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To Serve Every Student Well, Design for the Tails, Not the Mean

Robin Lake and Travis Pillow begin with the academic and career gaps faced by students who are the most complex learners and explore how a system capable of meeting the needs of all nontraditional students—high-achieving, low-income students, English language learners, homeless students, children in foster care, and “twice exceptional learners” who have extraordinary gifts in some areas and require support in others—could improve teaching and learning for all students, not just the so-called “square pegs.”

“It’s hard to forecast all the demands the age of agility will place on the next generation, but it’s a safe bet creative problem-solving, bilingual communication skills, and unconventional thinking will all be in high demand; we cannot afford to throw away these talents,” write Lake and Pillow. “Further, solving for the needs of these complex learners may help the public education system get it right for everyone.”

Explore other essays in this collection: Thinking Forward: New Ideas for a New Era of Public Education

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