The Online School for 21st Century Skills

"There's a Solution for That!"

How 21st Century Skills Will Change 
Education As We Know It
The Real Future of Education 
If you're reading this blog article, the chances of you having college loan debt, living paycheck to paycheck or not having enough money to retire are really high. In fact, Americans have over $1.4 trillion dollars in college loan payments that are due. 

How did this happen? And what happened to America's once heralded educational system? If you want to know the answer, read the rest of this blog article. You will also get a chance to see what the REAL future of education looks like. 

Sneak Preview : It's all good for you and your children!

How did we get here? 

Before we can start outlining how Leaf Academy is going to revolutionize education and finally fix the problem riddled system, let's first agree on how we ended up in this awful place. And let's be honest with ourselves for a second -- if you graduated from college and can't afford to buy a house, something went wrong with the system.

One of the biggest problems with the whole educational system, this includes K12 and the collegiate system, is the fact that every teacher and administrator that works in these two systems is either REALLY old, or has a really old mindset. 

Even if a teacher is 22 years old -- they don't think like a 21st century citizen. For some reason, everyone inside the system has the same old mentality. If you want to understand why nothing has changed for 100 years - that's the reason. How can anything change, when the system preaches the system is "perfect" the way it is. 

And we can only report this because Leaf Academy's Founder, D. Scott Schwartz, M.Ed, worked inside the K12 system for over 20 years. In his graduate education program, the professors told him, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

It's obvious that teachers and administrators have on rose-colored glasses when it comes to how the system works and thinks. Nothing about the school system (K12 and College) works well in the 21st century. Everything is broke - thus it all needs to be fixed.

The End of a Century

At the turn of the century, then President George W. Bush (also a very old person) wanted to make Americans feel better about their schools. Frankly, everyone could see the writing on the wall - our school system sucks!! But what if we create a test to measure how much content kids can memorize? That way we can show off how smart American kids are in comparison to the rest of the world.

That didn't go so well. In fact, every year we publish our test scores and compare them to the rest of the world -- apparently kids from other countries are just better candidates for the game show Jeopardy! than our kids are. (oh the shame!)

Hopefully, you're starting to get the picture. Is that all the standardized tests measure? Didn't you think they measured more than pure memorization? But no, that's all they measure.

The problem stems from an old mentality. For some reason, it's really hard for OLD people to admit they still have more to learn. And that's the problem the academic elite, teachers and administrators run into all the time. They just can't admit they don't know everything. And if you suggest they don't - that's when they get really nasty, rude and angry. 

Have you ever proven a teacher was wrong? How do they react? (Not good! Yikes!)

Here's the Dilemma

Right now, the school system (K12 and College) runs on one curriculum. In case, that word is too "nerdy" for you, the curriculum are the skills you will learn when you finish school. 

Do you know what skills you learned in school? It's not hard to find out, in fact, it's outlined in the Common Core Standards and the Standardized Testing. You only learned three basic skills: reading, writing and math.

Here's the dilemma teachers and administrators run into. They think that courses are the same thing as skills. For example, if you ask a teacher what kids learn in school, they will say Math, Science, Social Studies and English. Except that's not really true. What kids learn in school are reading, writing and math skills. The courses you take are just one way to apply those skills into subject areas. 

The issue that academic elites don't want to admit is elementary school, that means grades K through 5, students learn basic skills in those courses. For example, a child in Kindergarten English is learning how to read. Or a child in 3rd grade math is learning basic math principles. 

But what do kids learn in middle and high school? And this is where the OLD brain of educators refuses to be honest. The truth is that middle and high school students are also learning how to read, write and do math. For example, a child in a High School English class is told to "read" Shakespeare and "write" a paper or analysis of the play. 

A child in High School math is being told to learn Algebra (math skills).  Public school advocates will tell you that kids need to learn Algebra, Geometry and other advanced math skills, except that's not 100% honest. The truth is that not EVERY student needs to learn those basic skills.

Of course, the critics of public education want to hijack the conversation and say that kids should be learning "trade skills" like Home Economics, Computer Coding, or even Plumbing and Electrical.  They aren't being 100% honest with you either. 

The reality is that when you finished the 5th grade, you had acquired the three basic skills; reading, writing and math. That means, when you start middle school, you should start learning 21st century skills. 

How to Make Your School Modern in 90 Days

Here's how 21st century skills can change education as we know it. The first thing that needs to happen is every teacher and administrator in America needs to get up to speed on 21st century skills. 

