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17 Year-Old Author Says It's Time for Schools To Change

Nikhil Goyal

Nikhil Goyal passionately advocates for education reform. His newly published book, One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School by the Alternative Education Resource Organization, is making headlines at Forbes, ASCD,, and Huffington Post.

Goyal's not a typical advocate for reform. He’s a 17-year-old high school student in his senior year. At 17, he's already a veteran TEDx speaker, writer for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, and now author. 

Goyal writes, “We need to ask: What if school wasn’t school anymore?"

"Imagine if we approached learning through debate and tinkered with ideas by bringing back French salons from the 17th century. Imagine if schools were dynamic social engines and the birthplace of lifelong learners and global citizens. Currently, schools are like the citadels of ancient times. Let’s bridge the gap between school, community, and the world.” 

Instead of tests and grades, Goyal wants to see performance assessments such as the College and Work Readiness Assessment.

In classrooms, Goyal advocates experiential curriculums, rethinking age-grouping, and rethinking what is taught including more thinking, collaboration, and risk-taking.  

Forbes writer, Erica Swallow, shares Goyal's thoughts on what to expect from high school graduates. "By the time we make it out of high school, Goyal says, we have been taught to think just like everyone around us, and our ability to think critically or creatively has been squandered. What’s worse, we fail to ask questions and we fear risks, because all of our formidable years were spent spitting out “right answers” instead of being taught to inquire and think for ourselves to solve problems."

Wow. Goyal is on to something bigger than his ideas. He's making the bigger point that we should ASK the students how to improve education. (Just like businesses ask customers!) That's the best idea I've heard all year.

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