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Wiser K-12

In Chapter 12, we offered our suggestions for raising wiser kids. Advice for parents is on a separate page. On this page we repeat the outline of our advice for K-12 teachers and administrators. We do not repeat the text from the chapter, but we add in links and resources, including those we found after publishing the book.


  1. Check out the beta version of Greg's 10 principles for a happier, healthier, more empowered K-12 education.

  2. Visit the Schools page at, for dozens of great ideas.

  3. Educate teachers, parents, and students about antifragility. Few reforms make sense if people think that kids are fragile. 

  4. Encourage parents to not let kids have social media accounts until high school. Get it out of middle schools and elementary schools, where it is distracting kids from learning and may be particularly harmful to mental health (given that pre-teen girls have by far the largest increases in depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide since teens began daily use of social media around 2011). 

  5. K-12 schools should have policies to put devices away during the school day. See Jon and Jean Twenge’s NY Times article for more.

Here is Jon's most comprehensive lecture to educators, laying out the mental health crisis, its causes, and how to educate for strength and wisdom. At the Excel In Ed National Summit on Education Reform 2019:



Here are some ideas for elementary schools

​A. Homework in the early grades should be minimal. (See this essay, The Cult of Homework, by Joe Pinsker, in The Atlantic)

B. Give more recess with less supervision.

C. Discourage the use of the words “safe” or “safety” for anything other than physical safety. 

D. Have a “no devices” policy. See our two reviews of the literature on rising rates of depression and anxiety, and the possible links to social media use (more so than to "screen time"), on our page for "better mental health."  And see this short video from Rob Montz 










Here are some ideas for middle schools and high schools:

E. Protect or expand middle school recess.

F. Cultivate the intellectual virtues.

G. Teach debate and offer debate club.

H. Promote reasoned discussion


I. Explicitly reject the Untruth of Fragility: What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker. Show all high school students this wonderful 4 minute clip of Van Jones speaking at the University of Chicago. Then speak often about the fact that students are antifragile. Without a common understanding of that concept, policies that promote growth and independence will sometimes be criticized as uncaring or insufficiently sensitive toward sudents' needs.

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