My Impression of XQ Institute!


My Impression of XQ Institute





XQ stated, “We are in service of educators and entrepreneurs, parents and pioneers, business leaders and administrators, youth and education experts, in the endeavor to remake America’s high schools for today. We want to create a new model of learning we call XQ.”

Why? It is not needed!!!



XQ wrote, “We’ve gone from the Model T to the Tesla and from the switchboard to the smartphone. Yet high school has remained frozen in time.”

You are talking about technology, about gadgets/toys. These are fads. School and learning are not technologies. We have gone to the Moon and back, almost 60 years ago. We have sent unmanned machines (rovers) to Mars, recently. We have NOT colonized either. We have sent a machine out of our Solar System but do not know much about space travel.

My point is that some things change and some can and do remain the same. Just because we have smart phones (which may not be smart to use.) does not mean we need to change education. This is non sequitur. We have changed schools from a one room schoolhouse to a multi-building campus or one huge building. We do not need to refocus our teaching just because of a piece of paper (a calendar) said it was a different millennium. The Chinese and Jewish calendar both say it is a different year than our calendar. It is arbitrary and irrelevant. This is analogous to keeping up with the Joneses or one lemming goes off a cliff so all other lemmings must follow.



THE NEXT GENERATION must learn to adapt in a changing world

I am sorry to burst your bubble but adapting is what we humans are good at and actually we are  the best creature on the planet at adaptation. Adaptation does not need to be taught.

XQ stated, “Sure, IQ (Intelligence Quotient) is important. It measures how we process information. But it isn’t everything.”

It measures our ability to see patterns. That is what IQ is at its fundamental level. So, it is not so much how we process data, it is more how well we do so.

XQ continued, “In fact, the latest science shows that intelligence is not fixed and that there’s a lot more to a person’s capability that what can be measured in an IQ test.

IQs are more fixed than not. While an individual’s IQ can change a little it is not possible for a society’s IQ (or any large population) to change.

XQ posited, “What also matters is a person’s EQ (Emotional Quotient)—the ability to relate to others, understand emotional cues and collaborate.”

Collaboration happens quite naturally. You do your job and your fellow coworkers do their jobs, in concert and the team will work, at least insofar as collaboration goes. Teaching collaboration is a waste of time and money.

The ability to relate to others is not any more important than it has been in the past. So, long as we work in groups we will have to relate to others, to one extent or another.

Understanding emotional cues? One must be able to do their jobs. Stop worrying about other people.

So, basically all three EQs are irrelevant!!!

XQ submitted, “But today, neither IQ nor EQ is enough. There’s a certain something, something we call XQ, that’s essential for success in the new era we’re entering.”

XQ is made up. You’ve made up this term to justify your institute. IQ is more than enough.





XQ put forth, “Proficient in academic core subjects such as math and languages, to prepare them for college, career, and life.”

Define proficient! If you are talking about NAEP ‘Proficient’ Level then between 66-75% will not be proficient. It is not possible. This NAEP level is like a letter B, grade. Most kids are average or C Students, or at the NAEP level of ‘Basic’, which is just fine.

If it is not the NAEP ‘Proficient Level’, then define proficient! By any other definition most kids already are proficient.

When you say languages it sounds like you’re talking about English and foreign languages, as well. Is a foreign language mandatory?

Prepare them for college, career, and life? We were doing just fine up through the 1970s doing the two. The last one happens naturally. It does not take years to get ready for life. It used to be, and still should be, that if you did well in high school then you went onto college, otherwise you went to work. It is just that simple.

So, none of these are necessary.

Holders of foundational knowledge

XQ stated, “Curious about the world and engaged in a more just and functional democracy.”

Some people say that democracy is just another term for socialism. Socialism is not wanted in the US.

Do you teach ethics? This may be a bit young to be teaching this.

Boy do I get tired of hearing the buzz word, engaged. Why are the kids bored?

Original thinkers for an uncertain world

Do you expect to solve the problem of worldwide peace or even just peace in the Middle East?

Very highly educated men and women have tried and failed in this for centuries.

XQ exclaimed, “Sense-makers and generative thinkers, creating many ideas in ambiguous and new situations.”

For these one must have extensive generalized knowledge and quite a bit specialized knowledge, as well. Any sort of thinking must have knowledge at its base in order to make sense and generate good ideas that solve problems, whether a new situation or not.

K-12 education should concentrate on knowledge and understanding with just a little application thrown in. These are the first three levels in Bloom’s Taxonomy. The other three, the higher order thinking skills, which one will use or develop in college, should wait until then.

Learners for life

XQ wrote, “Self-driven and self-directed — inventors of their own paths, careers and lives.”

This is not possible for everyone to be their own boss, especially with just a high school diploma. Even most with college degrees will work for someone else. So, teaching this to grade school kids is not wasted but you then cannot gain the necessary knowledge either because of the time wasted on the higher order thinking skills.

