Generation Z is prompting the education system in the United States to change. Not interested in listening to long lectures, Gen Z thrives on interaction and quick responses. But they want more than just the right technology; they want to see system-wide change and are passionate about changing the world. Join Washington Post Live for a series of conversations with innovative thinkers, educators and Gen Z leaders about the changing needs of American students, diversity in the classroom, and how connectivity through technology and engagement is taking education outside of the classroom and onto the streets.


The founder of Khan Academy said while pandemic schooling has been “awkward” and “difficult,” it’s made it easier integrate online with in-person learning going forward. “Teachers have been doing heroic things to keep kids learning during the pandemic. They’ve been thrown into the deep end of the pool with technology and it’s been difficult. But that will lower the activation energy going forward for people to try these types of things out. Also, a lot of the best practices that emerged through Zoom schooling or pandemic schooling around don’t lecture to people, let’s interact with each other, let’s leverage breakouts, let’s pull kids out of the screen and have a Socratic dialogue, that’s always been the best practice in any type of setting, in person or on Zoom. So I’m hopeful that will translate.” (Washington Post Live)
The education activist said to build meaningful relationships with Gen Z students, educators need to be open to sharing their personality, interests and passions “One thing educators need to know to understand Gen Z is that it’s best that we see you as people… The separation and division between school and life is important for your own mental health obviously as educators but us seeing you as real adult, real feelings and interests and passions and sharing those things with us… is really important to me.” (Washington Post Live)
“There’s actually a lot of positives to technology that have allowed me to connect with other girls that care about the issues I care about and are willing to support me.” (Washington Post Live)

Sal Khan

Provided by Khan Academy.

Sal Khan is the founder and CEO of Khan Academy, a nonprofit educational organization that offers free lessons in math, science and humanities in multiple languages, as well as tools for parents, teachers and districts to track student progress.

Marley Dias

Provided by representatives for Marley Dias

Marley Dias is the witty and purpose-driven 16-year-old founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks and author of Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! whose successful campaign has garnered over 10 billion media impressions. A captivating speaker, Marley has spoken at the White House’s United State of Women alongside Michelle Obama and Oprah, The Forbes Women’s Summit, United Nations Girl Up. More recently, Marley Executive Produced Netflix’s Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Children’s Programs category in 2021.

Content from Walton Family Foundation

The following content is produced and paid for by a Washington Post Live event sponsor. The Washington Post newsroom is not involved in the production of this content.

(Washington Post Live)

Romy Drucker

Romy Drucker is currently the Interim K-12 Education Program Director at the Walton Family Foundation. In this role, she oversees the foundation’s initiatives to improve K-12 education for all of our nation’s children by empowering parents with quality options. She also leads team operations and grantmaking strategy. Prior to joining the foundation, Romy was the co-founder and CEO of The 74, an award-winning nonprofit news organization focused on education. Prior to launching The 74, Romy worked at the New York City Department of Education on Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein’s transformational Children First reforms. Romy served as chief of staff for the Division of Portfolio Planning working on efforts including new school development, school improvement and accountability, and early childhood education. Prior to that, Romy served as the special assistant to Chancellor Joel I. Klein and as deputy to the Chief Executive Officer of The Fund for Public Schools, which has raised several hundred million dollars for innovative educational programs serving New York City’s 1.1 million students.

Romy graduated cum laude from Yale College with a B.A. in literature and Spanish language and earned her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Interviewed by Elise Labott

Elise Labott is a leading journalist covering foreign US foreign policy and international issues. Elise is a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and before that was CNN’s Global Affairs Correspondent. She has reported from more than 80 countries, traveled the world with seven secretaries of state and has interviewed many world leaders and newsmakers. Elise is the founder of Twopoint.o Media, a digital media platform that aims to engage, inform and inspire citizens to solve today’s most pressing global challenges, and an adjunct professor at American University’s School of International Service. She is a contributor to Politico, provides commentary for MSNBC, NPR, BBC and several other broadcast outlets and is a sought-after interviewer and moderator. Elise also serves as a global ambassador for Vital Voices, an organization that empowers female entrepreneurs around the world and is on the advisory committee of Global Kids DC, a program which introduces high school students in underserved communities to international affairs. Prior to joining CNN, Elise covered the UN for ABC News and also reported on diplomatic and foreign policy issues for Agence France-Presse and other publications. Elise is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned a master’s degree from the New School for Social Research.