The final episode of the ElevatED4SC video podcast’s first season looks at real-life solutions reflecting hope for South Carolina education through the eyes of a successful business leader. This episode features two interviews with Ted Dintersmith, a Charleston-based venture capitalist and thought leader in innovation and education. It is now available with the video and audio versions on YouTube, Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Season Two kicks off in the fall.
In 2016, Dintersmith traveled to all 50 states and met teachers in ordinary circumstances doing extraordinary things. His book, “What School Could Be,” recounts his travels that he says gave him a ringside seat in the world of American education at its most innovative.
Dintersmith explains why he, as a successful business person, wanted to dig deeper into examining the challenges of education in the U.S. “I could see how fast the world was changing and had a pretty good sense of what skills and mindsets young kids would need to do well. And then I saw my own kids being pushed to be good at exactly what machine intelligence does, and the things that are going to be essential for them are being discouraged. And that seemed like a massive disconnect.”
The examples that Dintersmith found in his travels provide real-life illustrations of how the whole child approach to education results in graduates who are prepared for what’s ahead. The concept of whole child education focuses on meeting students’ needs beyond just their classroom assignments and interactions. This means making schools truly community-driven by giving business leaders, healthcare providers and non-profits a role in educating young people.
In the episode, Dintersmith focuses on how business leaders can help schools better meet the needs of the growing global economy. “They need to think about who they want to work with and the type of person they want to hire. Someone who can identify opportunities to make things better. Someone who can draw on a whole set of essential skills to be a contributing member of an organization or a community .”
But, Dintersmith says, those are the very skills that often get pushed out of schools. “We obsess about test scores. We reduce school to kids memorizing content for a high stakes test that really has nothing to do with preparing kids for career and citizenship.”
Much of the episode focuses on Dintersmith’s challenge to other business leaders to get involved in the transformation of education in the state.
“I think it’s very important for any business leader who thinks they want to contribute to take time and really think about what skills and mindsets they want in the people they’re hiring,” Dintersmith says. “And then actually look at the accountability exams that determine where a kid stands in class rank. We need to look at those questions and ask, ‘is this actually preparing kids for what I want in my organization?’ That disconnect is vast. And when we get that wrong, when we hold our schools accountable to measures that have nothing to do with preparing kids for their future, we are letting down kids who trust us to make good decisions.”
ALL4SC is the producing partner for the ElevatED4SC vodcast series. ALL4SC – Accelerating Learning & Leadership in South Carolina – is a University of South Carolina initiative advocating a whole child approach to education. Other partners in producing the vodcast series include UofSC’s College of Education, UofSC’s College of Information and Communications, and Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative.
ElevatED4SC features success stories illustrating how education transformation is already happening in some South Carolina schools. Two 18-minute episodes are released monthly. Previous episodes and show notes are at ElevatED4SC.com. The series host is Roshanda Pratt, a Midlands-area veteran broadcast professional.