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Posts by Jonathan Schorr


It’s not often that I wake up in the morning, read the blogs, and find a whole lot of common ground with Valerie Strauss’s “Answer Sheet” in the Washington Post. On days when she is quoting the New York Times’ Michael Winerip, it’s even less likely.So, in the holiday spirit of cheer and peacemaking, I’m delighted that just before the year runs out, the moment has arrived, in the form of an […] Read more

Of course class matters. Schools matter too.

A recent piece on the New York Times op-ed page, which somehow didn’t get much immediate attention, ranks in the view of this jaded sometimes-ed-writer as one of the most troubling articles on education reform of 2011.The December 11 op-ed, by Duke public policy professor Helen Ladd and former New York Times education editor Edward Fiske, was headlined “Class Matters. Why Won’t We Admit It?” It makes a few points that ought […] Read more

Drone Submarines, Flying Cars, and the Classroom

What does education have in common with a pilotless submarine and remote-controlled insects? In short, the letters ARPA. Stay with us for a moment — because we’re going to need your help. In 1953, Congress created DARPA — the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — to catch up with a Soviet Union that could turn innovation into workable defense projects faster than the United States could. It was idea-heavy and bureaucracy-light, freed […] Read more

Mapping the K-12 Ed Tech Market

When Amerigo Vespucci made a map that showed how to find North America, people liked it so much they named the place after him.Having now finished up a map of the known world in education technology, with generous support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, we are not expecting to find it in any history books. But we were delighted, when we released it yesterday at a meeting of the Philanthropy […] Read more

Live, from New York: It’s Education Entrepreneurs!

This week, as part of the NBC News Education Nation program, NewSchools is partnering with NBC to put a spotlight on education innovation.  Three teams of early-stage entrepreneurs who want to use their imagination and technological savvy to help educators are competing for a $100,000 prize from sponsor Citi, as well as organizational support from NewSchools. All week, the young entrepreneurs are engaging in events and challenges that will help them improve and […] Read more

Asking the Wrong Question on Ed Tech

How good are restaurants?The question is obviously silly, because the category is too broad to produce a useful answer. Yet the New York Times, in its big Sunday splash on education technology, makes fundamentally the same mistake – but then, fortunately, did much better in its story today about the Apollo reform effort in Houston.Here’s the basic problem: If you were going out to eat tonight, you might be quite interested to […] Read more

SOD – “Save Our Debate”

In Washington DC, the end of July is supposed to be a time of miserable weather during which the politicos get nothing done because they’re on vacation. Instead, it’s a time of miserable weather during which politicos are getting nothing done because they’re staring each other down over the ruins of our country’s credit rating.So why is Matt Damon getting on a redeye flight tonight to rally a crowd of teachers marching […] Read more

2011 Investing in Innovation (i3) competition announced

Here’s a bit of information on the newly announced 2011 round of the federal Investing in Innovation Fund, or i3. We’re thrilled that nine members of the NewSchools portfolio were winners last year, and want to make sure you have the information that will enable you to decide whether the fund is of interest to you this year. As background, the i3 Fund provides sizable awards to support the validation and expansion […] Read more

Summit 2011: Innovation, honesty, and muffins

Yes, there were some marquee names. Mark Zuckerberg. John Doerr. Joel Klein. Sal Khan. Kaya Henderson. Reed Hastings.  As Tom Vander Ark noted, “We don’t have many rock stars in education, but most of them were on the stage at the Summit.” But it was more than just star power that people were talking about in the hallways at Summit 2011, and in their Facebook posts and tweets. It was a spirit […] Read more

Bing Gordon on videogame design thinking

Only in one universe do the world’s farms produce more strawberries than corn, rice, sugar beets or soybeans. That universe is Farmville, the Facebook app whose other major product seems to be astonishing statistics. Statistics like that there are 30 times more people farming imaginary fields on Facebook than working on real farms in the United States. Or that the people doing that imaginary farming (including 18 million people who play this […] Read more