Eric Ries: How The U.S. Education System Is Failing Students

How The U.S. Education System Is Failing Students

The debate surrounding the so-called broken education system in the U.S. has drawn input from leaders across industrial sectors, and in a conversation with The Washington Post's Michelle Williams, entrepreneur Eric Ries discusses his thoughts on how to fix the problem that "our educational system is not preparing people for the 21st century."

The answer? Failure.

The author of "The Lean Startup" says that the U.S. is creating systems that makes it hard for educators to "actually embrace this new way of thinking," in which failure is key, as it is in entrepreneurship. Schools and companies train their students and employees that more effort means greater ability to succeed -- but that's not how it always works when you're building something new.

"You don't get an 'A' for hard work, you only get an 'A' for delivering results, and that requires us to take risks, which causes us to fail," Ries says.

"The first time we run a real experiment to discover where we actually are ... it's going to be bad news," Ries continues. "It's probably going to reveal that not only are we not at the targets we need to be, we're probably impossibly far away. It's going to seem like a total disaster."

This idea of failure as the road to success in schools isn't apparent in current policies but is one that has been tested -- and proven effective -- in localities. Riverdale Country School in New York City, to name one, has taught its students to embrace and explore the lessons of failure by teaching resilience and curiosity.

How else do the principles of the scientific method and entrepreneurship tie into the idea that "failure is the jumping off point" in education? Watch the rest of Ries' thoughts above.

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