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The Education We Need for a Future We Can't Predict - Book Cover Look Inside

The Education We Need for a Future We Can't Predict

By: Thomas C. Hatch, Jordan Corson, Sarah Gerth van den Berg

This provocative book approaches education reform by highlighting what works, while also demonstrating what can be accomplished if we redefine conventional schools. We can make the schools we have more efficient, more effective, and more equitable, all while creating powerful opportunities to support all aspects of students’ development.
Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781071802083
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2021
  • Page Count: 248
  • Publication date: February 05, 2021

Price: $34.95

Price: $34.95
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Improve Schools and Transform Education

In order for educational systems to change, we must reevaluate deep-seated beliefs about learning, teaching, schooling, and race that perpetuate inequitable opportunities and outcomes. Hatch, Corson, and Gerth van den Berg challenge the narrative when it comes to the “grammar of schooling”--or the conventional structures, practices, and beliefs that define educational experiences for so many children—to cast a new vision of what school could be.

The book addresses current systemic problems and solutions as it:

  • Highlights global examples of successful school change
  • Describes strategies that improve educational opportunities and performance
  • Explores promising approaches in developing new learning opportunities
  • Outlines conditions for supporting wide-scale educational improvement

This provocative book approaches education reform by highlighting what works, while also demonstrating what can be accomplished if we redefine conventional schools. We can make the schools we have more efficient, more effective, and more equitable, all while creating powerful opportunities to support all aspects of students’ development.

"You won’t find a better book on system change in education than this one. We learn why schools don’t change; how they can improve; what it takes to change a system; and, in the final analysis, the possibilities of system change. Above all, The Education We Need renders complexity into clarity as the writing is so clear and compelling. A powerful read on a topic of utmost importance."

~Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus, OISE/Universtiy of Toronto


"I cannot recommend this book highly enough – Tom tackles long-standing and emerging educational issues in new ways with an impressive understanding of the challenging complexities, but also feasible possibilities, for ensuring excellence and equity for all students."

~Carol Campbell, Associate Professor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto



Thomas C. Hatch photo

Thomas C. Hatch

Thomas Hatch (@tch960) is a Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and Director of the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching (NCREST). His research includes studies of school improvement efforts at the school, district, and national levels. His latest book, The Education We Need for a Future We Can’t Predict (Corwin, 2021), focuses on efforts to create more powerful learning experiences both inside and outside schools in developed and developing contexts. He is also the founder and managing editor of He previously served as a Senior Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. His other books include Managing to Change: How Schools can Survive (and Sometimes Thrive) in Turbulent Times (Teachers College Press, 2009); Into the Classroom: Developing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (Teachers College Press, 2005); and School Reform Behind the Scenes (Teachers College Press, 1999). Learn more about Tom and keep up with his latest blog posts at

Jordan Corson photo

Jordan Corson

Jordan Corson is an assistant professor of education and affiliated faculty member of immigration studies at Stockton University. He recently completed his doctorate at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he defended his dissertation, Undocumented Educations: Everyday Educational Practices of Recently Immigrated Youth Beyond Inclusion/Exclusion. Jordan has published research in the fields of education and philosophy, educational change, and teacher education. His research takes up ethnographic and historical methods to interrogate issues of transnational migration and curriculum studies through anti-colonial and abolitionist praxis.

Sarah Gerth van den Berg photo

Sarah Gerth van den Berg

Sarah Gerth van den Berg is a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research explores the design and theory of curriculum involving nontraditional spaces, materials, and processes. She has published in the fields of curriculum studies, participatory arts-based practices, and out of school learning.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Programs


     An Education in Schools

     An Education in School Reform

     Why This Book?


About the Authors


     School Improvement in (Norwegian) Perspective

     Improving Schools and Transforming Education

     Design and Organization


Chapter 1: Increasing Access and Quality

     What Has Improved in Schooling in the Developing World?

     What Has Improved in Established Educational Systems?

     Improvement Is Not Enough

     The Bottom Line

Chapter 2: Establishing Equitable Learning Opportunities

     Equity, Opportunity, and Education

     The Vicious Cycle: Economic Inequality + Inequality of Educational Opportunity

     Separate and Unequal

     How Inequality Adds Up

     The Bottom Line

Chapter 3: Learning With Purpose

     What Are Schools For?

     The Power of Unanticipated Learning

     The Education We Need for a Future We Can’t Predict

     The Bottom Line

     Key Ideas From Part 1


Chapter 4: The “Grammar of Schooling” Always Pushes Back

     The Possibilities of Incremental Improvement

     The Challenges of Radical Change

     What It Really Takes to Improve

Chapter 5: Beliefs Endure, but Times Change

     “Real School” and “Real Learning”

     Real Differences in Values

     Turbulent Conditions

     Improving in “Niches”

     Key Ideas From Part 2


Chapter 6: From Common Concerns to High-Leverage Problems

     Identifying Common Needs and Concerns

     From Common Concerns to High-Leverage Problems

     High-Leverage Problems and Foundational Skills

     From High-Leverage Problems to Systemic Improvement

     Looking for Leverage: Finding Productive Problems

Chapter 7: Solving Problems and Developing Micro-Innovations

     Micro-Innovations for Teaching and Learning

     Expanding the Power of Educators

     Micro-Innovations Across the System

     Micro-Innovations Beyond the Classroom

     An Abundance of Needs and Possibilities

     Key Ideas From Part 3


Chapter 8: The Conditions for Learning

     Plugging Into Schools

     Finding the Right Fit

     Scaling Into School Systems

Chapter 9: From Possibilities to Practice

     Building the Infrastructure for New Forms of Learning

     Evolution and Expansion of the Infrastructure for Learning

     Spandrels: Planning for Unpredictable Opportunities

     Creating the Conditions for Improvement

     Key Ideas From Part 4


Chapter 10: Capacity-Building

     Investing in Expertise and Materials

     Relationships and Social Networks

     From “Best Practice” to Comprehensive Support

Chapter 11: Coherence and Common Understanding

     What Does Curriculum “Renewal” in Finland Really Entail?

     Coherence Inside and Outside Schools in Singapore

     Beyond Alignment

Chapter 12: Collective Responsibility

     Trust in Society

     Accountability, Answerability, and Responsibility

     Building the Capacity for Collective Responsibility

     Improvement in a Norwegian Context

     The Mechanisms That Can Support Education Into the Future

     Key Ideas From Part 5


Chapter 13: From Improvements to Movements

     Pursue a Series of High-Leverage Problems

     Develop New Approaches to Critical Challenges

     Take Small Steps to Make Big Changes

     Key Ideas for Creating the Education We Need

     Condense Schooling and Increase Learning

Chapter 14: The Problems and Possibilities for Improvement in Every System

     Improvement in Context

     Steering Toward the Future

     Between Nudges and Disruption

     High-Leverage Leadership