Most Likely to Succeed with Ted Dintersmith

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While reading Most Likely To Succeed by Ted Dintersmith and Tony Wagner, I stopped mid sentence and sent him a tweet.  “I’m loving your book @dintesmith. It is fantastic.” The book was inspiring me with every word.  Through a series of follow-up tweets, Ted agreed to be on the show, and I’m in the process of setting up several screenings of his documentary with the same title.  The book and film explore education from the perspective of what is relevant and purposeful.  It reviews K-12 practices and high education admissions processes, and it left me thinking — WE CAN DO BETTER!

Netflix or Not?

During the show, Ted talks about having the opportunity to sell the documentary to big names in the film industry, and he specifically mentioned Netflix.  However, he chose not to sell the rights of the film because he wanted the film to start conversations in communities about what school and learning should really look like.  His work as a venture capitalist proved to be successful, and this is what allowed him to self-fund this film that is now stirring up the American Education landscape.  Ted is currently on a 50 state tour, and he is playing host at screenings in every state.  Following the screening, Ted does a talk and engages the communities in conversations that will hopefully lead to more sustainable action.

More questions than answers

The reason the film is resonating with so many people is because it doesn’t alienate people based on their political affiliation.  This film’s political standpoint is innovation, and no one from either party is against that.  Ted claims the film provides more questions than answers and that is how he has manged to avoid dividing the audience.  The answers are really community based and community driven.  It is up to the people viewing the film to take action, and the early indications from the 50 state tour is that people are doing just that…taking action.

Proficiency vs. Mastery [35:20]

The section of the conversation that caused me to think and reflect most is the part about mastery.  For years I’ve been striving to get my students to master the content and perform at a high level.  Because there is so much to master in school, Ted encourages us to aim for proficiency more so than mastery.  Often proficiency can be supported by incorporating technology supports like a calculator or language translation software.  Ted reminds us that there is no good reason for our students to be competing against smart phones [31:30].  We have to urge them to think beyond the technology.

Host a Screening

After listening to this show, you will likely be stirred up enough to take some action.  Please visit, and sign up to host a screening.  Your community will thank you.  You can find Ted and the film on twitter: @dintersmith and @mltsfilm.  The film is on Facebook too, so LIKE their page.

One last request

Please share this show on your social media channels, so more people can benefit from hearing about Ted’s mission and the Most Likely To Succeed film.  This is key to moving our schools forward.  You can even use these tweets:



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