Chris Whittle: Reforming Education, Globally

It is impossible to have followed Education for the last 40 years and not know Chris Whittle. He’s a serial education entrepreneur – a “reformer,” as he puts it – and as you’ll hear, he’s not done yet.

After various bold ventures – founding Edison Schools, co-founding Avenues: The World School in Manhattan – Whittle is now preparing perhaps his biggest venture yet: What he calls the first modern school.

It’s a global vision – K through 12 education for the globalized, connected world. And I mean global: Once completed, the Whittle School & Studio will have 36 campuses across 30 of the world’s leading cities – some 90,000 students and thousands of faculty. The first two campuses are scheduled to open in Washington D.C. and Shenzhen, China next year.

Whittle aims, simply, to reform the institutionalized, one-size-fits-all approach and make relevant, flexible, and personalized education at scale – a new approach to learning in innovative physical environments around the world. The vision is attracting some leading educators – and education reformers – in the world.

Can it work? Can Whittle and team create something that not only lifts individual students in this unique school, but extends beyond and impacts education more broadly from American urban centers to underserved populations globally?

That’s what I asked him.

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