Litterless Lunches And Urban Farm Schools: 2016 In Education

Did you know that in Denmark, they let five-year-olds bike to school alone?

Education remains one of the greatest keys to future success and stability in this country, but getting it remains a huge hurdle for many (and it’s not worth as much if you’re poor). So it’s a continuing quest to make sure more of the population takes advantage of our educational system.


This year showed some promising ideas for developing young brains: U.S. kids are allowed by law to walk to school alone, but in Denmark five-year-olds ride their own bikes to school. And when they get there, Canadian kids can enjoy delicious, waste-free lunches. Meanwhile, over in the U.K., the BBC is turning pre-teens into hackers.

And though colleges are turning into money generating machines rather than educational institutions, there were also smart innovations for older students: using small interventions to reverse the college dropout rate and make school safer for sexual assault victims.

[Photo: Flickr user Rodney Martin]

1: A College Degree Is Worth Less If You Grow Up Poor


For poor kids, college is a great way out of poverty. But for rich kids the rewards are twice as big.

2: Tiny Interventions Can Help Reverse Our Sky-High College Dropout Rate

College drop-out rates in the U.S. are sky high, but a few cheap and simple tricks help keep them around until graduation.


3: This Woman Has An Ingenious Plan To Stop Repeat Sexual Assault On College Campuses

Technology and anonymity: Students can use an escrow system to report a rape only if a second student reports an attack by the same assailant.

4: If Colleges Won’t Use Their Endowments To Pay For Education, It’s Time To Tax Them


Colleges, essentially hedge funds that don’t have to pay taxes, may be forced to pay tax unless they use their billions to, you know, educate their students.

[Top Photo: Flickr user Rob Briscoe]

5: Federal Law Now Says Kids Can Walk To School Alone

Parents will no longer be arrested if their kids walk to school without a security escort.


6: In This Danish City, 5-Year-Olds Bike To School On Their Own

Meanwhile, over in Denmark, kindergarteners are more likely to show up on a bike than to be dropped off by car.

7: A New Tech School In Berlin Is Training Refugees To Code


Berlin is one of Europe’s startup capitals, and Germany is Europe’s haven for refugees. This scheme puts them both together.

8: The BBC Gives Computer Hacking Kits To 1 Million U.K. School Kids

That old joke about kids knowing way more about computers than their parents? Totally true, in the U.K anyway.

[Photo: DebbiSmirnoff/Getty Images]

9: With Litterless Lunches, Canadian Schools Try To Get Parents To Pack Zero-Waste Meals

Canada’s war on juice boxes send kids to school with tasty, artisanal lunches.

10: This Preschool Doubles As An Urban Farm


This Italian school (literally) ditches the desk and chairs in favor of (literal) field work.

11: This Ultra-Sustainable Public School Will Have Its Own Urban Farm

This Chicago school sounds more like a Silicon Valley startup, with 100% organic school lunches prepared from scratch by an on-site chef. Oh, and kids learn about growing stuff, too.


12: How Tribeca Film Institute Brought Film Education To Prisons

How do you teach inmates about movie plot and character development? By dissecting episodes of Orange is the New Black.

[Photo: Tom Starkweather/Bloomberg/Getty Images]

13: Poland Spring’s College Scholarships Are A Tainted Gift To This High School Senior


Poland Spring, maker and seller of bottled water, tries to give a scholarship to student planning to study sustainable agriculture and environmental protection law. Hilarity ensues.


About the author

Previously found writing at, Cult of Mac and Straight No filter.