Today’s learners face an uncertain present and a rapidly changing future that will demand far different skills and knowledge than were needed in the 20th century. We also know far more today about enabling deep, powerful learning than we did when public schools were designed in the early 20th century. Our collective future depends on how well young people prepare for the challenges and opportunities of 21st-century life.

The factory model is outdated. But why is that so? Why does our nation so desperately need to change the way learning happens in schools? Is there more to next generation learning than innovation for innovation’s sake?

When next gen education leaders articulate Why Schools Need to Change, parents, community members, and the general public become supportive of—and involved in—the work of creating new designs for schools.

Answers to “why” come from all kinds of sources: Statistics and trends on education achievement gaps, employer demands, advances in technology, changing demographics, and more. Learning science and educational research that demonstrate how learning happens and the conditions that support it. The fast pace of cultural and economic shifts happening around us. The documented injustices of poverty and social and cultural oppression.

And then there are the stories: The struggling student who was getting more and more frustrated with each passing day as she kept falling farther behind. The student who was already highly skilled at applying the content in your next lesson. The bright student who was disengaged and on the brink of failing out. The frustration of having to teach to the test when you know that’s not what students need most. The fatigue of adopting the newest curriculum only to be switched again in a few years.

In the MyWays project, NGLC provides compelling evidence about the impact of our changing world on today’s youth and on learning. This resource will help you engage your school and local community in taking on the challenge of answering Why Schools Need to Change.

How You Can Get Involved

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