivated authors Heather McLeod Grant and Leslie Crutchfield to survey thousands of nonprofit managers, study 12 organizations, and distill the data into their recent book Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits.