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US DOE Convenes Leaders to Increase Diversity in Education Reform

On January 29-30, the U.S. Department of Education brought together over 50 education reform leaders for the first meeting, or “First Steps Forum” in a collaboration called, “Our Students, Our Leaders: Increasing the Diversity of Education Reform Leadership.” Participants came from education organizations across the country and left with action plans to close the demographic gap between students and leaders in education reform. At an early 2016 meeting each 2015 participant will […] Read more

What NewSchools Has Taught Me

by Derrick Spencer, UNCF-Walton Ed. Reform Fellow and DCSF Intern About this time last year I decided to apply to the UNCF-Walton Ed. Reform Fellowship, which consequently landed me an interview with NewSchools Venture Fund. I thought the fellowship would be the perfect opportunity not only to learn, but also to actively participate in education reform.  Prior to my experience with NewSchools, I was knowledgeable of some basic pedagogical theories and classroom management skills, […] Read more

Redesigning Schools for Today’s Students and Beyond

Over the last few years, the education community has heard plenty of buzz about the growth in education technology and digital learning. For instance, as New Schools’ Seed Fund team highlighted in a December blog, overall investment in ed tech companies once again rose significantly in 2014. And since last October when the White House launched Future Ready, an effort to support school districts and charter networks as they incorporate more digital […] Read more

Crossing the Classroom Chasm: Breaking into the Ed sector

“What would you say is the greatest challenge the education sector is facing today?” he asked. I paused for a moment before winding up for what I thought was the interview equivalent of a softball lob, and then answered with, “the lack of financial resources dedicated to education.”“The United States actually spends more per student than any other country,” he said. (The National Center for Education Statistics last reported that the US […] Read more

Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Education Reform

Great schools matter for kids. I believe they are the most powerful force we have for reducing economic and social inequality in the United States over the long run. But it’s a mistake to work on “fixing” schools while ignoring the conditions and beliefs that make it possible for chronically underperforming schools to persist in the first place. Or the crushing realities they perpetuate in communities across the country. Read more

Diversity: Why is it Important?

I remember the exact moment I realized the importance of diversity in education reform. This realization occurred during a diversity exercise at the opening retreat for a high school leadership program. Ironically, I realized how important diversity was through an exercise that I thought was counterproductive to the inclusive aspect of diversity.We were standing in a circle and the exercise called for us to close our eyes, listen to a series of […] Read more

Boston Charter Schools: A Limited Opportunity

Andys is one of an increasing number of English language learners (ELLs) who have chosen to enroll in charter schools. Research shows that charter schools serve ELLs and other students with special needs more effectively. However, many students are unable to access the higher quality of services that these schools provide because of the Massachusetts charter cap. It’s time to lift the cap on charter schools so that more students, and particularly those with the highest levels of need, can attend the best schools. Read more

NewSchools Invests in Accelerator to Elevate Leaders of Color

It is often stated that education is the civil rights issue of our time. While there are many aspects related to equity in education that need to be addressed, a particular area of concern for NewSchools is the lack of racial diversity in leadership roles representing the very communities we serve. In a step toward change, NewSchools is pleased to be working with Carmita Vaughan on a leadership accelerator to identify, train and provide career counsel to emerging leaders of color in the education reform movement. Read more

GREAT Act: More Reality Needed in Teaching… and Op-Eds

We have a serious problem in the United States: when it comes to training teachers, we are somewhere between mediocre to terrible. And we do a particularly bad job of training effective teachers to serve in our highest-need areas (particularly areas of poverty) and our hardest to staff subjects. At NewSchools Venture Fund, we’ve made no secret of our strong support for proposed federal legislation, the GREAT Teachers and Principals Act (S. 1052 and H.R. 2196), that’s designed to address this problem. The GREAT Act is an entirely voluntary, state-based program that – if enacted – is designed to create new teacher and principal training academies that will embrace three core principles. Read more