The public education system, specifically for high schools, as we know is dated. The main problem with this is that while the education system hasn’t changed much over generations, the skills students need to succeed in the real world and the obstacles in the way of obtaining a quality education have evolved immensely.
To help close the gap, Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs, is funding a project that could make education more flexible for students that need it the most.
Croft and Whalen got this opportunity by being one of the 10 national finalists of the XQ: The Super School Project competition, which had over 700 applications. Winners will receive $10 million over five years.
RISE High plans to have up to four physical facilities in spaces shared with non-profit organizations for students to learn, as well as online classes. The program will also utilize a fully-equipped bus that will be offer tutoring services and a place for students to wash their clothes when needed. This feature is specifically meant to help students that work to support their families, may be homeless or have recently moved.
“We started to realize that … the traditional school setting that we were both working in was really limiting,” Croft said.
The program currently has a cap of 1 teacher per 25 students and will make sure that faculty is properly trained to work with students that may have experienced trauma, who are more prone to leave school due to a distrust of the system.
“It’s hard to learn and study when you don’t have enough to eat or haven’t washed your clothes in a week,” said Leslie Heimov, the executive director of the Children’s Law Center of California. “There’s a commitment to finding out what a student needs before they can learn, and then providing it.”
Photo: RISE High cofounder Eric Whalen works with student (XQ Institute)