Many large corporations have been relocating their headquarters to downtown Chicago, bringing with them young or expecting families. According to Martin Moran, lead designer of the Bennett Day School Upper School, the rising surge of these tech-oriented families is ushering in a new, progressive change in Chicago’s education system.
Demand is Increasing
The tech world focuses on a project-based culture, which is a rapidly growing trend in education. As technology-driven adults look at their children’s schooling, the demand for project-based educational programs is increasing. There is a new focus on soft skills (collaboration, cooperation, project management, creative foresight, cultural, global competence, logic, etc.), which are critical to the real world. Schools that offer programs that foster and develop those soft skills will attract the incoming pool of tech families.
Supply will Need to Follow
If you look at curriculums in tech cities like San Francisco, they are already experiencing the success of a rise in project-based educations. This refocus is a reflection of the values tech firms use to build their company and shape their culture. The lack of progressive educational options available to families in Chicago will soon force a change. Realistically, the first changes are likely to happen slowly, such as implementing genius hours, prior to it becoming a main pillar of the mainstream curriculum.
A Change to the Education Landscape
Today, the development of skills that schools value does not match up well to the real world or the type of education parents at tech companies want. There needs to be a wider variety of schools that offer developed programs with the resources to create a curriculum that aligns with the modern society. The increasing demand for project-based schooling will force schools to adjust their curriculums to the modern times, or risk experiencing a reduction in enrollment.
With a large majority of Chicago’s educational curriculums focused on classic values, the city’s schools will need to adapt fast to the new demand. Chicago is increasingly becoming a tech hub, and the trend does not appear to be ending soon, which furthers the necessity for adaptation in school curriculums. Progressive schools are beginning to appear, but they are still few in number.