In episode 11 of our 16-part Complex Conversations series, which took place during our first annual ComplexCon, we take a hard look at the state of our educational system and how it negatively impacts the next generation. The panel discussion, which was titled “The Future of Our Schools: An Urgency For Change,” was hosted by Complex Founder Marc Ecko and included Pusha T, actors/activists Jesse Williams and Hill Harper, educator and CEO of the XQ Institute Russlynn Ali, and founder of the Emerson Collective Laurene Powell Jobs.

A focal point of the discussion was the fact that while our world has continued to evolve and grow; the way children are taught has not changed in over 100 years. Several panelists pointed out that the classrooms of today don’t prepare kids for the jobs of tomorrow. That’s why there’s a push for super schools that allow students to be creative thinkers as opposed to mindless drones.  

Williams, who previously worked as a high school teacher in Chicago, spoke specifically about his experiences in the classroom and the need for change. “Schools have defaulted into holding cells; they’re just a box that you go and sit in because you’re supposed to,” he shares. “The objective of sitting in that box needs to be reexamined and is that box safe? Is it a space where I can be nurtured and inspired? So schools should really be about education… and whose responsibility is it?”

Check out our latest episode of Complex Conversations above, and for more episodes, visit here. Also keep it locked to Complex for more panel discussions as we roll out the rest of the series each week.