Should You Learn To Code?

How the Mainstream Media Ignored the Biggest Story of the 21st Century.

Professor Schwartz
9 min readFeb 8, 2023
Photo Courtesy: Ideastream Public Media

Do you remember when Ivanka Trump went on a national tour promoting, “learn to code?”

In 2020, Ms. Trump went around the country with other Silicon Valley executives, like anti-hero Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, to tell 40 million unemployed citizens that “learning to code” was the secret to success in the 21st century.

Meanwhile at the very same time, a group of researchers on a small college campus, only 5 miles from our nation’s capitol, are publishing the most important research study of the 21st century. Inside their report is the answer to the most important question of the 21st century. “What skills do I need to get a higher paying job and so that I can be successful in the 21st century?”

Think about it for a second. Which story is more important? Ms. Trump talking about “coding” or a research study that gives a roadmap for 21st century education and the clues you need to improve your life, your career and your long term success?

And yet, Ivanka grabbed all the headlines and dominated the airwaves.

How did the mainstream media literally miss the biggest story of the 21st century?

This is the story you never heard about.

Missing the Story

It’s easy to blame the media for making mistakes. Being a reporter in America isn’t an easy job. I started my career as a journalist, first as a news reporter for WRKL radio in New York and then as a sportswriter for the Star-Ledger in New Jersey.

What you might not know is that reporters are not in charge of the stories they cover or the final story you read or see on television. There are people behind the scenes that are making those decisions and it’s the reporters job to go “find” the story.

So how did the media miss this story?

It’s partly because Ivanka Trump gets eyeballs and attention has become the #1 commodity of the 21st century. If you can capture attention, you have won the game.

But the other reason is because research studies like this don’t happen all the time and when you read this report — the significance of it doesn’t jump out at you.

You have to know what to look for, in order to decode its value.

And that’s a big problem for reporters. They don’t have time to decode information. That’s why they rely a lot on experts, to help them unpack what the golden nugget means. And the problem in America is that there aren’t any experts left in the field of education.

The Most Consequential Report of the 21st Century

Let’s start from the beginning. In 2020, researchers at Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce published a study called “Workplace Basics.”

To the average citizen, this report looks overwhelming, dense and unimportant. Why would anyone care about the workplace? And what could a bunch of eggheads tell us about work, when they get to sit in comfy chairs listening to Beethoven, while the rest of us grind it out at our 9–5 jobs (which are more like 8–7 jobs)?

But the researchers were on a mission. If you recall, back in March 2020, the US government shut down all businesses. In an instant 40 million Americans were unemployed. That’s the reason Ivanka and Silicon Valley created the “learn to code” mantra.

But the researchers weren’t buying that false narrative, they wanted to take a deeper dive into the labor market and truly understand what was happening. Was there a skills gap between entry level work and high paying work? Do our schools teach the right subjects in class or should they adjust their curriculums?

As you can see, if the researchers could answer these key questions, this report would become historic.

And they did end up answering those questions, and yet the report was still overlooked and ignored.

Upgrading Your Education

The first important lesson from this groundbreaking report is knowing the difference between an old education and a 21st century education. Here’s the simplest way to understand this difference.

You reeived an old education. Every American that has gone to school has received an old education. It’s easy to say that because the American education system is unchanged in over 100 years.

But what does a 21st century education look like then?

At the end of this study, the researchers made a recommendation to college campuses that they begin to teach five essential skills in their courses. These five skills are the toolkit you need to get a high paying job and to be successful in the 21st century.

That’s not a minor recommendation. We are talking about fundamentally changing what schools teach so that it can be more aligned with what jobs need in the new century.

That means, your English, Math, Science and Social Studies classes are old and obsolete. Can you wrap your mind around that for a minute? Everything you learned in school has become outdated in the 21st century. And you kind of know that, don’t you?

How much of your education do you use at work? The easy answer is “not much,” and there’s a reason for that. It’s not because your teachers and professors were bad — it’s simply because “WHAT” they were teaching you was obsolete the minute they taught it to you.

When you read the Georgetown study, you have to be an expert in education to see the truth. And that’s why this story never got national attention.

Learning 21st Century Skills

What did the researchers find out?

In order to figure out if there were specific skills that could help people get higher paying jobs, they needed to survey the entire US Labor Market. Yes, they did the most comprehensive study of every job in America. And what they did was ask each company and employer this question: “What skills do your workers need to be successful?”

And the responses were shocking!

Academic elites and experts have been saying that “learning to code” was the key to 21st century success. If you asked the average citizen, what were the most important job skills? They might say technology or computers.

