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Turning Learning Right Side Up

Putting Education Back on Track

Russell Ackoff and Daniel Greenberg

In the age of the Internet, we educate people much as we did during the Industrial Revolution. We educate them for a world that no longer exists, instilling values antithetical to those of a free, 21st century democracy. Worst of all, too many schools extinguish the very creativity and joy they ought to nourish.

In Turning Learning Right Side Up, legendary systems scientist Dr. Russell Ackoff and “in-the-trenches” education innovator Daniel Greenberg offer a radically new path forward. In the year’s most provocative conversation, they take on the very deepest questions about education: What should be its true purpose? Do classrooms make sense anymore? What should individuals contribute to their own education? Are yesterday’s distinctions between subjects—and between the arts and sciences—still meaningful? What would the ideal lifelong education look like—at K-12, in universities, in the workplace, and beyond?

Ackoff and Greenberg each have experience making radical change work–successfully. Here, they combine deep idealism with a relentless focus on the real world–and arrive at solutions that are profoundly sensible and powerfully compelling.

Why today’s educational system fails—and why superficial reforms won’t help
The questions politicians won’t ask—and the answers they don’t want to hear

How do people learn—and why do they choose to learn?
Creating schools that reflect what we know about learning

In a 21st century democracy, what values must we nurture?
…and why aren’t we nurturing them?

How can tomorrow’s “ideal schools” be operated and funded?
A plan that cuts through political gridlock and can actually work

Beyond schools: building a society of passionate lifelong learners
Learning from childhood to college to workplace through retirement

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About the Authors

Russell Ackoff

Russell L. Ackoff was Anheuser-Busch Professor Emeritus of management science at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He authored over 20 books and 250 articles, and has conducted research for more than 300 corporations and government agencies. His books include Idealized Design: Creating an Organization’s Future. ... More

Daniel Greenberg

Daniel Greenberg is a founding member of the Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, Massachusetts. His books include Free at Last, Kingdom of Childhood, A Clearer View, The Pursuit of Happiness, Legacy of Trust, Words in Creation, A New Look at Schools, and Education in America. ... More

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