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What Parkland Can Teach American Schools

· schools,taking action

The Parkland school tragedy – our hearts bleed, our anger mounts, and we ask ourselves: can we stop this from happening again?

This time something changed. Students created a movement. Students led one of the largest marches on the U.S. capital ever.

Emma Gonzales and her classmates' passion may change the course of American history. She and the thousands of students who gave their time, energy, and conviction to this cause have earned something as valuable as the policy change they seek: the confidence to inspire action.

Each of these students now sees possibilities where before she or he saw roadblocks. Each understands the human side of change. All have learned that they have the power to make a difference.

The march on Washington was impressive, but far from the only demonstration. Elementary school students at Pluralistic School One in Santa Monica joined thousands of other groups across the world in solidarity.

The march on Washington was impressive, but far from the only demonstration. Elementary school students at Pluralistic School One in Santa Monica, CA, joined thousands of other groups across the world in solidarity.

Thirty years ago few imagined a world run by artificial intelligence and algorithms – but that is our world today. The past no longer predicts the future; current trends do not indicate enduring patterns.

This is why American schools must change, and why Parkland students are an amazing example of the change we seek. We hope few will experience such horror, but the opportunity to make a difference, the opportunity to pursue an idea with relentless passion and energy – these are not the exclusive purview of those wronged.

I hear often that we must teach 21st century skills such as math, science, and computer programming. Likewise we still need to teach students to read and write. But it’s not enough. Computer science will change, as will math, medicine, marketing, and most any other field.

Those who thrive will be the learners, the adapters, the changemakers.

American students will spend 14000 hours in school between kindergarten and their senior year of high school. For too many students, school is seen as a drag, a place to wish the time away, a box to check off in life, or, for some, a place to avoid altogether.

The questions we all must ask ourselves are: how might we engage students, parents, and educators in inspired learning communities? How might we instill the confidence, energy, and enthusiasm students need to thrive in a rapidly changing world? How might we give students opportunities to build ideas like March for Our Lives without a prior visit from tragic circumstance?

This change is happening. Students, parents, teachers, administrators, and advocates across America are changing schools. I invite you to join our community and help us write a new story for each child.

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