Tony Wagner, a professor at Harvard, has published a book titled “The Global Achievement Gap: Why even our best schools don’t teach the new survival skills our children need — and what we can do about it.” I had heard that we were mentioned in the book, but I figured it was just a passing reference, and I hadn’t gotten around to looking at it. Then in the last couple weeks, we have had a bunch of people wanting to visit our school because they read Tony Wagner’s book. It’s actually been more enthusiasm than I’ve ever really noticed before. So I thought I’d check out the book. I read the passage about High Tech High this morning.
First of all, if our school is half as good as Tony describes, then we’re really doing well. I think in some ways he exagerates to make a point, because no school could be as good as what he says. What is cool though, is that he describes us as I think we wish we were, as we aspire to be, and as we are in our best moments. He really captures the vision of where we are trying to get, and that is nice to read.
My only regret about the passage is that when he described some great teacher projects, he did not name Cortney Golub, Jeff Robin, and the other teachers by name.
More to come on his idea of the “Seven Survival Skills for Teens Today” (Critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration across networks and leading by influence, agility and adaptability, initiative and entrepreneurialism, effective oral and written communication, accessing and analyzing information, and curiosity and imagination).
Finally, this quote from Ruth Garcia, an alum who was a senior in 2007.
“I’m a lot more confident now,” she continues. ”I know I can take a college course [Ruth leaves school three mornings a week to take a college French class] and have a career. . . . Neither of my parents went to college. I make them proud. We rent a really small house. Some day, I’d like to buy them one of their own.”
That’s the part about the tears shed this morning.