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Reinventing Education

strategically, collaboratively, and sustainably

Our Values

Our values distinguish us from others. It's important to us that you know what we stand for.

Knowing what values IDEA stands for is crucial; otherwise we risk becoming everything and nothing. We think values are more fundamental than an organization’s mission, vision, strategy, or theory of change. One of our values is transparency, so we offer up our values front and center:

1. Humility

It is not enough merely to present a new framework for education. We must engage with others in conversation, and we must be humble enough to know that we don't have all the answers.

2. Positivity

We must not simply react negatively to current educational initiatives. We must be creative in brainstorming new solutions to old problems and focus on what could be, not what has been, or what is today.

3. People and Story at the Center of Our Work

People on the front lines of a challenge will almost always have the most recent and most accurate information about how to solve that challenge. People have always communicated important ideas through stories. Story is a powerful way to get to the heart and make sense of things.

4. Practical Action and Transparency

A thousand disconnected efforts will not change the story being told about education. We need to take effective and coordinated action, plan and act strategically, and be generative. We think it also helps to have a sense of humor, be transparent, be respectfully direct, and to plan for the funding needed to make projects real. We can begin to build something together by choosing manageable, concrete projects to build on.

5. Collaboration

We are much more interested in collaborating with other education-focused organizations than competing with them. Collaborative groups are the most natural unit of work. Raising many voices around the same issue is an opportunity to learn from each other, amplify messages, and build a strong movement.

6. Learning From Failure

Innovation requires experimentation and failure. We are going to get it wrong sometimes. Sometimes we will get it right. Wrong or right, some people will not like what we do. We are committed to learning in public. We call that “failing successfully.”

7. Embracing Difference & Conflict

Conflict is our best ally. Concerns are the fuel of better solutions. It takes courage to speak a problem, and maybe more to really hear one. We won't get anywhere if we can't find that kind of courage. We must find ways to bring together people who think differently and might seem like enemies. Those differences often bring great strength when explored.

8. Place Matters

We value youth understanding the history, culture, ecosystem, and stories as they connect to their local communities. Connecting to our location and being rooted to a sense of place and history is important. We know that when three generations or more are present, culture is transformed.

9. Some Types of Learning Are More Essential than Others

Learning how you best learn and having your curiosity and creativity nurtured is core to powerful education. In today’s world, so is learning to read, write, work with numbers, and use the Internet. Without these skills, it’s just about impossible to achieve your goals and fully contribute to your community.

10. Accountability

What we measure is as important as how we determine what works and what doesn't. Everyone should be excited about accountability - we just need to have a different conversation about what and to whom we will be accountable. We must highlight our best and most diverse voices for and examples of transformative educational change.