David Britten bio

Upgrading an Outdated Education System: What Now? Ep. 2 with David Britten

Just a few years before his retirement, superintendent David Britten knew that there was something our education system wasn’t getting right. He felt then that, “I know what learning is about, but I don’t know how to package that into a school system.” He was concerned that students were studying ever-more narrow content standards, and missing out on the type of skills that would help them be confident problem solvers and successful in a technology age. So he began a significant district transformation in his small district, Godfrey-Lee Public Schools.

A colleague, Dr. Carol Lautenbach (who will be featured in a later interview in our series) brought him Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children. There he felt like he had found the framework for skill development he needed. Becoming Brilliant describes the six critical skills we need today, and how their development can be supported in all types of environments.

We hope you enjoy our discussion today about how the education system that we designed in the late 1800s worked great, as David says, until about World War II. It’s time for something new.

David’s interview is a part of our What Now? video interview series on education.

What Now? asks: how should we navigate through this pandemic, and ensure a more prosperous Michigan in our recovery? Click the icon for other videos in this series.

Check back after Thanksgiving for our next interview with Danielle Jackson, the CEO of Detroit 90/90, U Prep Schools, on how a focus on student self-actualization and empowerment is changing their district.

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