Book Review

Anticipate the School You Want

Futurizing K-12 Education

by Arthur B. Shostak, Rowman and Littlefield Education, Lanham, Md., 2008, 142 pp. with index, $22.45 softcover

According to Arthur Shostak, author of Anticipate the School You Want: Futurizing K-12 Education, we are living in the most challenging, dangerous and exciting time in human history. He says we can shape our future by learning to be futurists. As professional educators learn the art and craft of scanning the horizon, we should teach our students this skill.

Shostak shares a job forecast for 2015 and includes in the list biofuture therapists, cancer cure enablers, organ cloners, global headhunters, nano-bio entrepreneurs, antiterrorism technicians, climate change forecasters, hydrogen marketing managers, solar fuel developers and space market planners.

He wants today’s students to be ready for these jobs. He says they will need to be fluent and able to converse intelligently about topics such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, climate change, conflict resolution and mediation, disaster relief, fundamentalism, gerontology, globalism and global citizenship, informatics, nanotechnology and spirituality.

As a professional educator for 44 years, I find his forecasts challenging on one hand and filled with exciting possibility on the other. Clearly, it is daunting to think about how every school nationwide will provide second-language study for every student; art classes that foster artistry, creativity, empathy, resiliency, resourcefulness, risk taking and synthesis; and technology skills that both teacher and student use with ease and facility.

The essence of Shostak’s work is this: Educators must create schools driven by inquisitiveness and imaginative thinking about the future because our students will be the global losers if we don’t.

His vision for re-visioning schools is compelling. His book provides an excellent map for redesigning the curriculum and a dandy resource for a spirited community conversation.

Reviewed by Sarah Jerome, superintendent, Arlington Heights School District 25, Arlington Heights, Ill.