Parent Resource

How is Education Like Chipotle?

By Joseph E. Powers, The Woods Academy, Head of School

Sitting poolside on vacation lets my mind wander (a dangerous thing). I also eat too much and get to read a ton. One out of two is not bad. I came across a @MarketWatch article about Chipotle, and how the company surpassed its projected earnings and plans to expand (Yay!). Many investors are making it a “buy” stock based on the data that is out there. I love Chipotle as a company and a burrito. I should know. I eat there enough.

This business article also got me thinking about how Chipotle could teach us a thing or two in the world of education. If only education could be more like Chipotle? A deep and hungry thought. The best ingredients, an uncomplicated yet customizable menu with great options for everyone from vegetarians to carnivores and results that exceed expectations and taste great too. I once told my kids that I would love Chipotle even more if they would only serve brown rice instead of white rice. I felt the white rice was just sitting in my stomach, as white rice is supposed to do. To my joy, I walked into Chipotle one day and saw the brown rice. I never even suggested it to the higher ups, they already knew. This kind of flexibility, foresight and responsiveness is what we need to strive for in education too. The cookie cutter model of education does not work.


It is easy to get caught up in testing, standardization of curriculum and numbers driven results. Chipotle does all of this too. But, what they do differently is deliver a product that is built with the best ingredients, customizable, delicious and makes you want to come back for more. As we begin to launch a new school year across the country, lets all take a stop in to a Chipotle to see their magic. What if we committed ourselves as educators to provide our kids with the best ingredients (curriculum, teachers and programs), customizable (meeting kids where they are), delicious (fun and engaging) and wanting to come back every day (feeling connected)?

That is a burrito bowl I would buy every day, at Chipotle and at school. Extra brown rice and tomatoes too please. That is how I like it, and it tastes so good and it makes me want to come back for more. Just how school should be, like a Chipotle burrito.