The Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education annually celebrates innovation in education by recognizing outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to improving education and whose accomplishments are making a difference today.
Founder and Director, Engineering is Elementary
“When my team and I began this work, it was virtually unheard of to teach engineering at the elementary level. Many people thought I was crazy. Over and over again I got the message: ‘Teach engineering in elementary school? Never going to happen.’ This motivated me to think about what age-appropriate engineering looked like and demonstrate that children can do it. I am more convinced than ever that we cannot close out this vast pool of talent and insight.”
President, Valencia College
“If you haven’t thought deeply as a practitioner what it means to be a human learner, then your practice as a teacher is ungrounded. Everything you do in the classroom tells a student what you think of their humanity. And that’s true, by the way, or every process that a college or university imposes on our students and every system that we build to serve them – they imply anthropologies. My anthropology says two things about students, about people. The first is that they are amazing. To be human is to have an imprint of amazingness in you. It can be deeply hidden. It can be almost impossible hidden. And in some people, it can be so deeply hidden that you wonder if it’s even there – but it is. And our job is to not only recognize it, but also to call it out of the people we serve.”
“One simple idea might be to try to get our kids to dream a little differently about the future. The purpose of education – a huge part – is to spark curiosity and to build the character that will inspire a kid to look for the knowledge and avoids the distractions.”