Ad Astra: The Secret School Elon Musk Started To Save His Kids From Standard Education

By Rick Gonzales | 3 weeks ago

elon musk school ad astra

In Latin, Ad Astra means “toward the stars” which is the perfect description of how the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, views life. It is also the perfect name for the self-described mysterious and disruptive school he started.

On a number of occasions, Elon Musk has criticized America’s educational system but instead of continuing to make complaints, he’s doing something about it. In 2014, the billionaire philanthropist put his money where his Twitter fingers were and came up with Ad Astra. Ad Astra is an innovative school with its own system in place, one that Musk says allows kids in based on their aptitudes.

“Indeed, there are no qualifications, instead of treating the school as an assembly line, I think it makes more sense to attend to education to match your skills and student abilities,” Musk said in a 2015 interview that took place in Beijing, China. While describing Ad Astra’s educational model, he said it would focus on skills. He touched on three things:

  • The school would be an alternative to age segregation. One thing Musk doesn’t agree with in America’s educational system is the separation of children based on age. He feels it doesn’t make sense for children as they have different interests and abilities that are not defined by age.
  • Problem-solving would be the focus. Musk feels that children should be taught how to solve problems instead of giving them their tools in a vacuum.
  • Gamification. Musk sees games that children play in a different light. He says he never has to encourage his kids to play games and that games are the natural way to educate children.

Elon Musk created this school for his five boys, twins Griffin and Xavier, and triplets Damian, Saxon, and Kai. He also has a sixth boy, X AE A-XII Musk (good luck with that pronunciation) who comes from his former relationship with Canadian singer Grimes (Claire Boucher). X AE A-XII Musk is waiting in the wings to join the Ad Astra, when old enough.

Elon Musk’s school was created by Musk and Joshua Dahn, a former teacher at the prestigious Mirman School for Gifted Children in Beverly Hills, California. Their first iteration of the Ad Astra school was small, consisting of 8 kids. The location was also small, located in a conference room at SpaceX.

Elon Musk’s school soon grew to 20 students and presently they are at 40 students. The students range in ages from 7 to 14 but are never separated by these ages. They are taught to work together as teams, regardless of age.

At first, Elon Musk opened up his school to his children and some children of SpaceX employees. It was never said which employees were offered this opportunity for their children, how many of them, or under what conditions would apply.

The subjects at Elon Musk’s school, as you may imagine, are quite different than what the normal educational system promotes and teaches. The students study applied science, Artificial Intelligence, design, and coding with a heavy influence on the creation of robots.

What you will not see at Ad Astra are students involved in sports, learning foreign languages, or even music. Musk no longer feels it’s necessary to learn a foreign language in school because real-time translation software is becoming more popular and developed.

So, what brought Elon Musk to the decision to create this specialized school? As mentioned, the American education system was a big turn-off for the billionaire, but it does go deeper. “I hated going to school when I was little, it was torture,” says Musk. He also confessed that he was bullied tremendously in school as a child growing up in South Africa.

Though Elon Musk has now moved to Texas, the Ad Astra school remains at the California SpaceX facility. Obtaining information about the school or trying to get in might be more difficult than winning the lotto. If you go to their website, you will see a gray background with the words “This site is currently private. If you are the owner or collaborator, please log in.”

So far, though, this has not stopped those determined to get more information or even try to enroll their children in Elon Musk’s Ad Astra. Christina Simon, author of the book Beyond the Brochure: An Insider’s Guide to Private Elementary Schools in Los Angeles, says she receives numerous emails from parents who desire to enroll their children but have no idea how to.

“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,” said Simon via Entrepreneur.

Don’t plan on the school growing much more than the present 40 students. According to IRS documents, Elon Musk’s school may never grow larger than 50 students “because of the intense staff to student ratio.”

If you had the opportunity and the means, would Elon Musk’s school be a serious consideration for you? He definitely takes an interesting approach to his Ad Astra school.