Schools for Wisdom...a critique of High Tech High by David Brooks


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David Brooks wrote a critique of High Tech High in The New York Times on October 16, 2015.  Mr. Brooks gets a lot right, however, he cleaves so tightly to his own well constructed perspective of "intellectual virtues" that ironically, he misses the point he hints at, "a partial response." High Tech High may be going too far in emphasizing relational skills over content.  I've only read about the school, I've not been there.  And, I've seen lots of photos of the building design, that is far and away among the best school designs I've seen.

However, from my reading of Mr. Brooks, he doesn't see the possibility that the approach at High Tech High can embrace BOTH life skills (21st C. skills) AND his intellectual virtues (basic factual acquisition, pattern formation, mental formation that combined, create wisdom, the "hard earned intuitive awareness of how things will flow").

The point of the approach at High Tech High, and other schools striving to evolve a more generative methodology, is to impart knowledge AND to develop life skills; and to do so in ways that engage students, that include them in the compelling issues of their time, that empower them to be essential contributors to their immediate communities, and that prepare them to become productive citizens who lead fulfilling lives.

As I think through Mr. Brooks' critique of High Tech High, I imagine a new school, High Brooks High.