17. Learning is for Everyone

We have finally arrived to the last chapter. To me, this chapter is very important because it lists some of the challenges I wanted to tackle when conceptualizing the Stanton Education concept.
Having lived in both areas surrounded by wealth and areas surrounded in poverty, I want education to be the equalizing force and be there to provide the opportunity for anybody to climb upwards.
The challenge is to design a school that is for everyone, one that is not a school only for elites, but a school for everyone that can provide an education that is better than that of elite schools of today.

Minimizing Costs

A school needs to be self sufficient. The reason why most elite schools are so expensive is because they have some of the best resources. The best teachers, best administrators, and some strong endowments thanks to some of the best alumni.
But what if we want to create elite level schools for everybody? We need to severely minimize costs. This was impetus for the ideas in the second section of the book where we explored what 21st Century Education looks like. I wanted to explore ideas where great schools were not reliant on great teachers because great teachers don’t go to rural places in the middle of nowhere. I wanted a system that would grant children the opportunity to learn the best content at the lowest cost possible, and is there a more cost effective way than digital content? I believe its effectiveness has been called into question only because it still has not found the perfect packaging yet.
A really powerful podcast with Scott Gallaway, on the James Altucher Show, described my thoughts perfectly:
"College is now a luxury service Value is starched out. Academics have become drunk on exclusivity. Rather than viewing ourselves as academics, we now view our selves as luxury brands. Colleges brag that they turned away 90+% of students. We are public servants, not fucking Hermes. We should be in the business of making unremarkable kids remarkable. Instead, we are in the business of making remarkable kids billionaires.
  • Scott Gallaway (on the James Altucher Show #474)
I want to be in the business of making everyone remarkable.

Diversity Exposure

To educate a quality human being, you need to instill in them a sense of empathy, specifically, the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. That is why diversity exposure is so important.
Diversity exposure is where we purposefully bring in people of different economic, racial, and cultural backgrounds to create opportunities to become familiar with each other. There are two large benefits to this. The first one is that it allows children to learn that it is okay to be different and it normalizes that difference. Once it’s been normalized and humanized due to exposure, it is less likely for different types of -isms to happen. Additionally, it opens up the opportunity to create scholarships for underprivileged children to attend the same school. If I started a school, I would be targeting a ratio of 75/25 for privileged vs. underprivileged students. In other words, an approximate 25% scholarship rate.
The goal of diversity exposure is to remove as many of the current traditional limitations as possible. The school should allow for education for all ages, including adults, especially ones that might not have had the opportunity to complete general education. The school should remove grade limitations and allow students of different ages to co-mingle, making it normal for students to hang out with other students that are not of the same grade or age. And most importantly, we want to make sure there are students with all kind of backgrounds so that we can normalize it and create opportunities for more empathy in the world.

A Connected Network

Expanding on diversity, there are limits to racial and cultural diversity in a region, so what if we were able to build a connected network of schools that use the Stanton Education Concept and allow for easy transfers?
Schools that use the Stanton Education Concept in full already are flexible and don’t follow a strict curriculum, meaning that a student should be able to enter or leave an existing school without too much difficulty of picking up where they left off.
Let’s start with the possibilities. One thing easy transfers could do is to empower rural development. There can be boarding schools in rural areas where the learning is focused in one scholastic area or topic. For example, skills based learning and experienced based learning where you actually do the work (farming, rehabilitation, environment protection, ocean protection, etc.). Rural area schools also allow for disconnecting from the speed of the world, allowing students to slow down and find opportunities to be more present.

Full Year Schooling

An additional benefit of the lack of a scheduled curriculum is that schools can be designed to be active all year round and holidays become flexible.
I think having tourism focused around the summer and winter holidays creates an unnecessary stress for tourism and the environment and ends up with wasted resources due to the extreme demand fluctuation depending on the time of the year.
Full year schooling and flexible holidays means that both supply and demand can be better controlled.