A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.– Robert Heinlein (novelist)
Educators sometimes talk about practical and intellectual skills as if they were opposites — as if a school needed to choose one or the other, or strike some balance between them.
And so we get, for example, national debates about the merits of vocational tech vs. college prep programs.
Nonsense! This is based on a false dichotomy: understood properly, practical and intellectual skills are two pieces of a whole. Real intellectual skills are practical — and real practical skills are intellectual!
What if a new kind of school could destroy the false divide between practical and intellectual training?
In our schools, we help students —
- speak eloquently.
- cook scrumptiously.
- garden attentively.
- code precisely.
- engineer innovatively.
- problem-solve passionately.
- design elegantly.
And many things more! We develop practical superpowers.
Our schools attempt to be more business-practical than vocational tech schools, and more vibrantly intellectual than college-prep schools.