Transforming Education for the Future

Humanity is facing unprecedented challenges. Critical issues, such as world conflicts, global warming, energy crises, and moral decay, if not dealt with, can bring a total breakdown of human civilization. We currently have all the tools to destroy our planet, either slowly by continuing to injure the physical environment or rapidly through nuclear warfare. We can annihilate not only our enemies but the whole human race and other species on Earth.

In the U.S. and many other countries, educational systems are bogged down by structural problems and old philosophies. Education is supposed to prepare citizens who have the ability, awareness, and wisdom to deal with crises and continually learn and grow, but it still operates on an almost purely mechanistic, rationalistic, capitalistic, and highly competitive paradigm.

The U.S. needs a new educational paradigm based on a different, far richer, more insightful understanding of human possibility. This paradigm must be strong enough to transform current educational thinking and practice. It must be creative and expansive enough to transform the world.

What kinds of schools and universities do we need to transform the world? To answer this, we need to address a number of other questions. For instance, what types of skills will people, both young and old, require in order to contribute to the common good? What can education do to motivate people toward cooperation and harmony? What is our deepest, most heartfelt hope for a compassionate human race, and how can education help manifest this hope? Can Enlightenment rationality, individualism, and rigor share a berth with wisdom, universality, and compassion in the education of the future? Can education develop a humanity that is not just intelligent but wise? Can education, which is often viewed as a very conservative cultural institution, become a means for transforming values, not just transmitting them?