No matter whether you’re measuring by student satisfaction or test scores, most American high schools don’t have great outcomes. This has led some to declare that this centuries-old mass institution is broken. Actually, say experts, it’s working just the way it was designed to work. And that’s the problem.

In the third season of Like a Sponge, we explore how high schools need to change, and the ways some educators are rethinking assumptions and remaking their schools to actually work for students.

Links and resources

Jal Mehta is a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the co-author along with Sarah Fine of In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Remake the American High School.

Todd Rose is the author of The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World that Values Sameness.

Kyle Steele is a professor at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Education and Human Services.

This episode of Like a Sponge was produced by Carol Lloyd and Jessica Yarmosky for GreatSchools, thanks to the generous support of the Barr Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Sound editing and design by Christopher Ferreira. Editorial support from Jessica Kelmon. Special thanks to Hayley Gearheart, Nancy Diaz, Kyle Steele, Todd Rose, Jal Mehta, Haled Habash, Rosanna Burgess, Eva Jean Charles, and Dennis Litky. We also want to thank Transcend Education and Springpoint schools.

This season of the podcast is part of our Transforming High School series, a collection of stories, videos, and podcasts exploring the practices that prepare students for success in college and beyond.