Future Smart

Parents of twice-exceptional learners often lament the current system of American education. We feel little has changed in schools despite considerable societal shifts, and it can be quite difficult to find programs and teachers that are a good fit for our kids. In Ulcca Joshi Hansen’s landmark book, The Future of Smart: How Our Education System Needs to Change to Help All Young People Thrive, she takes this subjective experience and frames it within an historical and cultural context. She echoes so many of us when she calls for a radical re-imagining of what our educational system could be. Her broad professional background in education, philosophy, foreign language, and the law, as well as her experiences growing up as an English language learner in the United States between living abroad in various cultures, and, most significantly, parenting two children, combine to give her a unique capacity to explore this topic.

In the first part of the book, Hansen dives deeply into how our current system of education came into being. When considering the worthy, but not well thought out, goals of “No Child Left Behind,” she writes: "The initiative failed because they [the government] didn’t understand the problem… the experts were looking at an education system designed during the Industrial Revolution to prepare the children of laborers for factory jobs, rank them, sort the best from the worst and inculcate the values of the time…. The times had changed, our values had changed, and the machine was still chugging along in the same old way."

Hansen envisions a school system where specialized programs for giftedness are unnecessary bec...


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