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Best of 2012: Visionaries, Organizations, and Innovations Changing the Way We Learn

Here are the best educational efforts of 2012 that bring us leaps closer to realizing our full human potential.


In 2006, Sir Ken Robinson took the TED stage and delivered what is now the most viewed TED talk of all times. With wit and humor, and in less than 20 minutes, he dissected the modern educational structure, and asked a question few have dared to ask: Are schools killing our dreams? He argued that creativity needs to be instilled in education, and with that, sparked a movement. The talk sent ripples through out the world, inspired millions of people, and started a new conversation around what education ought to be.

Four years later, he returned to the TED stage, this time with a new question around human potential. It’s become very clear that creativity, imagination, and the nurturing of dreams are what education is meant to be.

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Hundreds of Teachers Agree: Budget Cuts Are Gutting American Education

At a town hall event, teachers were honest about how budget cuts make it harder to close the achievement gap.


Put 350 Los Angeles teachers in one room and the conversation is guaranteed to get heated. It certainly did at Sunday's taping of Education Nation, the four-part NBC news special focused on figuring out how to improve schools in America. Veteran NBC reporter Raheema Ellis moderated, and although she did her best to steer three sets of panelists and the audience toward hot-button ed reform issues—teacher tenure, using test scores to evaluate educators, training students for the jobs of the future, and closing the achievement gap—it was clear that the crowd was fired up about the implications of making long-term policy decisions about those issues at a time when education budgets are being gutted.

Ellis set the tone by sharing dismal statistics about how California has defunded education—$20 billion slashed from schools and 30,000 educators laid off over the past three years. Ninety-six percent of the teachers in the audience said more cuts will have have a "huge" impact on their ability to succeed with their students and will keep America from being globally competitive.

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