Partnership for Whole School Change



[Boston Mayoral Candidate Education Forum]

This proposal offers students eleven transcendent skills. When students become adult citizens, these skills give them global market knowledge and the academic and social skills to succeed in the global marketplace. To learn more about these skills and how to teach them click here.
Students will use the scientific method to develop their own understanding of the global marketplace, and how to humanely succeed in it. Students will us the scientific method when they
  • offer their own theories and findings about the global market;
  • present theories and findings that question their work; 
  • determine when it is helpful to present findings that question their work; and
  • develop and communicate their rational for explaining the difference between their theories and the findings and theories that question their work.
When these students become employees and entrepreneurs, they will have reliable and sound thoughts and under- standings that, after much work and reflection, are their own.
Students will have school experiences that result in them becoming lifelong lovers of learningOne of the best tools our K-12 schools can give our children is a deep love of learning, because they will constantly be "in school" learning new skills and knowledge. Citizens who dislike school and the learning process will be at-risk.

When they become employees and entrepreneurs, their love of learning will give them a positive attitude when working on complicated and new workplace and life challenges. Our students will become employees and entrepreneurs whose human capital will rise, because their love for learning will make them more trainable, resilient, knowledgeable, creative, and able to change 

Students will learn to build caring and authentic relationships with their school community, family members, and people in the greater society, so when they become employees and entrepreneurs, their humanity and their personal and group building skills will empower them to make allies and maintain healthy, productive connections with themselves and others.

Students will acquire sound preparation, research, and study habits, so when they become employees and entrepreneurs, they will know how to be prepared and confident about what they need to know, consider, and do.

Students will develop the abilities to learn alone and in teams, so when students become employees and entrepreneurs, they will have the skills to overcome difficult professional and workplace challenges alone or in groups.

Students will have school experiences that provide them with project-based learning, teambuilding, leadership, and leadership support skills, so when they are employees and entrepreneurs, they are able to establish humane, complex, innovative, and highly productive organizational structures. These structures will support everyone's leadership and serve the needs of an enterprise, city, or a communities.

Students will learn to develop ideas and strategies that help school staff seamlessly integrate academic subjects together. For example, students might work on integrating:

  • language arts with performing and visual arts, community building, and the social sciences; 
  • student run "banks" and "businesses" and the global market with math's quantitative analysis; and 
  • musical instrument making with STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).  
These experiences help students "think outside the box," so they can become employees and entrepreneurs who can see connections between and among things that other people's school experiences have taught them not to see.

Students will learn to ascertain where their genius lies and develop and share it with their school community and family membersWhen they become entrepreneurs and employees, they will have the ability to create the institutions, productive enterprises, social structures, communities, and jobs of the future. 

Students will develop and combine their communication, STEM, and performing and visual arts skills to design and establish SIMULATIONS that help them learn and teach global market and academic skills. These simulations are created and designed by the students with adult assistance. If students do not control the simulations they design they cannot realize their full educational benefit. Their teachers and artist/educators need to learn how to support their students' leadership by working with them during the simulation's development process.

Each simulation can be designed to replicate a historic or current real life social, technological, or economic situation. For example, this academic activity might replicate the ways humans produce goods and services today or in the distant past (wealth creation), the ways they distributed goods and services (the sharing or exchange of wealth), and the ways they consumed goods and services (who gets to have and consume wealth and what it means). 

Students design, build, and use these simulations to help them become employees and entrepreneurs who can apply the skills they are learning in school to create solutions that address actual social, economic, technological, and personal challenges. These simulations arm students with experiences that empower them to simultaneously appreciate the cognitive, emotion, technical, cultural, ecological, and moral dimensions of complex situations and problems. 

Having the real-life experience of creating a productive tool (the simulation) and having the experience of using the tool successfully brings out our students’ potential to innovate. K-12 experiences like these give our state's employees and entrepreneurs a competitive advantage when it comes to successfully creating new jobs and industries or working on and improving existing jobs and industries.

Each student will experience curricula that is based on Big Picture Learning®. Employing Big Picture Learning helps students become employees and entrepreneurs who can conceptualize, understand, and work on large, multifaceted, complicated mechanical, biological, economic, social, and natural systems.

Big Picture Learning empowers our citizens to see connections between and among things in our communities, workplaces, and the global market. The reason why most of our state's general public cannot see these connections is because our state's K-12 education system practices Small Picture Learning

Big Picture Learning encourages students to focus on what they are most passionate about. They explore the connections between the global market and what triggers their passion. Language arts, STEM subjects, social skills, and other academic lessons are seamlessly woven within an overarching global market theme that opens the students up to the world, its people, their cultures, and the opportunities these lessons offer our students. What was once boring, disconnected academic subjects become the students' own story full of meaning and interest. The story is connected to or about what the student is most passionate about. This interest increases when academic subjects are seen by students as helping them share their passion with the people in their world who matter to them.

In Big Picture Learning, the validity of the student’s academic work rests on how well it is communicated using abstract symbols, the performing and visual arts, sound logic, quality and valid empirical data, and its adherence to the scientific method. In this framework, passion becomes the focal point of the student’s academic experience.

Big Picture Learning helps our citizens avoid the pitfalls caused by Small Picture Learning that compartmentalizes academic subjects into isolated boxes or subjects. Small Picture Learning is a top down educational strategy that is dominant within our state’s K-12 schools and is a remnant of their connection to the 19th century factory system.

Small Picture Learning teaches our citizens to treat subjects that they have learned in school as being isolated from each other. This makes it too difficult for our citizens to bring different applications learned in isolation together. So, they cannot understand the interconnected world around them. Small Picture Learning's points our citizens away from the possibility of understanding the world they actually living in.

