Not much has changed about American high schools in the last 100 years, minus an iPad, computer or renovated building or two. In general, the U.S. education system lags behind other countries significantly — the country ranks 17th in reading, 20th in science and 27th in math out of 34 countries — and yet no one has really tried to do anything about it.
If you've ever thought of a way our education system could be better (let's be honest, it's not that hard), this is your chance.
Laurene Powell Jobs just dropped $50 million dollars on a huge project that is literally going to create a completely new kind of American high school or schools. And anyone will be able to have a say on what the school will look like. The Emerson Collective, "an organization dedicated to improving the lives of every student," came up with XQ: The SuperSchool Project and launched on Sept. 11 of this year.
Here's how it works:
The new initiative is accepting submissions, and traveling all over the U.S. to hear from students, parents, educators or anyone that has awesome ideas on what the ideal high school should be like. Then, the project will select winners and grant them $50 million to actually make those high schools a reality.
Per a press release, they are committed to building anywhere from five to 10 new schools.
According to Hillary Moglen, a spokesperson from issue advocacy firm RALLY that works on the project, those involved with the initiative want as many ideas brought to the table as possible.
"We will bring the WE Think Booth to hear from members of the community. We will host student roundtable discussions. We will also meet with thought leaders to engage them and ask them to help spread the word," she told A Plus in an email.
Jobs, who is both a financial backer and supporter of the project, explained in a blog post for the Emerson Collective why a change of pace for American high schools is not only long overdue, but necessary.
"Today in the United States, with few exceptions, where a person is born determines how far he or she can go in life. Among developed countries, the U.S. ranks second to last in economic and social mobility. This is shameful," she wrote.
"It wasn’t always this way — and it doesn’t have to stay this way. This is not how we want our country to work."
Something has got to give and the XQ project intends to be the catalyst.
So far, it's used social media to help spread the word, and even The Daily Show's Jessica Williams has signed on as a spokesperson and is featured in the first video call-out for the campaign.
"This is a reminder that we need to shoot for the moon again," she says in the video. "Other countries have invested in [high school] innovation and the U.S. is lagging behind ... Let's win this race."
Proposals will be accepted over the next few months. To submit ideas, head over to the XQ project website.
Winners will be announced in August 2016.
Are you ready to #ReThinkHighSchool?