To make that easier, here is a list of the five essential 21st century skills:

- Leadership
- Team Building
- Problem Solving
- Sales
- Communications 

The next thing that has to happen is every teacher and administrator needs to know what these skills do. And for that, Leaf Academy has created Five Free 21st Century Skills Guides that teachers, administrators, and elected officials can download and read. (Remember that teachers are expert readers)

Once everyone is familiar with 21st century skills, it's time to see the quick transformation happen inside the school. Ready? Set. Go!

Team Building in Schools

Did you know schools are dealing with teacher morale problems, a toxic culture and rampant bullying among students? Why would going to school be such a torture chamber? What happened?

This is where having an old mentality really hurts the school, the system and the students. There is a way to turn schools from cold, dark and toxic places into warm, supportive and inspiring learning environments. The problem is that OLD minds, block out NEW ideas. For example, teachers and administrators were seduced by the word "collaboration."

Maybe you suffer from the same seduction. Here's what we mean. What is the image you have when you think of a collaborative environment? Is it a positive image or a negative and toxic image? The answer is probably positive. But did you know why it's a positive image?

You might not like the anwer, but the truth is the only reason you associate "collaboration" with positivity is because education influencers paid millions of dollars to create a false image in your mind.

That's right. If you knew the research on "collaboration" you would not even be having this dilemma in your mind. In fact, why don't we share that research with you now...

The Research Behind Collaboration

The research we are going to share with you is readily available. In fact, after you finish reading this blog, google the "Pareto Principle" or the "80/20 rule" and you will see for yourself, the horrors of collaboration.

What the education influencers did was buy a false image, so that you wouldn't question why they were teaching collaboration to your kids. (not sure why they did this) According to the Pareto Principle (or 80/20 rule), no matter what you do, if you create a collaborative group of individuals, they will always fall into this distribution formula. 

What we mean is that if you get a group of individuals together, no matter how much they like each other or work well together, 20% of the group will always end up doing 80% of the work. (hmm...interesting to say the least)

The reason this always happens is because collaboration exploits the individuals in the group. The goal of a collaborative environment is to make each individual compete against each other. People who "love" collaboration also love the "meritocracy."

Both concepts are flawed and complete failures, according to the scientific research. Anyone with half a brain can google this research and see that collaboration doesn't work, never works and WILL never work. When you create a collaborative environment, you are in essence telling the participants, "get ready for war!"

If you look at every toxic work environment, you will probably see a collaborative environment as well. In fact, school districts demand that teachers collaborate more together and in turn, teachers force students to collaborate with each other. And here are the results...

Teachers feel under-appreciated, overworked, burnt out and stressed to the gills. How do the students feel? The students don't fare much better. Students are reporting more fatigue, depression, anxiety and thoughts of depression than ever before.

If you were looking for something to blame -- here's your culprit. It's collaboration.

Teaching Team Building

Here's where that OLD mindset becomes a major hurdle. If teachers and administrators could just get past their OLD brains, they would see that there is a much better skill they could be teaching kids. And not only that, but if teachers and administrators practiced this skill themselves it would save them from themselves.

The skill that beats collaboration, the Pareto Principle and the 80/20 rule is team building. Don't rush to judgment. Remember, you thought that collaboration was a good idea three seconds ago. 

Team building does not have the same inherent problems as collaboration does and here's why. Team building does not exploit the individuals in the group. The big difference between a collaborative environment and a team environment is that inside a team, all the individuals must work on a common purpose. Teams turn individuals into something bigger than themselves. 

If you want people to appreciate one another, build a team. If you want people to work together, build a team. If you want to create a positive and supportive environment, build a team.

But this doesn't happen automatically. In fact, there are Five Stages to Team Building that teachers and administrators need to learn. And the faster they learn these five stages, the faster they can turn their dark and oppressive cultures into more warm and inspiring spaces. 

It's really up to them. Do they want to keep working in a horrible environment or do they want something better?

The 21st Century Skills Curriculum

Now that you can see the huge benefit of learning team building, now's a perfect time to outline how each of the five essential 21st century skills can benefit kids in their future. Afterall, isn't the purpose of school to help kids become lifelong learners and be productive members of society?

If you don't teach 21st century skills, how do you meet those goals? Limiting the curriculum to reading, writing and math is just not cutting it anymore in the 21st century. 

What Kids Can Do With Each 21st Century Skill

We're just going to outline each skill and then explain how kids can use them in real life. Are you ready to have your mind blown away??

21st Century Leadership

Why do kids need to learn 21st century leadership skills? The answer is simple. When kids have leadership skills they will be able to follow their dreams and passions and find their path in life. The hardest aspect of being a teacher is not knowing what the future holds for students. The truth is that no one has a crystal ball, so teachers do their best to project what a kid might do in the future.

But there's a problem with that projection. How does a teacher know what they are talking about? In fact, there are thousands of examples of teachers being dead wrong on their predictions. For example, Tyler Perry dropped out of high school and he is one of the most successful entertainers in America.

