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Innovation, disruption, and scalability came to the forefront during last night’s lively discussion about the future of education, held at KID Museum.

Special guests included best-selling author Dan Pink, along with an inspiring group of education experts: writer and school-designer, Sam Chaltain; education consultant and former Chief Executive of Chicago Public Schools, Jean-Claude Brizard; and Editor-in-Chief of Education Week, Virginia Edwards. Josh Starr, former Superintendent of MCPS and current CEO of PDK International, moderated the discussion.

The education system is poised for historic change, according to the speakers. Sam Chaltain, who designs schools with WONDER, said schools must think about their culture, structure, pedagogy, and physical space. Dan Pink pointed to the disconnect between policy makers and teachers, saying later that he believes true change will come from the outside, rather than within the system.

Virginia Edwards, who studies national trends, also sees the potential for a sea-change spurred by the use of technology, a new understanding about how learners learn (ie. experientially), and the emphasis on making students college-ready. Although, she cautioned, most people don’t want change–we must build a public demand.

The panel went on to debate whether college creates more opportunities, the challenges faced by low-income kids, and the burden of college debt. Jean-Claude Brizard said, “Not every kid has to go to college, but every kid should be prepared for college.”

Another hot topic was the link between educational outcomes and poverty. Check out this NPR story about poverty and education (research conducted by Education Week).

It was no surprise to us here at KID Museum that people learn best when what they are doing is challenging, engaging, relevant, supportive, and experiential. KID Museum is structured around those principles. And while we offer this type of learning through our programming, we believe these opportunities should be more abundant and easier to come by. With that in mind, we’ll continue to create a community around redefining learning. Stay tuned.