“I’ve been to the mountaintop”

Like Moses and Dr. King, I’ve had an opportunity to glimpse what the future of education in America may hold. Whether it is a Promised Land may be up for debate.

IdeacoverI was invited to participate in an Aspen Institute on Developing Human Capital in Education. I had heard of Aspen Institute, even read some of the reports generated there. However, I was not prepared for the incredible experience that it is to be part of one of their workshops. This one is part of theirEducation and Society program, and like its other programs, the six-day seminar brought together a deliberately diverse group of talented people — in this instance, to examine how we could better recruit, prepare, induct, and retain truly high quality educators and administrators for our large urban school districts.

We imagined what schools, their leadership, teaching, and learning might look like in the near future (about 15-20 years ahead). Some may find the future thrilling; others frightening.

That’s all I can really tell you about the content right now; I urge you to watch for a full report from Aspen in the near future, and more work to follow on this topic.

I can tell you that the Institute staff did a marvelous job (they’re obviously very experienced at this) of getting many different stakeholders to think deeply about these knotty issues, and more important, to listen to one another directly, rather than through sound bytes and citations. Being in Aspen in the summer was only a slight distraction from the work at hand. Our host, Walter Isaacson (President and CEO of Aspen, also Chairman of the Board of Teach For America, and author of several books including his most recent on Einstein) made us welcome at the gorgeous Aspen Meadows resort.

As did a couple of visiting bears.

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