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History

Khan Lab School was founded in 2014 by Salman “Sal” Khan – two years after the release of his bestselling manifesto on education, The One World Schoolhouse, and eight years after he founded Khan Academy.

Read below for a letter Sal shared with the first Khan Lab School families.

Khan Lab School photograph by Benjamin Rasmussen
Photo credit: Benjamin Rasmussen for Wired.


Dear Families,

Khan Lab School is founded on the belief that young people are capable of far more than society currently recognizes. With this in mind, we hope to develop and test new types of learning experiences that can be shared with the world to help unlock human potential more generally.

This will not be easy. Any bold ambition like this necessarily involves experiments that will sometimes lead to failure. One could even argue that if we aren’t failing some of the time we aren’t pushing things hard enough.

And we already have had our share of failures even before the school started. For example, we seriously considered at least five locations for the school that all fell through for one reason or another. This was definitely a source of gray hairs for myself and others. But repeated failure is the only way to get to meaningful success, and luckily it paid off for us.

Now, as we start with our inaugural cohort of families (and yes, we consider your entire family part of this) and actually start working with young people, the adventure will not stop and, if anything, it will accelerate. We are putting into question everything from the traditional school day to the role of peers to how students should be evaluated. Everything we are doing is based on strong hypotheses, but some of it will not work.

Not every parent would be enthusiastic about this. Personally, I am, because much of it will work and the things that don’t work will be the best learning moments. I am confident that as long as we power through the inevitable ups and downs, this is going to be an incredible experience for all involved. We’ll all take pride in being pioneers in a fundamentally new way of approaching education. Our children will live firsthand what it means to be part of a creative effort and take that with them the rest of their lives. I hope that this will be something they tell their grandchildren about.

If we want to raise a generation of thoughtful, creative young people who aren’t afraid of risk, struggle and failure, there is no better way to do it than to model it ourselves. Thank you for joining us in this adventure.

Onward!


Sal Khan
Founder, Chairman of the Board
Khan Lab School