How Would You Fix School?

For centuries, the dominant image of college in America has been that of a secluded campus, full of 18-22 year-olds educating themselves for the future. Yet, as Big Think’s recent guest Gerald Chertavian explains, this notion is not only wrong, it is entirely contradictory to the needs of the new, knowledge-based economy. Currently, only about 29% of Americans obtain a college degree, a mere 8% of which do so by the age of 22, while the truly typical college student completes their post-secondary education at the age of 27—while working an average of 25 hours a week. Clearly, if America is going to stay competitive in an age where refined skills need be to spread amongst entire populations, a different model of education must take hold.

Spotting this need, as well as the shameful “opportunity divide” afflicting the urban poor, Chertavian founded Year Up, a non-profit organization that provides professional training to the otherwise disenfranchised. As Chertavian explains, starting a business, even one with such noble intentions, isn’t exactly a walk in the park—it takes perseverance, the ability to sell people on the power of one’s idea, and a new way of enacting private/public partnerships.

Despite these challenges, Year Up has proven successful, making clear the three essential principles of an education and acting on them in a way that public systems have never been able to.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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For a long time, the West shaped the world. That time is over.

The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.

  • Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
  • European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
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Why modern men are losing their testosterone

Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?

Flickr user Tom Simpson
Sex & Relationships
  • Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
  • While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
  • The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
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Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
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