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Press Release: Higher Ground Education, The Roots of Progress Co-Found Global “Progress Studies” Curriculum for High School Students


While innovating entails thinking about the future, understanding innovation means looking at its past.

(Lake Forest, CA, MAY 2020) –  The Roots of Progress and Higher Ground Education have partnered to create a high-school program within the emerging field of Progress Studies – the study of scientific, industrial, technological, and economic advancement. “Progress Studies for Young Scholars” is now enrolling applicants globally for a June launch.

The program, which will run in six-week cohorts, will explore the history of technology with dedicated instructors and renowned guest speakers. Topics will include the automation of manufacturing and agriculture; steam, oil and electricity; how railroads, cars and airplanes shrank the world; the conquest of infectious disease; and the rise of computers and the Internet.

“The last two hundred years have seen a dramatic and unprecedented increase in living standards, benefitting the entire world,” said Jason Crawford, author of The Roots of Progress and co-founder of the program. “But this gift from previous generations is often taken for granted. To fully appreciate it, one has to learn about the incredibly fascinating history of the discoveries and inventions that made it possible. The history of technology often falls between the cracks of history and science classes. I’m excited for the chance to fill in this gap for the current generation of high school students.”

Progress Studies for Young Scholars (PSYS) will live under Higher Ground Education’s academic offerings, and it is designed for students ages 15-18. Students can enroll in two different paths: a free enrollment that is self-paced, or a paid enrollment where students join online study groups led by an instructor. Scholarships will also be available for students interested in guided instruction.

“Higher Ground’s mission is to bring the power of Montessori education into the mainstream,” said Matt Bateman, Vice President of Pedagogy at Higher Ground Education. “A consistent theme throughout Montessori’s work is precisely the notion that we—as a species—take for granted the amazing, life-advancing achievements of civilization. And her solution is always the same: we need a better approach to history education. It is very consonant with contemporary thinking about the importance of studying progress, and I’m thrilled to be bringing these insights into our curriculum.”

While Higher Ground Education has its own Montessori adolescent school network, the Academy of Thought and Industry (ATI), Bateman noted that this program is open to high school students everywhere, regardless of whether they are in network with ATI. Interested students can sign up now by visiting the Progress Studies for Young Scholars website,, and entering their email to begin the application process.

To augment the course content and create greater discussion on progress studies, the PSYS program is also launching a complementary Guest Speaker Series open to the public. The series features experts on the history of science, technology, and industry, including:

  • Dr. Max Roser, Director, Oxford Martin Programme on Global Development; Founder, Our World in Data
  • Dr. Joel Mokyr, Robert H. Strotz Professor of Arts & Sciences and Professor of Economics & History, Northwestern University
  • Deirdre McCloskey, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Economics, History, English & Communication, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Dr. Tyler Cowen, Holbert L. Harris Chair of Economics and chairman of the Mercatus Center, George Mason University
  • Patrick Collison, Co-founder & CEO, Stripe

Those interested in joining the Guest Speaker Series can also enter their email on the program’s homepage,, to get the event invitations.



Born out of a new partnership between Higher Ground Education and The Roots of Progress, Progress Studies for Young Scholars is the first-of-its-kind high school program that equips students with knowledge on the historical study of technological and industrial progress. This program will explore: what problems, challenges and hardships in life and work were faced by people in earlier generations and centuries? And how did we solve those problems through science, technology, and invention? It will be delivered as an online course open to students across the nation during six-week cohorts of self-paced and guided learning.

HIGHER GROUND EDUCATION Founded in 2016 by an experienced team of educators and innovative entrepreneurs, Higher Ground functions as a hyper-scaling, tech-enabled school operator. In addition to running Guidepost Montessori and The Prepared Montessorian, Higher Ground also runs the Academy of Thought and Industry, a Montessori school network for grades 6-12. It has grown into a diverse team whose goal is to elevate the educational establishment with a suite of educational offerings, ensuring that teachers have the training and tools they need; schools have the infrastructure and resources they need; and that parents have the support and partnership they deserve. It is from this collaboration and inclusivity that we can elevate the establishment of education – and through it the children of the world – to a “higher ground.”


Founded in 2017, The Roots of Progress is a website about the history of technology and industry, and the philosophy of human progress. It is written by Jason Crawford, a former software engineering manager and startup founder. His work is supported in part by grants from Emergent Ventures, a program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and from Open Philanthropy.

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