Build for the Tribe

hippy school

Speaking to the tribe entails using the language of your audience’s tribe when trying to influence them.

Here’s a related idea: build for the tribe. If you want someone to adopt your policy stance, make sure the policy delivers what their tribe wants.

Consider these two articles:

Micro Schools

“In the 2030s, when these kids are graduating, they’re going to have to be highly independent, very dynamic, able to know themselves and get from the world what they need to be happy and successful. They need to start exercising that muscle in preschool.”

The Flatiron School 

“The Flatiron School is an example of what can be done with a blank slate. They have figured out how to give students highly relevant and valuable skills at a cost that is both affordable and recoupable very quickly. Adam, Avi, Sara and the entire team has created a model that should be an inspiration for others.”

What’s the commonality?

My guess: it is these types of schools that could pave the way for broad based voucher programs (though I don’t expect this to happen in the very near future).

Personalization and career tech school models are in high demand by the left. Yet, right now, the push for vouchers is intimately tied up in the expansion of religious schooling, which does speak to / appeal to the left.

Uber is proving, albeit painfully, the demand can induce deregulation.

Voucher proponents would do well to heed this lesson.

The left deeply desires school models that deemphasize testing and deliver a more “progressive” education.

Voucher demand may increase from the left if there are more private schools that offer such an education at a price roughly akin to what public schools spend.

Or to put it another way: the path to vouchers is not through God, it’s through Montessori.

One last thought: I’ve seen enough poorly designed voucher programs that I approach the issue with some pragmatic skepticism. That being said, I do think vouchers with sound regulation could deliver great, innovative options for kids, and I’d be happy to work with any folks who are trying to get such a program off the ground.

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