The Hustle

From space to… school? Elon Musk’s experimental school is on another planet

For the past 4 years, Elon Musk has been quietly funding an experimental nonprofit school in the corner of SpaceX HQ in Hawthorne, California. But, in the way that Elon Musk is not your average billionaire, this school is not...


June 27, 2018

For the past 4 years, Elon Musk has been quietly funding an experimental nonprofit school in the corner of SpaceX HQ in Hawthorne, California.

But, in the way that Elon Musk is not your average billionaire, this school is not your average educator.

The school focuses less on music, sports, and language arts (as in not at all), and more on the talents that make Musk so uniquely him —  like AI, nuclear politics, and of course, flamethrowers.

It’s called Ad Astra

Because of course it is. Which means “to the stars” in Latin, because of course it does.

It started back in 2014, when Musk pulled his 5 sons out of one of LA’s most prestigious private schools for gifted children.

He hired one of his sons’ teachers, Joshua Dahn, who now serves as principal and co-founder of Ad Astra. Now, 40 students later (half of whom belong to SpaceX staff members), the rest is history.

A fever dream curriculum from Musk’s own contrarian psyche

With no grades, an estimated 20 different student-built websites live at any given time, and a digital currency called the “Astra” that kids are often seen trading around campus, Ars Technica notes that Ad Astra is more VC incubator than school. 

According to Dahn, students learn everything from how to give TED talks, to fabricating battle-bots, to “blowing sh*t up.”

As for foreign languages? Mr. M feels that translation software will soon make the subject obsolete. So, no need.

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