John Legend Trades Predictability For Passion In Education

On Tuesday, John Legend wrote an op-ed for CNN that explained his history and why he feels the education system needs to change.

Born John Roger Stephens, John Legend, 36, has had amazing success in the music industry. He is a nine-time Grammy winner and has sold multiple Top 10 platinum albums. His song, “Glory,” won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar for its part in the movie, Selma.

As much as he seems to be living up to his chosen last name (Legend), he explains in his op-ed that he had a humble and love-filled beginning.

“I grew up in a crowded house with three siblings, many passions and incredible energy,” Legend wrote. “I was surrounded by loving family, including two wonderful parents who cared so much about our education.”

John Legend goes on to explain that he and his siblings, though raised together, took vastly different paths to get to where they wanted to be.

That is one of the anecdotes he used to explain why he believes the way students are taught needs to be changed.

After going to college, Legend took a job at a consulting firm. He explained that it wasn’t because it was something he always wanted to do. He took the job because he believed he was supposed to.

John Legend’s passion for music persisted.

“While not everyone has had the opportunities I’ve had, everyone has his or her own version of my story — that moment when you become aware of the thing that will animate and fulfill you, and that period of struggle when you try to find a way to live a life that places your personal passion at the center.”

The passion Legend feels for music lead him to ask, “what it would look like if our schools were set up to help people discover and pursue a personal passion instead of a predictable path?”

Reimagine Learning is an organization John Legend believes will be able to raise the education system out of cookie-cutter teaching habits and into the belief that each student is an individual with individual needs.

The organization works to “support schools and communities in the creation of learning environments that unleash individual promise and creativity in all children,” according to their mission statement.

John Legend went on to name three other organizations working toward the same goal,, Peace First, and MIT Media Lab.

Do you believe education needs to change?

[Image courtesy of Getty Images]