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This article was updated on Septiembre 13, 2021
Genius, millionaire, playboy, philanthropist, tesla technorey, emperor of mars… And promoter of alternative education methods. On several occasions, Elon Musk He has criticized America’s educational system, but instead of just making complaints, he got down to work. In 2014, the billionaire announced the creation of Ad Astra, a mysterious disruptive school with its own system, in which their children study and only a select few.
Patrick T. Fallon | Getty Images
Al CEO de Tesla He loves to show off his ambitious projects, but this time he preferred to keep completely hermetic Ad Astra, which in Latin means ‘towards the stars’. Very little is known about this exclusive school, located at the SpaceX facility in California. So little, that in his Web page only the logo and an email address appeared. That until June 2018, because now not even that.
A tailor-made school for Elon Musk’s children
Elon Musk has seven children total. With his first wife, Justine Musk, became the father of Nevada Alexander (2002, died at the age of 10 weeks), the twins Griffin y Xavier (2004), and the triplets Damian, Saxon y Kai (2006). His seventh child is the little one X AE A-XII Musk, born in May 2020, as a result of his relationship with the singer Grimes.
Due to his innovative and eccentric nature, Musk did not want to take his children to a traditional elite school.
“I hated going to school when I was little, it was torture”confessed Musk, who was bullied as a child in South Africa.
So in 2014 he decided to found his own school with a own methodology, supported by a former professor of the Mirman School for Gifted Children, located in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, which her children used to attend.
“I created a small school”, He said founder of SpaceX in 2015, in a television interview in Beijing. There he spoke for the first time of Ad Astra and explained that their educational model would be skill-oriented. According to the portal The Hustle, the goals of this hermetic school are:
- Be an alternative to the age segregation model. Musk says that separating children by age does not make sense for education, because students have different interests and abilities that are independent of how old they are.
- Focus on problem solving. Instead of giving children ‘tools’ in a vacuum, they should be taught how to solve problems.
- Gamificación. The tycoon pointed out that he does not have to “encourage his children to play”, since education through games is something natural for children.
The Ad Astra educational model
In this school, Elon Musk explained then, the educational model is based on do not grade students, otherwise find your skills.
“Indeed, there are no qualifications, rather than treating the school as an assembly line, I think it makes more sense to cater for education to match your skills and student abilities.”, detailed the businessman in the same interview in 2015.
“The school currently has 14 children and it will increase to 20 in September,” added the businessman at the time, but by 2018 it already had 40 students, according to the BBC.
There the children are not separated by degrees according to their age. To the boys of 7 to 14 years (which is the age range of the students) they are taught to work together as a team.
This is what the Ad Astra website looked like before 2018, now you only see a gray background with the legend: “This site is currently private. If you are the owner or collaborator, please log in.” Source: Ad Astra School.
Also the subjects are different, because in Ad Astra, the students study Artificial Intelligence (AI), applied science, coding and design of many things, mainly the robot creation.
The curriculum does not include sports subjects, foreign languages or music. The 50-year-old businessman considers that it is no longer appropriate to teach foreign languages in schools, because today there is real-time translation software. Something highly debatable for most, but perhaps reasonable for Musk’s children.
“The philosophy of the school is experimental, it is not based on a curriculum. Musk decided that he wanted to educate his children and a small group of children that way. It is something that he developed, it is his idea, it is not a traditional school”he told the BBC Christina Simon, author of the book ‘Beyond the Catalog: A Connoisseur’s Guide to Private Elementary Schools in Los Angeles’.
Who studies at Ad Astra, Elon Musk’s school?
“It was said at some point that Ad Astra was for the children of SpaceX employees, but it is not clear to which workers the offer is made, or to how many or under what conditions “Simon pointed out. “It is not known exactly who these children are”added.
In an informal visit made by BBC Mundo in 2018, which had the condition not to reveal many details of the program, they were able to verify that Ad Astra does exist, know a little about its operation and clear up some rumors.
Among the discoveries that they were able to reveal is that children do not have to pass an IQ test to be admitted. In reality, potential students visit the school and interact with the staff, who discuss whether the little ones will be able to enjoy and take advantage of the Ad Astra educational model.
For now, the little ones whose parents do not work in SpaceX can request your referral income from someone you know. However, they plan to open the registration process a little more, always with a limited number of places to maintain the disruptive spirit of the campus.
The Los Angeles school specialist commented that she receives a lot of emails from parents who want to enroll their children in Ad Astra and they don’t know how to do it.
“They are not concerned about what the school is like, how many teachers it has or how it works, information that you normally want to know before choosing your children’s school. Only that it is about Elon Musk”Simon said.
And what about the university?
As with other alternative systems, such as Montessori or Waldorf, many wonder if graduates of Ad Astra They will have enough skills and knowledge to, in due course, enter university.
Of course this does not matter one bit to the billionaire Elon Musk, who has already made it clear that he does not consider university education important.
“I think college is basically a place to have fun and show that you can do your homework, but that’s not for learning.”Musk said in December 2020.
The mogul added that universities are forging students to accept “annoying tasks” when they join the world of work. According to Musk, it is “absurd” that companies hire staff based on their academic degree, so It is not a requirement to have a university degree to work in Tesla, SpaceX or any of its companies.
He also pointed out that you can learn any subject online and for free, and gave an example of several billionaires who dropped out of college, such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, among others.