Can we give each and every student the public schools they deserve …

… so that they can thrive—and with real joy too—in our future economics?

And if so, what kind of public schools should they be?

And how can we make them happen?

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But first, a children’s story, and how it connects with our 2 new economics … 

…. but not for the reasons you may think!

Once upon a time there was a 14-years-old girl who loves to code.

Her Dad’s a computer programmer.

When she was very little, she would sit on his lap and watch as he coded away, his arms around her as he typed.

She kept trying to do what he was doing, her little hands all over his big hands.

So he showed her how to make simple programs.

After a while, he got her an old second-hand computer to bang away at.

Then he put her into a 130-student public school.

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There, the 4-years-old would wander over to the nearby computer room, which had mostly older boys there who would show her how to play games.

After a while, her computer teachers gave the little girl her own computer to play on, sometimes sitting beside her to help her or showing her what resources were available for her to use.

After 2 years, one of her computer teachers bought a particular software program for her, out of his own pocket.

Over the next 10 years, this student’s projects became more and more complex.

Now she’s 14 and working in the computer room on a 7-minute movie about how trees communicate with each other underground, with her science teacher’s help.

She’s editing this movie to show it to the rest of the school in the theatre in 2 weeks’ time.

Her table is covered with her latest script for another student’s voice-over part.

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One day, her 7-years old friend walks by the computer room and sees her.

Now, this little girl and her parents often play soccer in their backyard on weekends.

Her daddy’s birthday is coming up, and she wants to make him a gift.

She’s been visiting her older friend in the computer room for a few months now since she first came to this school, playing the programs that her older friend created.

This day, the 7-years-old’s clutching a much-loved, worn-out doll in her arm.

On the spot, she decides she wants to create a GIF of 3 of her favourite dolls playing soccer.

One doll will be her.

One doll will be Daddy.

One doll will be Mommy.

She’s excited, but she doesn’t know anything about coding.

The 14-years-old walks her through it so that the girl can start making her gift.

The older girl starts explaining something that doesn’t relate to what the little girl wants to see.

The little girl starts to grumble.

She’s not interested in any functions that isn’t getting her her dolls playing soccer!!!

The older girl soothes her and goes back to showing her how to construct a simple doll.

The little girl starts moving the computer mouse again, trying to add colour to the Mommy doll.

She starts talking about making more GIFs.  

A GIF of cute kittens!!!

A GIF of a farmhouse!

And so on.

The older girl had been using her own software programs to teach her little friend.

Mid-way through, she changes her approach.

She now searches for—and finds—free internet resources that her little friend can use at home.

Over the next several days, a few minutes at a time, they create a 7-second GIF.

The little girl gives this present to her parents on her Dad’s birthday, to their warm surprise, appreciation and delight.

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Unpacking these 2 girls’ coding experiences … 

What they’re doing will help them thrive in our 2 future economics.

But not for the reasons you may be thinking of.

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For the past 100 years, we’ve been doing lots and lots of daily routine tasks for our jobs, often using machines.

Must be why we call it the Industrial Revolution.

But as more and more of our work—and lives—becomes automated …

… we’re losing those routine tasks … 

… and thus JOBS.

As many as 800,000,000 JOBS may well vanish into thin air because of robots.

75,000,000 to 375,000,000 adults today may need to change over to new jobs by 2030.

That’s only 12 years away!

And our little children today, just entering kindergarten?

65% of these little ‘uns will grow up to encounter jobs that just don’t exist today.

They’ll be living a very different work-life than us.

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This massive shift has been happening for a while now.

But, good news, we’ve had revolutions like this before, and they tend to generate MORE jobs than they lose.

New technology often give rise to MORE jobs, not fewer.

And, what’s more: this time around, our worklife’ll get interesting-er and interesting-er as a result!

Because we’ll be using more of ourselves in our work this time around … not less.

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Here’s why: the top 10 skills in demand for 2020, only 3 years from now, in blue text below, are:

Today, most jobs already require EMOTIONAL SKILLS more than daily routine tasks.

And all new job growth between 1980 and 2012 required a lot of “SOCIAL SKILLS.”

For 30 years, from 1980 to 2010, the last line representing “routine tasks” has been going down, down, down until it’s practically falling out of the graphic above.

For “social skills,” on the other hand, the top black line’s going up quite consistently.

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Unpacking all of this some more:  all of this means that our little children will now need to grow up to be able to

— see new patterns and make new associations between ideas

negotiate successfully with people

anticipate what people will need and meet these people’s needs

dive into big data and find actionable insights

connect to human emotions and respond in a caring way

collaborate with others

manage people in ways that unleash these people’s energies

create new ideas from seemingly disparate information

consider various solutions and weigh the cons and pros of each approach

tackle big problems never seen before … and solve them in an ever-changing landscape

So says the World Economic Forum in this NEWSPAPER-Y SUMMARY of the skills section of their THE FUTURE OF JOBS REPORT

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That’s a lot to expect from our young students!!!

How the heck can they possibly develop all of those (let’s admit it) rather complex abilities?

A bit intimidating, isn’t it?

Fortunately, the answer is quite simple.

Rich human interactions is what will give birth to all of these complex abilities.

So says THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM, which explains that

“We learn to be complex thinkers, 

to manage relationships, 

and to be emotionally intelligent

by practicing those skills, with others,

on problems big and small.” 


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When I (this writer) studied for my Masters in elementary education, I studied how children learn to write.

They learn to write … by writing.

It’s in the very doing itself, of writing, in other words, that they learn to write—assuming they’ve been bathed in language from birth on, that is.

It would seem, according to the World Economic Forum, that the same thing applies to everything else we learn in life.

That is, we learn by doing.

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Which brings up the question of:  what should these “rich, human interactions” look like for our little ‘uns as they grow up?

Yes, exactly.

Like those 2 girls coding together.

Between them, 7 short human interactions over 4 days produced a 7-second GIF!

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But, it’s more than the final product itself, obviously.

The older girl’s showed her younger friend how to create a GIF.

She’s teaching, in other words, a crucial ability for the future.

She also soothes her friend when her friend grumbles. 

She’s being empathetic, an 2nd crucial ability.

She then adjusts her explanations to better match her little friend’s interests.

Mid-way through, she stops using her own programs and and starts using free internet resources that her little friend can use at home to make her own GIFs.

She’s being emotionally intelligent, a 3rd crucial ABILITY.

And so on.

AND, all of this is happening naturally, too, and in the moment.

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Many of us adults can start expanding into our more complex abilities even late in life.

We now KNOW that neuro-plasticity exist, that we can RE-WIRE our pathways over time.

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And … it does begin with babies, too.

Always, always, always.

Because no loving adults = feral children, after all.  Obviously.

“Rapid infant learning happens in the context of these rich social interactions,” according to this RESEARCH.

Interpersonal exchanges profoundly influence the baby brain.

Babies develop language and “social ability” as a result of these rich social interactions.

But obviously they can only thrive if they are NURTURED, e.g., held in warm loving arms.

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Rich human interactions are where it’s at, then, when it comes to our 2 new economies, whether we go into

– the larger “COMPASSION ECONOMY” and/or

– the smaller but very significant STEM FIELDS

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So this begs this question:

Are these same rich human interactions happening in our big public schools?


Morning, noon, afternoon?

All the educational reforms of the past 30 years, and are we there yet?

The answer, from this writer and teacher:

Probably not.

Or, not quite yet.

Is there a way for each and every student to get the rich human interactions they need in our own public schools?

So that they can be all that they can be?

AND join our new economics when it is their time? 

NEXT:  “How Our Public Schools Can Help Our Children to Thrive in Our Future Economics.”