This is another one reformer’s many unachievable goals.

It is ironic that self-directed work teams were tried in the early 1990s, yet you want to teach this in K-12 school too?

Children should be guided somewhat.

Generous collaborators for tough problems

XQ submitted, “Self-aware team members who respect diversity and diverse points of view.”

Why must one respect diversity based on physical differences? Groups as such do not deserve respect, individuals do. Anything tied to physical diversity is racist, sexist, etc. Anything tied to race is racist. Again, no groups has rights, any rights—individuals do. A different race or sex does not necessarily have different ideas or thoughts. Anyone who believes that they do is racist or sexist. They believe that race or sex determines outcomes, such as thought.


XQ wrote, “Russlynn Ali is the Chief Executive Officer of XQ. She brings decades of experience in many arenas to her position, prime among them a knowledge of what is truly required to design schools that will best serve American students for years to come. Before coming to XQ Institute, Russlynn served as assistant secretary of civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education. Russlynn also serves as managing director of education at Emerson Collective.”
She has had 2 decades (or 19 years) in which she has held 9 jobs in those 19 years. They average only about 2 years per job. How does this qualify her to design school systems?

She was assistant secretary of civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education for 3 years 10 Months.

She is also a managing director of education at Emerson Collective for 4 years and 1 month.
She is a lawyer!
XQ stated, “Laurene Powell Jobs chairs XQ’s board of directors and is the president of Emerson Collective. Her two decades in the education field have convinced her that America is ready for a sea change to overhaul the system.”

She has a BA in Political Science and a BS in Economics and an MBA. How does this qualify her in the field of education?

What is it with the federal government, in that, people in the US Education Department are NOT educators? Why is this?

XQ posited, “Deep collaborators include: Yo-Yo Ma, the globally accomplished musician and creator, who wants to see schools use creativity as a window to discipline, rigor and a better world; Geoffrey Canada, education advocate and head of the Harlem Children’s Zone, who believes it’s time to look at the hard data, and think about how students need to be treated with a whole new level of respect if they are to truly excel; and Leon Wieseltier, Isaiah Berlin Senior Fellow in Culture and Policy at the Brookings Institution and contributing editor at the Atlantic, an advocate of true cultural discussion who believes that we should engage deeply in conversation, debate and ultimately resolution about the intent of our public school system in America.”

Yo-Yo Ma is also not an educator. I am sure that he wants to see schools go more towards the Arts.

Geoffrey Canada is famous (or rather infamous) for his role in the so-called documentary, Waiting for Superman. I have shown this to be a biased and bogus documentary in one of my first e-books.

Leon Wieseltier is right in that we should discuss and resolve the meaning and purpose of education. We have had basically two camps for over 100 years now. The traditionalists and the progressives are they. The one represented here is the progressive model.

Of the three team members I checked, none had a degree in education.  Neither did the two women above. They were:

Russlynn Ali: CEO

Sarah Baltazar-Pinheiro: Practice Lead

Monica Martinez: Senior Practice Strategist

A collective of creators

XQ concluded with, “From our inception, we realized this will be a many-to-many effort—involving many talented experts at the core of the Institute collaborating with many talented participants in the movement itself. The following organizations are bringing a broad range of talents—from deep understanding about the science of learning to design thinking skills, from fueling the movement through compelling communication to digital tools that spark new imagination, from magnifying student voice to helping the national media see the issues and solutions of our time.”

Teaching/learning is NOT a Science. It is an Art. This is one of fundamental flaws with the progressives’ approach to education.

I am finding that a lot of the education reformers do not have a darn thing to do with education, in other words, has no college degree in education.


Magnify the student voice. Why? When was this ever important?

Science of learning to design thinking skills.

To counter this I present the following: Why ‘Design Thinking’ Doesn’t Work in Education

August 6, 2013

By Debbie Morrison

<< >>

Debbie Morrison wrote, “Design Thinking requires a breadth of knowledge and experience from various disciplines, which is not present in most K-12 students given the stage of their cognitive development and education background.  It requires one to think of a problem from unconventional, even unlikely perspectives, that lead to a collection of insightsinsights that will ultimately produce a unique solution.”

She is saying that without a knowledge base the higher order thinking skills is not possible. I have said this too. Things like being able to synthesize new knowledge out the old, is just one example. Without the old new is not possible from it.

Debbie Morrison has a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development. So at least she has an education degree and is a Certified Instructional Designer. So, she should know if Design Thinking works for K-12 or not. Obviously, she said it did not work for K-12 education. Again, I concur.

So my impression is NOT a very good one. As with most education reform it is not needed. It may even be detrimental to the kids. Most education reform is being pushed by non-educators.


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