Preparing the Class of 2040

Reflective of CfC’s ongoing work in Design and Education, we hosted a lecture and workshop in collaboration with The Finnish Innovation Fund. The event brought together educators from Rhode Island and Finland to learn from one another and share ideas about the purpose and future of education. 

In 2022, the class of 2040 will be born. Current debates in education focus on “college and career readiness” alongside topics such as achievement gaps and social justice. All of this is done with the aim of giving our children more and better opportunities for a prosperous life. 

But our future is one that will continue to see a warming planet with extreme weather conditions, and a likely destabilization (if not outright transformation) of the economies of today. It is hard to imagine now, but the world of 2040 may not be one where careers and college are most important. Certainly for the most vulnerable, 2040 and beyond will be about survival. 

Perhaps “climate readiness” is not the right premise for education either. Caught between the urgent and important, we must decide how to prepare our children for the uncertain future of work, civics, society, and the planet. Should the emergencies of today shape the education of children over the next 20 years?

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