Students will learn how to practice critical life survival skills that are best taught by seamlessly integrating them into the school’s academic curriculum. Here is a list of some of the skills our children need to have that are not being taught in most of our state’s K-12 schools:

  • healthy eating and exercise habits;
  • entrepreneurial experiences and skills;
  • effective community and social organizing abilities;
  • values and attitudes that promote sound personal economic and social skills;
  • the capacity to gain from and be supportive of one’s civil  society;
  • the habit of voting and knowing how to organize votes in support of values the students uphold;
  • a sound understanding of political parties and how to influence and create them;
  • knowledge of one’s human, civil, worker, and investor rights;
  • a thorough understanding of how to use life, health, and other insurance products, banks, retirement strategies, employee benefits, Social Security, Medicare, interest, stocks and bonds, credit, and real estate; and
  • a sound understanding of trade policies, unions and collective bargaining, tariffs, social justice and fairness, and civil and human rights.
Our children have to have K-12 schools that play to their strengths and advantages. But, this cannot happen if our nation continues to ignore its greatest competitive advantage — its ability to out spend any country on earth to provide the human and material resources to develop its children's genius and human capital. Being raised within a wealthy, modern, first world democracy is clearly an advantage our nation’s children have in the global marketplace that is not being used. Too many of our children are receiving second and third world schooling, based on zip codes and property values.
Other nations are making these investments in all their children, and they will have the workers and entrepreneurs the world will invest in. Over time, the wealth these other nations will accrue from investing in their human capital will transfer what was once our nation’s competitive advantage to them. Our proposed commission wants to play a role in making sure that does not happen.  

[Boston Mayoral Candidate Education Forum] 

Copyright © 2015 Cooperative Artists Institute. All rights reserved.



We recognize that K-12 schools and school systems may perceive these transcendent student skills, and how to teach them, differently. Our developers welcome and value their different points of view. Therefore, when our commission is instituted, its members may alter or improve the skills presented in this proposal.

Currently, our developers work from the premise that students learn transcendent skills best when:  

  • they are seamlessly integrated with other academic subjects; 
  • the skills are a part of an engaging, meaningful, overarching story that students and teachers create, share, and change together;
  • the performing and visual arts are used to help students learn transcendent skills and develop the story above; and 
  • these skills are taught using strategies that embrace whatever ignites the student's passion.

The teaching of these skill-sets should start in kindergarten and continue through each grade level until our students graduate high school. Transcendent-skills-instruction needs to be developed and guided by a K-12 academic plan schools at each grade level develop.

Transcendent skills bring students and their teachers together. They work with artist/educators to help their classes use performing and visual arts media to create simulations that enable students to experience what is being taught. Simulations are human-made environments that are designed to replicate reality, so the learner gains some experience of what to expect in real life situations. For students and teachers to fully own their transcendent-skills-instruction and the simulations they use, they must play a leadership role in creating them.

To assist students and teachers in learning these skill sets, our artist/educators provide the following programs as helpful models: 

With their magical blend of music, dance, and dramatic stories, these models illustrate how teachers can use the arts in a classroom setting. And, working with their students, help them learn the art of designing simulations by creating their own Classroom Learning Tribe (K-5 students) and Classroom Council Circle (6-12 students).

The students also benefit from the dramatic, unfolding stories made available by these three academic curricula. The stories are orally told and written by students, and they are performed with music and musical instruments students make, dances students develop, theatrical stories students produce, and the props and visual arts the students create. 

As students come to master the process of designing their simulations, they use art media to create scenes and situations that took place before humans developed markets and after humans developed markets. Later, they create simulated scenes and situations that took place before humans developed the global marketplace and after humans developed the global marketplace. They also can be used to teach and learn any academic subject, or help teachers seamlessly integrate various school subjects together. This integration helps the student learn in ways that reflect how today's interconnected world functions.

These arts-based simulations need to give students the opportunity to express what they are passionate about. Driven by the motivation passion fosters and the power simulations create, students will have the capacity to seamlessly integrate the use of all their academic subjects. They will be able to explore different technologies and technological periods, experience different historic eras, visit different geographic locations, and cultures.

Using these simulations give students the capacity to explore the feelings, thoughts, motives, and behaviors of various socioeconomic groups and social classes that make up people today and people in our recent and distant pastStudents can experience the perspective of people who are socially powerful or weak, people who lived in the recent and distant past, and people who are living today. Simulations also help students experience the important role language arts, STEM knowledge, the performing and visual arts, social studies, and other academic subjects play in realizing their passion and the passions of their classmates.

These transcendent skills and student-created-arts-based simulations open students up to what they need to know and value to live well and humanely in today's global market world. These academic tools offer students a vast constellation of cognitive and social/emotional abilities that give them more ways of being, being creative, being civically engaged, and being a creator of wealth

Our citizens will need to reinvent themselves in a world where an employee is fortunate to have a job for four years, and simulations help them competently do this. Lots of transitions in the world's workplaces mean that our students need to experience transitions and how to successfully cope with them in our K-12 school. These and other transcendent student skills empower our citizens to become workers and entrepreneurs who are able to benefit from the global market's constructive innovations, and cope with and moderate its destructive innovations

Students who have not learned arts-based simulations and other transcendent skills will be at-risk of becoming adults who will be emotionally and psychologically living in the pre-1985 world that predates the global marketplace. With each passing day, their economic and social status will become increasingly tentative, as what little that is left of the pre-1985 world rapidly shrinks away. Everyday that passes leaves these citizens more lost than the day before as the knowledge base that supports their means of survival and social connections grow ever smaller in a world they no longer understand. If this situation is remedied, these citizens may provide our state with more economic and social benefits than any other economic development strategy.

Copyright © 2015 Cooperative Artists Institute. All rights reserved.