Wanted: Big dreamers, not test takers in American schools

It’s easier to talk about dreams than it is to actually dream — and then chase one or two.

Today, The Future Project, an organization trying to get America’s schools focused less on test taking and more about dreaming big, launched its Dream.org site to attract “Dream Directors” into the nation’s schools.

While schools are measuring math, science, and reading, The Future Project is concentrating on passion, leadership, and self expression, according to Columbia University’s EdLab blog:

The Future Project takes an interesting approach to improving education. They embrace the hacking framework of using broad themes and teamwork to create new projects for any other field of interest. Then they let the benefits of that experience be what drive the changes in education.

TFP hopes to combat apathy and the perceived irrelevance of school by giving grants to support projects, providing mentorship, and inspiring students to “imagine and pursue inspired futures, whether admission to college or leaps forward in leadership or grades” and create meaningful projects that reflect their interests.

So far, it’s mostly been a dream for the project’s founder, Andrew Mangino. He launched the project in New Haven, Conn., as a Yale undergraduate when he convinced the city’s mayor to put Dream Directors in every city school. The program has expanded to schools in New York and Washington.

Has it worked? That’s the problem. How do you measure success when the curriculum is the ability to dream?