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Reframing Education for the 22nd Century

Future of Childhood Reframing Education for the 22nd Century

2020 was a year unlike any we have experienced before … until 2021. We have witnessed the “hoaxification” of the COVID-19 pandemic, massive civic unrest in response to long-tolerated systemic racism and injustice, continued denial of climate change in spite of an increasingly inhospitable natural environment, and most recently, a violent insurrection seeking to disrupt democracy and encourage authoritarianism.

At the root of these issues is more than a conflict between change and the status quo: it’s the difference between equitable and sustainable societies and life-threatening imbalances in power and privilege.

One critical challenge is that our education systems are fundamentally designed to advance individualistic goals over collective success. Even “21st century skills,” such as collaboration and communication, are implemented in ways that fall short of their goals. As educators, we have a moral imperative to rethink our work so that children are prepared to bend, if not upend, the arc of history toward progress for the common good.

Education should foster in each and every child an egalitarian mindset — a positive sense of oneself as a worthy individual rooted in valued cultural traditions, able and disposed to construct a view of reality from multiple perspectives and act in collaboration with others toward the common good. To develop an egalitarian mindset, we might consider these questions:

  • School climate and culture: What features of present-day school structures and cultures should students never or rarely experience? 
  • Pedagogy, Curriculum and Assessment: What about current teachers and teaching, curriculum, and assessment should students never or rarely experience? 
  • Technology: What should be the normative experience of every child with regard to technology, including AI? What should they never or rarely experience? 

How would these changes lead to egalitarian mindsets?

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and the Center for Global Education at Asia Society invite you to participate in a series of provocative conversations with the goal of reframing the purpose of education as the foundation for a social movement toward equality and sustainability. We hope that you will join us.

Dates: Wednesday, April 7, 14,  and 28 (Skipping April 21)
Time: 1 PM US EDT for 75 minutes
Format: A weekly series of salons encouraging the free flow of ideas around how to build an education system for the 22nd century focused on the common good. 

In partnership with