What if we tested schools the way chefs test new restaurants?

I am obsessed with this question — HOW do we create next generation schools?

Most of the great educators we all know are considered superheroes; they’ve defied the odds to create next generation solutions for their kids.

But what if we could change the ODDS?

What if next generation schools were the norm, not the exception?

Well, I’ve found inspiration in a place I’ve always loved to explore but never thought I could write off to R and D — in food!

Trying new recipes on other people and cooking on wheels are nothing new, but using pop-ups and food trucks strategically — to test new restaurant ideas — has transformed the entire restaurant industry.

This process — from popup to food truck to real restaurant — is very different than the old way of building it first and hoping people show up.

Unfortunately, building it first and hoping people show up is exactly how we create schools today. Its too expensive, it takes too long, its too risky. Until we change this — until we change HOW we create new schools, true, next generation schools will be the exception, not the norm.

At 4.o, we apply the techniques that transformed the restaurant-starting-business to education.

Pop-up classrooms are like pop up dinners — an afternoon or Saturday version of a new school.

Tiny schools are like food trucks. bigger bets than pop-ups, they let you test a school with 10–15 students for 2–12 months in borrowed space.

In the fall of 2015, we announced at the White House the release of a toolkit for aspiring tiny school founders that includes a contract template that helps a tiny school forge a strong relationship with their host school.

We think it can help you start a tiny school pilot anywhere — in a district, charter or low-cost private school.

This post was adapted from a two-minute lightning pitch at the first White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools. Search #nextGenHS on twitter for more!