Change School? Make a Commitment, Not a Plan


Seth Godin:

A ten-year plan is absurd.
Impossible, not particularly worth wasting time on.
On the other hand, a ten-year commitment is precisely what’s required if you want to be sure to make an impact.

Anyone who is truly interested in changing the school experience for kids, as in really change it, as in do the “right thing” instead of the “wrong thing right”, anyone looking to do that has two primary options:

Start a school. (This is the easier route.)


Make a commitment, preferably a long term one. (Ten years might be about right.)

One of the difficulties in moving an “old (existing) school” to a “bold (really changed) school” (as I like to think of it) is that there is no recipe, no simple step by step guide that gets you from point A to point B. It’s not like undertaking a technology roll out or building a Makerspace. It would be so much easier if that was the case. You can “plan” for that.

Change of the type I and many others are talking about isn’t so much about the spaces or the stuff as it is the culture of learning that serves as the foundation for the work. One that recognizes and supports everyone in the system as learners first. One that promotes democracy and shifts agency to learners. One that fully understands and embraces the new contexts for learning that we are now dealing with. One that lives what it believes about how people learn.

You can’t really plan that path, but you can commit to it. You can commit to a vision for what you want “school” to be, and then commit to figuring it out. As a school community, you can commit to that inquiry, “What do we want to become?” and let that question guide you.

Maybe for the next ten years.

Originally published at Will Richardson.

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Want to explore more of these ideas around learning and education? Check out my latest TEDx Talk “The Surprising Truth About Learning in Schools,” my blog at, or checkout my Amazon author page.

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