But what the Georgetown resaerchers found out was that’s not true. We have been misled and brainwashed into thinking that since we live in a digital age that we need digital skills, but that’s not what the data proved.

The study looked at jobs in every job sector, from agriculture, to finance, to construction to healthcare, etc. And they looked at entry level jobs and high paying jobs. And what they found was there were five essential skills that separated the entry level workers from the highest paid workers.

Now we’re getting somewhere. What if you learned these five essential skills? Would you have an “edge” in the labor market? Would you get hired for the highest paying jobs? Would that mean you could earn more money, and be more successful?

And the answer is YES!

Here are the five most essential skills for success in the 21st century:

  • 21st Century Leadership
  • 21st Century Team Building
  • 21st Century Problem Solving
  • 21st Century Sales
  • 21st Century Communications

Want to Make a Difference?

Most Americans think big and dream big. It’s part of our culture and our national identity. We believe in the American Dream because it’s not just fantasy, it actually happens in reality.

The problem is most Americans will never live the American Dream in the 21st century and the reason is because you don’t have 21st century skills. That’s what this research study solved for 99% of Americans. This study gives you a roadmap for success.

Learn these five essential skills and you open up new doors and new opportunities for yourself. The problem is that our country is run by old people and people that “think they're smarter than everyone else around them.”

The Georgetown study recommended that every college start teaching these five skills immediately — and no one listened. And if college campuses are ignoring Georgetown research, what do you think K12 districts are going to do?

And so we are at a crossroads.

What your local high school is teaching has been proven to be old and outdated. That’s according to the research. And your local principals, superintendents and school board members want to claim they follow the data — well, here’s the data.

What you should know is that after I left journalism, I spent over 20 years in education. In 2011, I became one of the first superintendents in America to adopt a 21st century skills curriculum.

Because of the outstanding success of my high school graduates, I was invited to give expert testimony before the NJ Joint Legislative Committee on the Public Schools in 2017. And I was also invited to speak at the 2020 “Teachers for Good Trouble Virtual Summit.”

If you want to get your local schools to change their mind, you need to know what you’re talking about. And I don’t expect you to read this multi-page study with graphs, charts and data sets.

That’s why I created a FREE 5-Day 21st Century Crash Course for you to take. It’s easy to sign up and every day you will get a new 21st century lesson for the next five days.

When you go the Leaf Academy homepage, you will be able to sign up for this FREE 5-Day Crash Course. This will give you the easiest and fastest introduction to the five 21st century skills found in the Georgetown study.

Leaf Academy’s mission is to help people, just like you, upgrade your old education to 21st century skills and the FREE 5-Day Crash Course is the perfect way to get started. And if you never heard of Leaf Academy before, it’s the first online school for 21st century skills.

Your local high school and college do not teach these essential skills, that’s why Leaf Academy was launched. It’s the only place right now, you can go to learn 21st century skills that you need to be successful.

But there’s more you can do!

After you sign up for the FREE 5-Day Crash Course, you should share this article with 6 people. Why six people? Because if you share it with 6 people and those 6 people share it with 6 more people — everyone in America will have seen this article by the end of the month (using the power of six degrees of separation.)

Remember that the mainstream media didn’t do it’s job. They should have covered this story. They should have made huge headlines for you to read: GEORGETOWN FINDS THE FIVE SKILLS FOR SUCCESS IN THE 21ST CENTURY!

You would have read that story. You would have known about this report and you’re local school district would have adjusted it’s curriculum already. But this report was published in 2020 and your high school is still teaching old and obsolete classes in 2023.

Nothing will change unless you take the first step.

You have the power to make a difference. You have the power to change the world. But you only have that power IF you decide to sign up for the FREE 5-Day Crash Course and share this article.

America is counting on you, what will you decide to do?

If you like feeling empowered, then follow this account. And if you want to know how you can improve other areas of your life, your career, or your community, then leave a comment on any of the articles on this account. Maybe one of your comments will inspire a new article.

About the Author:

People call me “The School Doc” because I have been diagnosing problems for the last 20 years. And one of the problems I diagnosed back in 2011 was exposing the old K12 curriculum. From 2009 to 2019, I developed three proven real world solutions for the American educational system. And based on my proven success, the NJ Joint Legislative Committee on the Public Schools asked me to provide expert testimony on how to fix education in America.

If you want to learn more, follow this account and also follow me on Twitter and Instagram at “theschooldoc” I also host a weekly “LIVE” podcast called “Tuesdays with Schwartz” which broadcasts on IG every Tuesday 5pm EST/2pm PST.



Professor Schwartz

Helping people overcome obstacles in life, so they can build their wealth and empire | Performance Coach | Author | Speaker