Rethinking K-12 learning and tackling inequality through education.

The concept of project-based education

After watching a presentation of the new school reform in Norway, more specifically the NOU 2019: 25. I was reminded of the school in San Diego on how they work with students. More specifically Mr. Larry Rosenstock, CEO and Founding Principal of High Tech High.

There are some who are critical to what is suggested in this document and have concerns about how long it will take if every student has a right to graduate, and the school year can be divided into terms, meaning some can advance sooner, some later. Tailoring the learning and work to fit every student. I say; do we really have a choice here? He also talks about vocational training and how it used to be a dumping ground for students who were not succeeding. A lot of what he says in this video applies to the work we are or should be doing in Norway.  I would, in fact, suggest that members of the different committees who are working on this visit High Tech High in San Diego. In fact, I would be more than happy to accompany a group. If it seems a little over the board, I’m pleased to share that they are offering a course on Coursera. That is obviously a cheaper alternative.  Read more about Larry’s work and watch the video below.

Mr. Rosenstock is recognized for his lifelong dedication to rethinking K-12 learning and tackling inequality through education. He has pioneered the concept of project-based education – the idea that students can and must learn crucial academic skills through hands-on projects that integrate multiple disciplines, engage their interest, and have an authentic purpose. His model also reimagines the role of teachers as “designers” who adapt their curricula and blend a variety of subjects based on the specific needs of each student.

A commitment to lifting the status of disadvantaged youth has been the driving force of Mr. Rosenstock’s professional journey. Early in his career, and despite his training in law, Mr. Rosenstock chose to teach carpentry to inner-city high school students in the 1960s in Boston at the height of desegregation. Through this experience, he recognized the inherent value in vocational education and training (VET) and the strong abilities of these students, who were not given equal academic opportunities. This led him to pursue a career dedicated to integrating the students who have been historically divided and funneled into two separate tracks, often based on race and class. 

Throughout his career, Mr. Rosenstock has to sought to improve status of VET and vocational students through several channels – legal, educational, and entrepreneurial. He worked as an educator for 11 years, but also used his legal expertise to co-write legislation that enhanced funding for VET and required greater integration with academics. In starting High Tech High, he has emerged as an innovator who has created a visible model that shows what is possible in schools.  High Tech High (HTH), founded in 2000, breaks down a number of barriers: the obstacles to accessing quality education, the separation of academic from technical learning, and the isolation of schools from the community and the real world. Tackling inequalities is at the heart of HTH’s mission, with schools that enroll students through a zip-code based lottery.  The innovative methods pioneered at HTH have helped prepare thousands of students of all ability levels and socioeconomic backgrounds for higher education, citizenship, and a rewarding life of work. This approach has allowed students to reach their full potential, with 98% of High Tech High students accepted to university (versus 69% nationwide). 

Starting as a small public charter school, HTH has evolved into an integrated network of sixteen charter schools serving approximately 5,780 students in grades K-12 across four campuses. In 2008, Mr. Rosenstock founded the HTH Graduate School of Education, which offers master’s degrees and training to over 5,000 teachers and school leaders each year. Educators, policymakers and leaders from all 50 United States and 30 countries have participated in HTH programs. Source: WISE Prize for Education – WISE

Source: WISE Prize for Education – WISE

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