Do you want to change the world? Take the first step by learning about humane education and how it could transform education.

In June, approximately three million students will graduate from public U.S. high schools, and even though they will have all passed their No Child Left Behind tests year after year, most will not be ready for what awaits them. While they may be verbally, mathematically, and technologically literate and successful at meeting the requirements of our educational system, even our highest-performing graduates will be unprepared for the important roles they must play in today’s world.

This generation of graduates will be confronted with escalating, interrelated, global problems, such as climate change, growing extinction rates, economic instability, a looming energy crisis, human trafficking, slavery, poverty, institutionalized systems of cruelty toward one trillion animals annually, and the oppression and abuse of women and girls across the globe, to name just some. Yet few will have learned in school how to approach and solve such systemic problems, and even though there are plenty of people already working on these and other issues, the systems in place that perpetuate them are entrenched. We need to create better, sustainable, and restorative systems in a host of arenas from food production and energy to transportation and financial markets.

Rather than offer unconnected academic disciplines, imagine if each year of high school covered a single overarching issue, such as sustenance, energy, production, or protection, all essential to our survival.

To change these entrenched systems, we need people to have the knowledge, tools, and motivation to be conscientious, engaged, and wise choice makers and change makers. Where will such people come from? If we commit to changing just one of our most deeply entrenched systems — schooling — we can set the stage for the unfolding of timely systemic changes throughout a range of other systems. To do this, I believe that we must embrace a new and bigger purpose for education: to graduate a generation of solutionaries. This is the goal of humane education, which is both an approach to teaching and a body of knowledge. Humane education is founded upon the belief that human rights, environmental preservation, and animal protection are integral aspects of a just, peaceful, and healthy world and that we are all capable of and responsible for creating such a world.

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