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across the system — including federal and state ministers of education and other
government officials, teachers union and parents association leaders, politicians,
principals, teachers, entrepreneurs, academics, and activists — have been working
together for a year. Their objective is not just to meet and talk but to act together
to transform the system.
Thinking about the challenging work we’ve been doing in the Education
Lab, here are some lessons I believe the Avengers movie offers. Be warned: There
are spoilers.
A superteam to the rescue
The movie starts with the villainous warlord Thanos determined to obtain six
Infinity Stones that will give him the power to control the universe. Already in
possession of the first stone, he forces Thor, king of Asgard, to turn over the
second. Bruce Banner (alter ego of the monster Hulk) recruits magician Stephen
Strange and Tony Stark (Iron Man) to join forces to prevent Thanos from getting
the other stones. Banner asks Stark to call Steve Rogers (Captain America), but
Stark hesitates. “It’s not that easy....
Captain America and I fell out. We’re
not on speaking terms,” Stark says.
Banner replies, “Tony, listen to
me.... Thanos is coming. It doesn’t
matter who you’re talking to or not.”
This initial group then recruits
others: Peter Parker (Spider-Man), Peter Quill, and members of Steve Rogers’s
rival faction. They all have their own history, superpowers, and idiosyncrasies.
But they agree to join this superteam, despite their differences, because all of
them are needed if they are to stop Thanos.
The Education Lab has, similarly, put together nine superteams made up
of people with complementary, powerful capacities — including some who up
until now haven’t been talking — who can achieve their ambitious objectives
only if they collaborate. Each of these teams is working at a different leverage
point in the education system, in which a small change has the potential to
make a big impact.
The Education Lab has put
together nine superteams
made up of people with
complementary, powerful

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