Arguably the coolest life experience I’ve had is hanging onto the dorsal fin of a shark and getting pulled along for a ride while diving off the coast of Belize. Its sparked an enduring curiosity about sharks which led me to flip on a new show called Shark Tank a couple of nights ago. Instead of being about big, toothy fish, it was about entrepreneurship, with contestants pitching ideas to investors (sharks) and hoping for funding. Education has its own version of Shark Tank in The Mind Trust.
Too often our field is skeptical of competition, as if having a competitive spirit is at odds with an ability to be a team player who looks out for the interests of all kids. Adults in a school building need to be both collaborative and competitive to help their students succeed. We need to teach kids both collaboration and competition.
The Mind Trust is an extraordinary example of how a competitive process coupled with collaborative supports for selected entrepreneurs can make a tremendous impact on the lives of kids. See here, here, here and here.
We know that many young professionals are driven toward careers that enact their commitment to social justice. That orientation is, in part, driving record applications to programs like Teach for America. The Mind Trust challenges the assumption that this desire to change the world through one’s work is time-limited to the first few years out of college. If we really hope to transform urban education, we need to be challenging that assumption from all angles.
–Guestblogger Celine Coggins, Founder of Teach Plus