Koala dads, creative kids

Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World  by Harvard’s Tony Wagner is written for “Waldorf parents, Montessori moms and Koala dads,” according to Education Gadfly.

The premise is that America needs to foster more innovation and grow more entrepreneurs—both the STEM and social varieties—to remain globally competitive. Drawing on 150 interviews (and ten case studies of young innovators), Wagner argues that play, passion, and purpose must dominate one’s growth (through childhood and into college). . . . He exalts disruptive innovation, calls for abolishing “publish or perish” tenure determinations for professors, concedes that content cannot be drowned in an effort to boost process skills, and posits an interesting charter-like reboot of college education.

Living in Silicon Valley, I meet lots of entrepreneurs who are both very well-educated in technical fields and creative risk takers. Many are immigrants drawn to the U.S. by the entrepreneurial culture — or they’re the children of supportive, engaged, educated parents.

Teens have formed an entrepreneurs’ clubat Palo Alto High, my daughter’s alma mater, reports the New York Times.

Like many young entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, Matthew Slipper knows that success does not come easy. His first startup, an online education venture, flopped. His second, a video-sharing app for the iPhone, has sold only 20 copies.

But Slipper is optimistic. He should be. He’s just 18, a founding member of the Paly Entrepreneurs Club, an extracurricular group at the local high school that sprang into existence last September — the brainchild of about a dozen students committed to inventing the future.

. . . Founding a company in high school is “a great opportunity,” said Vincent Gurle, 18. Later in life, “if you fail at business you might have to go live with your parents,” he said. “But we’re already doing that.”

It helps to have parents and neighbors who have started or financed high-tech companies.

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