A moonshot, in a technology context, is an ambitious, exploratory and ground-breaking project undertaken without any expectation of near-term profitability or benefit and also, perhaps, without a full investigation of potential risks and benefits.
When I think of moonshot thinking, one name always comes to my mind, Elon Musk. He is a billionaire that continues to invest in companies that are impacting change in the world. He is the founder of Spacex, Tesla Motors, and co-founder of Solar City. He is working on developing reusable rockets for space missions, cars that don’t run on combustible fuels and working on lessening our dependence on fossil fuels. He is always exploring groundbreaking concepts and is working to stop the development of artificial intelligence. Musk has even questioned if we are already living in a computer generated world created by machines. His ambition keeps pushing science and technology past the current standard set by humanity.
If “50 million strong” campaign by SHAPE America is a moonshot idea for health and physical educators, then how will we achieve this moonshot goal? Shape America states “Approximately 50 million students are currently enrolled in America’s elementary and secondary schools . SHAPE America wants to ensure that by the time today’s youngest students graduate from high school in 2029, all of America’s children are empowered to lead healthy and active lives through effective health and physical education programs. What is our functional tool that will measure growth? What instrument are we going to use to gather data? Are they going to create developmental milestones for this campaign? Finally, what happens if we don’t have success by 2029?
The problem with Moonshot thinking is that ambitious projects and ideas need framework and funding. Our organization has funding to reach the goal but the money needs to have focus like a sniper rifle. We have adopted more of a shotgun approach to fixing physical education. Some believe that if we shoot enough rounds of ammunition we can say that we successfully hit the target of empowering students to live healthy active lifestyles. I believe for this moonshot project to succeed we need to act like bootleggers of moonshine.
The art of making moonshine has been around since the Revolutionary War and was founded in the Appalachian Mountains. Many that made moonshine weren’t happy about the government's taxation of alcohol. Many corn farmers that had unprofitable farming seasons turned to making moonshine to pay their farms expenses. When prohibition hit the 1920’s, moonshiners were making big profits and developed networks to distribute their goods to all the major cities. So can we take the 50 million strong campaign and develop a moonshine grassroots movement towards our goal in 2029? I believe for this goal to succeed we need to focus on three areas of improvement just like Marcus Lemonis of CNBC’s The Profit. We need to focus on the people, product and process that will strengthen our brand to make our business successful and reach our moonshot goal.
The Appalachian moonshiners always had a partner when producing moonshine. One moonshiner would focus on making the moonshine with their copper still and the other moonshiner would be making sure they didn’t get caught by the local authorities. SHAPE America needs to partner with the bootleggers of physical education content on social media to give focus to the campaign. The innovators of physical education are on social media taking simple concepts and manipulating them to meet the educational needs of today’s learners. These educators are taking traditional education models and reinventing concepts with 21st century learning practices. We (#PHYSED) want to have a vested stake in the future of physical education but need a partner. Can SHAPE America be our partner in making physically literate learners in the United States? Can we get all the 200,000 educators working towards a single vision for physical education?
The finished product of moonshine has a 100 proof of alcohol content. To make sure the product has the proper alcohol content, many use fire to test the product's flammability since it has similarity to ethanol. We have the materials to make a propellant just not the right balance of chemicals to make a reaction to affect change. We have three key materials to focus on for the future. We need to focus on advocacy, program and professional development. If we focus with sniper rifle accuracy on our target we will hit our goal of 50 million strong.
The best moonshine came from people like Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton. He made a good product that people appreciated and wanted in the Appalachian Mountains. He had a passion for good likker (liquor) just like most physical educators who want their students to grow and succeed but they don’t have all the steps to make the process develop into a quality program. Our current process in place is a S.N.A.F.U. with SHAPE America. Most people know we have five standards, yet most only use the trifold grade level outcome scope and sequence with their current curriculum or only align with their state standards. Many also just adapt their sports units that they have been teaching for 20 years and call it a standards based program. We need a bootlegging professional development series to educate our professionals and to adapt our teaching styles to current models. If the change starts with “US” then all of us need to be working towards the same guidelines by 2019 to meet our goal in 2029.
Processes that need to be in place by 2019:
If we adopt some moonshine techniques with our moonshot concept, we could possibly reach our goal with the proper leadership and guidance of SHAPE America or we could see the death of our profession by 2029. Which directions will we choose as a profession in the next two years?