Schools have traditionally been far too focused on the past. Alfred North Whitehead referred to the “insistent present”, and he reminded us that the present world we are living in is all that exists. The primary purpose of school is to prepare young people to live in the current age and the near future, which they will have to survive in. This does not mean that history or classic literature are not valuable; they are.  But they derive their fundamental worth from how they prepare us to understand and thrive in the modern world. Educators, including those responsible for creating educational policy as well as administrators, have not sufficiently understood this fundamental truth. All students should be afforded the opportunity to study current events, global challenges such as the climate crisis and socioeconomic inequality, and modern movements and societal and technological trends such as AI and automation that promise to profoundly impact their lives in the very near future. To reiterate: this should be considered a basic human and generational right of young people, not to be infringed upon for any reason.

 

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