Iowa BIG

Iowa BIG is the current iteration of my career. The ideas for my contribution to this school started when I was in graduate school, and I’m tickled to count myself as a founder.

I was profoundly unsettled by the way school design wastes our teenagers. In an economic sense, we have young adults, who are excitable and ready to learn and do, and we cloister them away from society where they’re left to generate the bizarre sociology we call “high school”. Iowa BIG aims to put students squarely in public settings to answer questions and solve problems that directly impact their communities.

The current design of a majority of schools ignores almost all research concerning teenage psychology. Young adults are present-tense thinkers, they need help organizing future tasks, and most of all they’re supremely interested in being helpful while generating their own personal brand. The tired trope of “this class will help you in the future,” while probably maybe true, cannot be understood by most young adults.

If we take the helicopter up a few thousand feet, we also are firmly past the point where schools have become obsolete. The tell-tale symptom is the swiss-army-knifing of the school. There’s no longer an agreed upon body of knowledge everyone needs to know, and there’s no longer a predominant path to success in America.

Things are more exciting now. There are myriad ways that a student can give back, generate a career, and become learned.

What follows is a listing of articles detailing how we fundamentally redesigned the core resource streams that go into young adult education.