Flatiron News

Flatiron School’s Letter to WeWork

Flatiron School dean Avi Flombaum shares his vision with our new partners, WeWork.

Avi Flombaum / 23 October 2017

Flatiron School just announced that we have been acquired by WeWork. As a part of that deal process, I wrote this letter to WeWork about Flatiron School’s history and our vision for the future. I thought I would share it here to give our community additional context on this next phase of growth for Flatiron School.

Dear WeWork,

Flatiron School has spent the last few months gathering information about our company to share with you. As we’ve documented our past and our present, our triumphs and our failures, our ambitions and our reality, we wanted to share one last thing that remains unwritten: our future.

In the beginning, Flatiron School was not a great innovation or idea. We started Flatiron School to simply respond to a clear demand in the world. People wanted a meaningful education that would provide them with a job they would love. We saw the demand for programmers, knew how to inspire people to love code, and could design a format that was accessible to people. Our mission was obvious: teach people a skill and get them a job.

A screenshot of the first Flatiron School site for 2012.

Almost immediately we realized that there was something so much larger that we were responding to.

Technology is revolutionizing the world by providing access to resources and opportunities that were once scarce. Google made the wealth of information on the internet accessible; Apple put a computer in everyone’s pocket; Facebook connected us all together; Tesla paved the way to a carbon-free future; and WeWork allows people who are no longer content to mindlessly serve a job or climb a corporate ladder to design their own careers and do what they love.

But despite these technological advances, people are still locked into antiquated models of education. In the same way that traditional offices do not address the needs of a growing metropolitan population, Flatiron School believes that traditional education fails more and more people. The many problems with higher-education are well documented but the real tragedy is that there is no other option. People are trapped, conform for better or worse or live life branded as “uneducated.” There is nothing making people feel safe to try some other form of higher-education. There is no WeWork for education.

Flatiron School’s mission is to enable the pursuit of a better life through education. Rather than provide an incremental improvement – a “better textbook” – to the broken, myopic, model of traditional education that serves so few, we’ve chosen to reinvent it from the ground up and control every aspect of the experience: admissions, curriculum, vocation, culture, pedagogy, values, format, medium, and delivery. We empower people failed by traditional higher education to pursue better careers, better lives. This focus is what makes us unique. Our ability to actually deliver a modern, effective, alternative to higher education is what makes our work meaningful.

As we learn, we learn about how we learn. We work hard and we consider why hard work is worthwhile. We teach love so that our graduates share their love with the world.

Education should provide people with a life they love, not just an employable skill. We reject the false dichotomy of vocational vs. liberal arts education. We implement a blended educational experience of applied skills and philosophical thinking that addresses our students’ whole person, unlocking their full potential and passion in a modern world. We connect Plato and Programming. As we learn, we learn about how we learn. We work hard and we consider why hard work is worthwhile. We teach love so that our graduates share their love with the world.

Education needs to become cheaper, locationally dynamic, adaptive to the different lives people live, with outcomes that are accountable to students’ employment goals and opportunities for lifelong learning. To make this possible, we don’t need a better textbook – we need whole new models of education. We look forward to working together to create them.

Learn. Love. Code.

Avi Flombaum

Co-Founder & Dean // Flatiron School

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