We continue our run of legendary VCs and legendary authors like our guest for today, Ted Dintersmith. He’s a former top tech VC and he’s the author of the book What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers Across America.
This is a powerful look at what’s possible in education from a smart, committed, super thoughtful guy.
What School Could Be
Ted Dintersmith went to all fifty states, visiting some 200 schools and spoke to different school personnel and students. He says he was stunned by the innovative classrooms and schools he found across the USA. However, he also talked about schools who he described as good in paper, but not as good in reality.
“There were so many schools like that, where on paper, it looks likes the kids are doing really well. Good grades, good test scores, reasonable to good College placements. The point I make is that I think these kids, are not really being helped in terms of being prepared for a world defined and shaped by innovation. They’re actually being impaired.” – Ted Dintersmith
Ted shares his conversations with school teachers, administrators and students shifted his thinking. He further says that the measure of success in so many schools is aligned with a few narrow capabilities.
He questioned the schools, asking if he puts a kid in their school who excelled at memorizing material, replicating low-level procedures and following instructions, he bets that kid would be on the honor roll.
“SAT tutors say, ‘don’t be creative when you take this test. Don’t think of unusual ways to answer it. Think clearly, simply and formulaically. The 2nd thing is, if it’s hard and it’s going to take a while to figure it out, skip it.’ Is that a great message for the kids?” – Ted Dintersmith
Education is a Pie Eating Contest
Ted continues to share with Christopher his insights that many kids are being told that they’re not gifted because they don’t match up to those narrow skills. Christopher also remarked in an overly simplistic form, that education nowadays is like a “Pie Eating Content” where you jam everything, regardless of what kind of pie it is, and know that the more you take, the better.
“It’s crazy. We organize most of education around what’s easy to test and not what’s important to learn.” – Ted Dintersmith
To hear more about how to encourage kids, unleash their passion and support dedicated teachers and more about Ted Dintersmith, download and listen to the episode.
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