Was his teachers wrong about him? The answer is obviously YES!

The hard part for teachers and administrators comes back to that OLD brain of theirs. Old minds blockout NEW ideas, which means that even 22 year old teachers don't know what 21st century leadership looks like. The truth is there are Six Steps to Leadership Skills. If kids learn all six steps, they will be able to identify their dream, but then move on to step two and create a path to make that dream come true.

Isn't that the issue most people have in life? Everyone has a dream, but very few people know how to make that dream a reality. When kids learn the six steps, they learn how to make their dreams real. How much happier would a kid feel if they knew they could make their dreams come true? Make no mistake, leadership skills don't make the path easy. On the contrary, some kids dreams are very challenging to pursue, but isn't it better for a kid to know -- "if I want to follow this dream, I am going to have work really hard at these things."

When kids graduate from high school or college right now, not only do they not know what they want to do with their life, but they also don't have a path to follow. This condition of feeling "lost" is now plaguing tens of millions of people in America. Learning the Six Steps of Leadership reduces that "lost" feeling. 

21st Century Team Building

Remember the Pareto Principle research? There are Five Stages to Team Building and if you follow all five, you can create a cohesive and supportive team wherever you go. And this is important, because kids need to know how to build teams as they get older.

Team building is critical for long term success. Not to mention that kids need to know how to avoid collaborative environments at all costs. The kids that know team building skills will never work for a company with a toxic environment. They will avoid years of stress, anxiety and depression. They will love where they work and also be happy in their lives. Why wouldn't we want to give kids the power of happiness?

21st Century Problem Solving

Did you know the next generation of millionaires will come from the problem solvers? Because of social media and a global marketplace, problem solvers have been elevated in society. 

For example, let's look at what Uber was able to do. Uber solved a major transportation issue in society. And their solution made the founders millions of dollars. There are hundreds of examples of how problem solvers made millions fixing issues in society. 

If you want to give the next generation the ability to make millions of dollars, then you need to teach them how to solve problems.  

21st Century Sales Skills

Did you "cringe?"

Unfortunately the word "sales" will always be synonymous with a used-car salesman. But make no mistake, 21st century sales skills has nothing to do with selling products or services. Of course, it can be used for traditional sales, but the purpose of teaching sales skills in school is to show kids how to be more persuasive.

Imagine what your child could do if they knew the power of persuasion?

There are Five Pillars of Sales and each one of them helps kids learn how to be more persuasive. And the reason that's important is because more and more people today complain about being "marginalized" "unheard," "unseen," and "forgotten."

If you feel this way, it's because you don't know the first thing about persuasive arguments. If you can't show people that your thoughts, ideas and opinions have value - then yes you will be ignored and forgotten. The 21st century is very unforgiving to people who just "talk" a lot. No one cares what you have to say. Literally no one. The only way to get people's attention is if you bring value to the world, and that's what 21st century sales skills help kids do -- bring more value.

21st Century Communications

And the last skill kids need to learn is communications.

What's the difference between communications and sales skills? There is actually a huge difference. On the one hand, sales skills teach kids the power of persuasion and how to bring more value, whereas communications skills help kids build trust and reputation in the world.

What you may not realize is that we are hardwired to trust certain people and distrust others. And one way to tell the difference is to listen to them speak or communicate. People who "hide" information, seem shady to us. People don't trust "shady" people.

But what if you're an honest person, but have zero communications skills? If you couldn't guess, honest people without communications skills look "shady" to other people. That's right, you could be the most honest person in the world, but if you don't have communications skills people will not trust you. It may be harsh, but it's reality. 

There are five questions that kids need to learn in communications. If they learn all five, then they can build trust and reputation with people. That means, if they want to build a presence on social media, they need communications skills. If they want to get hired by the HR manager, they need communication skills.

Bet you didn't know that one of the reasons some people can't find a job is because they don't have communications skills. That's right, they don't know the five questions, so when they go for an interview, the hiring manager thinks they look "shady" and won't hire them.

Don't hamstring kids, just because we don't teach them communications skills.

90-Day Timeline

So how can a school transform their dark, toxic building into a warm and inviting learning environment in 90 days? Well, let's walk through it together. In the first 30 days, the school needs to teach all the staff (teachers and administrators) the Five Stages of Team Building.

Once the staff know the five stages, then they will be ready for Phase Two, which takes place over the next 30 days. This is where the school needs to adopt a 21st century skills curriculum. Everything won't convert over immediately, but teachers will be encouraged to start incorporating the new 21st century skills into their lessons plans for the remainder of the year. (Administrators will re-write the curriculum maps before the next school year)

It's important to note, that the 21st century skills curriculum is only for middle and high school students. The curriculum will not change at the elementary level. Kids in grades K through 5 must learn how to read, write and do math, otherwise kids will be lost when they start learning 21st century skills.

