What Does the School of Your Dreams Look Like?

Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson shared his vision with some California teens.

Plenty of educators and policymakers have big ideas about how to innovate and transform America's education system to meet 21st-century needs, but have you ever asked yourself what the school of your dreams looks like? It's not an easy question to answer, in part because it's tempting to start making a mental list of all the reasons—lack of funding, school district bureaucracy, political bickering—why change can't happen right now. But at a recent conference in California, world-renowned creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson had no hesitation about sharing his vision for a dream school with representatives from a middle school press corps.

To start, the teens took the money issue off the table by presenting Robinson with a hypothetical blank check—which they promised to sign after he answered their questions. Their first question was pretty easy: What would he call his school? Staying true to his belief that the purpose of education should be to explore ideas, Robinson said he'd name it "Explore Academy." As an advocate of intergenerational learning, Robinson also said his campus would be open to students of all ages.

Although Robinson believes great teachers are important, he would also bring artists, scientists, and business leaders into the school to teach students and learn new skills from each other. "A really great school would be a mix of all the elements you'd find in a good community," he said.

Instead of the typical 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekday schedule, Robinson's dream school would be open late into the evenings and on Saturday, and would feature a wide range of learning activities, including increased time for dance, theater, and other art programs. The students appreciated Robinson saying he isn't an advocate of piling on homework because he believes it’s important for students to have a break from their studies. He added that he'd scale down the importance of testing in favor of more practical applications of knowledge and skills.

Sure, some of Robinson's ideas do seem like a dream. For example, it's pretty tough to imagine a school staying open till 10 p.m. in an era of draconian budget cuts. But one of most valuable parts of his approach is his insistence that things don't have to be a certain way just because they've always been that way. If people in a community decide they want something, they should band together to make it happen. If we don't all do a little dreaming about what our ideal schools would look like, we'll end up with a model of education that nobody really wants.


Some beauty pageants, like the Miss America competition, have done away with the swimsuit portions of the competitions, thus dipping their toes in the 21st century. Other aspects of beauty pageants remain stuck in the 1950s, and we're not even talking about the whole "judging women mostly on their looks" thing. One beauty pageant winner was disqualified for being a mom, as if you can't be beautiful after you've had a kid. Now she's trying to get the Miss World competition to update their rules.

Veronika Didusenko won the Miss Ukraine pageant in 2018. After four days, she was disqualified because pageant officials found out she was a mom to 5-year-old son Alex, and had been married. Didusenko said she had been aware of Miss World's rule barring mother from competing, but was encouraged to compete anyways by pageant organizers.

Keep Reading Show less

One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.

It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

Keep Reading Show less
via Sportstreambest / Flickr

Since the mid '90s the phrase "God Forgives, Brothers Don't" has been part of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's football team's lexicon.

Over the past few years, the team has taken the field flying a black skull-and-crossbones flag with an acronym for the phrase, "GFBD" on the skull's upper lip. Supporters of the team also use it on social media as #GFBD.

Keep Reading Show less