What would teaching and learning look like if we were developing students to be collaborative innovators ready to tackle the world’s most complex problems?
The problem:

From 1988 to 2008, people in the world’s top 1 percent saw their incomes increase by 60 percent, while those in the bottom 5 percent had no change in their income. 8 percent of humanity takes home 50 percent of global income; the top 1 percent alone takes home 15 percent. 

A 2011 study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that income inequality first started to rise in the late ’70s and early ’80s in America and Britain. The trend became more widespread starting in the late ’80s. Within the last decade, income inequality grew even in traditionally egalitarian countries like Germany, Sweden and Denmark. 

Excerpted from “Inequality is a Choice” by Joseph Stiglitz in the New York Times

A vision for schools: An increasingly complex study of conceptual relationships

Primary years:
What is the relationship between wealth and health? What is the relationship between wealth and opportunity? Between wealth and happiness? Between wealth and education?
Middle years:
What is the relationship between wealth and human rights? Between wealth and migration? Between wealth and government policies? Between wealth and international trade?
Secondary years:
What is the relationship between politics and money? Between poverty and national development? Between wealth and crime? Among local, national and international policies?

Couple the conceptual relationships with disciplinary ways of thinking about the issue:

How would a mathematician view the issues?
What are the variables or unknowns? In what ways can we mathematically represent the issues? How do these representations help us to understand the issues?
How would a scientist view the issues?
What evidence can we find that links certain factors or decisions to income disparity and equality? Can we design a robust study to test our hypotheses?
A journalist?
What are the deeper issues associated with income disparity? What role has bias played in our understanding of the issues?
An anthropologist?
What is the history of money and wealth in society? How have different societies dealt with income disparity through the ages?

A Capstone Project

Finally, picture students who are particularly passionate about this issue choosing it as their capstone project for the last two years of school. These students would work closely with experts to develop and test solutions to the problem.
This is a brief example of our hope for our children, schools and world.