What happens in the last 30 days?

Over the last 30 days is where administrators prove their leadership skills. It's time for administrators to put their money where their mouth is. At this point, schools must review their budgets and make better decisions as to what "crap" they don't need anymore and should stop buying.

The fact is that school districts waste hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on nonsense. One such waste of funds is the failed Professional Development they provide to teachers. (We highly recommend Education Development Institute's Teacher Development Program "TDP") The TDP is the most successful and effective teacher prep/training program in the country.

What Happens at the End of the 90 Days?

At the end of the 90-days, the district has changed dramatically. Funny thing though - no one is upset at the changes. In fact, everyone is shaking hands and saying hello to everyone in the hallway. The school finally functions properly. Teachers are getting along with other teachers. Administrators have earned the respect of staff. And students LOVE SCHOOL! (We're not joking!)

Are You Ready to Take the Next Leap?

Do you think your school is ready to make this leap? Before you say YES, you need to realize that the obstacle your school faces is not real, it's "imaginary." That's right, the only reason teachers and administrators do not want to take this next step is because they have OLD BRAINS and old minds blockout NEW ideas.

The reality is you will face resistance, but not for the reasons you think. It's going to seem weird to you because teachers will agree with you and still refuse to do anything. Even principals will be inspired by the possibilities, but then fall into a deep depression.

What you are observing is how the school system has hijacked their brains. Even 22 year old teachers have OLD brains now. It's impossible for an OLD person to want to learn new things. Old people are tired, exhausted and just want to be left alone. Old people do not want to admit they need to learn "one more thing."

Can you imagine living your whole life and realizing that you haven't even touched the surface of knowledge? That no matter how much you study and learn new things, you will NEVER know everything. When an OLD person makes that realization, they give up. That's when an OLD person's brain shuts down and stops working correctly.

They say you can't teach an "old dog, new tricks," except the reason why is because old people don't care to learn anymore. The sad reality is they just want to be left alone and wait to die.

But there is one way to overcome the OLD mindset.

How You Can Overcome an Old Person's Brain? 

We know you're excited about teaching kids 21st century skills. The fact is that you can download all Five Free 21st Century guides yourself and get caught up on all the research and information that schools never taught you.

It will be like getting a brand new education for NOTHING!! 

Can you imagine the possibilities for your school and kids? So we know this is groundbreaking and inspiring for most people. We know that it will get people charged up and excited to implement in their schools. And Leaf Academy wants to be as helpful as possible - but we also like to be honest and realistic.

We hope this is why you trust us and want to learn with Leaf Academy. The truth is that schools can't change because OLD people don't want to learn new things. And the school system has hijacked the 22 year old brains, as much as the 60 year old brains.

If you want to get around that OLD mindset, you need to build a team in your school and your community. And you need to commit for 30 days straight. The message you need to tell every single teacher, administrator and school board member is that they are OLD and this is the future of education.

Yes, you need to tell them they are OLD. You can go one step further if you feel confident enough, by telling them they don't know enough about 21s century education to make decisions. Trust us, that will make them more stubborn than before, but you need to state this. The truth is that they are OLD and they don't know enough to make a smart decision. 

But OLD people are stubborn and they will hold out for a certain amount of time. But that's the secret! You have time on your side, which is why OLD people will give up after 30 days. That's about the time they see the writing on the wall and realize that they don't want to spend their last days on earth being stubborn. So OLD people will give up after 30 days.

But you need to be consistent. You need to be vigilant. And you need to send those messages every single day. You need to show up at board meetings and repeat the mantra. You need to send notes to the Superintendent's office. And you need to send emails to every single teacher and administrator in the district. If you can do this for 30 days straight, they will all give up the fight against you.

Here's the weirdest part. They won't be mad at you. 

The truth is they agree with you. The truth is they are on your side. Weird, right?

What you need to realize is that teachers, the 22 year old and the 60 year old, care about their students - they only fight because they are OLD and their brains don't work anymore.

They are not fighting against you -- they are fighting against time! And that's an imaginary enemy. That's an imaginary obstacle. Once you realize that teachers and administrators are living in an alternate reality - is when you can begin to show them why they need to GIVE UP and just become a modern school. 

Everyone knows this is what needs to happen. So why continue to fight against it anymore??
Finding the Right Path

More Blog Posts:

What Can You Do With 21st Century Skills?
How 21st Century Skills Will Change Business As We Know It
How 21st Century Skills Will Change Sports As We Know It


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