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From the Introduction...



When I developed and produced the popular PBS series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, I became aware of the awesome power of media as educator. Decades later, interviewing children and teenagers around the world for Kids on Earth, I discovered a new phenomenon: kids’ ability to learn on their own was beginning to exceed school’s ability to teach them. I wrote a popular article for Knowledge@Wharton about this shift. The more I traveled—whether to rural Paraguay, coal mining towns in eastern Kentucky, public schools in Kampala, Uganda, or the urban centers of Philadelphia, Rio de Janeiro, or New Delhi—I asked young people what school ought to be. When the pandemic struck, I made good use of my Senior Scholar status at The University of Pennsylvania and its Positive Psychology Center to study school, education and learning. I believe we are under-estimating 21st children and teenagers, requiring them to learn a great deal of material that is no longer useful within a 20th century system badly in need of a refresh. There is not much mystery here: we’ve got a lot of the right ideas and many of the right people, but we are experiencing failure on a massive scale. We can change that. I want to help. — HB

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