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Shift Ed

Shift Ed
A Call to Action for Transforming K–12 Education

June 2012 | 184 pages | Corwin
This book by noted futurist, David Houle, is a "call to action" for people who are part of a growing movement concerned about education in America and who are committing time and effort toward its transformation. This book is not the answer, but a call to action, an offering of a vision and a necessary expansion of the creative discussion to formulate the solution so essential to the ongoing vitality of our country. The book will look at the roots of American education, the current landscape, and the forces and dynamics that are pushing inevitable change in education for our children. Transformation of education is inevitable and asking the right questions, expanding our vision and starting to do something now are key elements the author outlines.

Politicians, principals, school superintendents, and education foundation executives as well as parents should be reading this book as an enabler for their points of view about the need to change K-12 education in the years ahead.

1. A Quick Look Back
The Agricultural Age

The Industrial Age

The Information Age

American Childhood Education Through the Ages

2. The Current Landscape of Education in America
A System Out of Sync

Not Your Forefather's College

Learning - and Relearning - to Work

Holding Our Own in the Global Classroom

Facing the Issues and Shifting the Vision

Change Visions: From Train to Rocket

3. A Look Ahead
The Shift Age

The Twenty-First Century

2010 to 2020: The Transformation Decade

Change Visions: The Need for New

4. Generations
Baby Boomers: The Bridge Generation

Generation X: A Different Voice

Millennials: The Emerging Leaders

Digital Natives: Today's and Tomorrow's Students

Change Visions: Reconnecting

5. Why Transformation Is the Only Path
A Change in Form

A Change in Appearance

A Change in Nature

Signals From the Future

Change Visions: The New Architecture of Learning

6. Working on the Shift Ed Vision
Jim Rex

Peter Renwick

Janice Mattina

Karen Woodward

7. Ask the Right Questions
Technology and Connectivity

Calendar and Operations


Learning and the Brain

Infrastructure and the Physical Plant

Answering the Questions

Preparing Teachers

Your Contribution

Change Visions: Survival Skills for the Twenty-First Century

8. Expand the Vision
The New Vision of Education for the Twenty-First Century

Four Fundamentals for Twenty-First-Century Education

9. Start Now!
The Shift Ed 21

Parting - But Not Final - Words


"Shift Ed’s major strength is awakening Americans, especially the educational community, to the reality that change is here. We must prepare our young scholars for a global society, as opposed to past teaching and learning practices."

Belinda J. Raines, Principal
Northwestern High School, Detroit, MI

“Thanks to David for leading the charge. Shift Ed: A Call for Transformation of K-12 Education is a blueprint for getting it right in education.”

Charles Sosnik, Editor in Chief
Southeast Education Network, Charlotte, NC

“America needs a new educational vision. Shift Ed provides a clear vision that emphasizes the essential ingredients of a 21st-century education based upon creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. Houle and Cobb make a great case that nothing less than transformation will be enough.”

Dan Pink, Author

“As an urban educator who is passionate about transformative international education, Shift Ed strikes a deep chord. It is a bold call to action to ensure universal student success in a globalized environment that is always changing.”

Ellen Estrada, Principal
Walter Payton College Prep, Chicago, IL

"David Houle and Jeff Cobb make a powerful case for a transformative shift in schooling, and explain what such a shift might entail. They persuasively and passionately argue that deep-rooted norms need to be fundamentally rethought in tandem with larger technological and social changes. Their vision of what the next decade might hold and their assertion that student-centered, progressive instruction is the way of the future are sure to spark smart discussion among educators, policymakers, and parents wondering what's next for schooling."

Frederick M. Hess, Director of Education Policy Studies
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington, D.C.

"As an educator, I highly recommend this book on the transformation of K–12 education. Old ways, repeating the past, and no change are hallmarks of a broken system. Shift Ed outlines the case for building a new system of K–12 education."

Jerry Ice, President and CEO
Graduate School, Washington D.C.

“Our future rests in the hands of our children, and these hands must be strong to accomplish this great task. Their strength will come from their education but, unfortunately, our education system is failing them. David Houle and Jeff Cobb’s Shift Ed: A Call to Action for Transforming K-12 Education is a powerful voice in the honest conversation that must lead to a solution.” 

Lewis Hollweg, CEO
Batrus Hollweg International, Plano, TX

Shift Ed challenges your educational mindset without being intimidating. I spent the entire read asking myself, “why not?”

R. Jon Frey, Assistant Principal
Columbus High School, Columbus, NE

“We can’t educate the leaders of tomorrow with yesterday’s education model. Houle and Cobb offer a much needed, action-oriented, transformative vision for what K-12 education must become. It’s time to stop talking and start doing. Our future depends on it.”

Rafael Pastor, Chairman of the Board & CEO
Vistage International, Inc., San Diego, CA

“The strength of this book is the strong case the authors make for change. They point out how our nation is falling behind in the quest for global supremacy and what changes need to be brought about for that problem to be corrected.”

Randel Beaver, Superintendent
Archer City ISD, TX

Sample Materials & Chapters



David E. Houle

David Houle is a futurist, speaker, and strategist. He has been called “the CEO futurist” and “the emerging futurist in the world today.” He is the author of The Shift Age, has delivered more than 250 speeches around the world in the last three years, including numerous education conferences, and has made a commitment to help shape the vision of education for this century. More About Author

Jeff Thomas Cobb

Jeff Cobb is a strategist, writer, and speaker on the social and economic impact of new technologies. He has established himself as one of the leading thinkers on “Learning 2.0”?the blending of social media and open collaboration with traditional education?and is a vocal advocate of “cradle to grave” lifelong learning. More About Author

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ISBN: 9781412992961