TED Talks have become an internationally recognized education outlet, covering hundreds of thousands of topics from education to mathematics. Given by experts in their field, TED Talks serve not only as comprehensive introductions to a breadth of topics, but also as in-depth explanations accessible to almost everyone.
Among the topics TED Talks have addressed is educational practices and systems – including a variety of talks on education in America. A fraught topic, TED Talks have explored a variety of issues related to education in America, from appropriate teaching techniques to how education can be improved at the local, state, and national levels. Here are four great TED Talks about education in America.
Kandice Sumner – How America’s Public Schools Keep Kids in Poverty
In this powerful TED Talk, Kandice Sumner speaks on the experience of growing up in a middle class African American family living in an impoverished neighborhood, getting up early to go to a suburban school, and wondering why the other kids in her neighborhood lacked the things she took for granted at school, like music classes or chemistry labs. Now an educator herself in the self-same school system that served her neighborhood growing up, Sumner poses the question of why suburban and wealthy kids receive better education than their inner-city and impoverished peers, and explores the connection between the American slave trade and the current public school system.
Victor Rios – Help for Kids the Education System Ignores
Educator Victor Rios grew up impoverished and consistently exposed to violence. As a youth, in spite of frequent arrests and imprisonment in juvenile detention centers, one of his teachers stepped up to the plate to encourage and empower Rios – along with all her other students. Rios returned to school, finished his diploma, and went on to college – because one educator believed in him. In this inspiring talk, Rios argues that we must change the way we view inner-city students – and help them in the same way the teacher who changed his life did.
Sal Khan – Let’s Teach for Mastery, Not Test Scores
Sal Khan is a financier turned educator who started out creating online math classes for YouTube. Now, he runs the Khan Academy online that offers tutorials in a tremendous variety of subjects from mathematics to medicine. Khan’s educational mindset is that real learning is predicated on mastery, and not on “teaching to the test.” Making the argument that one would not “build a house on an unfinished foundation,” Khan classifies learning in the same way – that learning must be structured in a way that fits the learner’s pace and ability in order to create dedicated and competent scholars.
Nadia Lopez – Why Open a School? To Close a Prison
Nadia Lopez is an educator and the founder of the Mott Hall Bridges Academy in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Brownsville is an area between preschool and economic productiveness. Explaining the link between preschool and greater scholastic development and higher wage earnings in adulthood, Bartik makes a solid case for why investing in preschools is not simply an act of kindness – it is essential to the economic stability of a nation.
Each of these TED Talks about education presents a different facet of education in America – and for educators, parents, and students alike are well worth the watch.