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Curriculum, the Trojan Horse of School Reform

As a country, we’ve vastly under-appreciated the importance of high-quality content as a key lever to improve teaching and learning. One of my mentors Dr. Denise Pope, lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Education, calls curriculum the “Trojan horse of school reform.” I believe this to be true, now more than ever. The conditions are ripe for a curriculum revolution that has the potential to both improve student achievement and support great teaching.* Read more

Refuting Peter Buffett’s ‘New Code’

So, what should we make of Peter Buffett’s op-ed against “The Charitable-Industrial Complex”? I’ll confess I’m confused by his argument. Buffett begins by railing against something he calls “Philanthropic Colonialism,” which he describes as the hobby of philanthropists who want to improve the world by meddling with farming methods, education practices, or job training. There’s a legitimate argument to be made about how misguided philanthropic endeavors in local communities can go awry (and Buffet is hardly the first to make it). Read more

Alive in the Swamp

Sir Michael Barber, Michael Fullan and Katelyn Donnelly discus education reform and the impact of learning technologies. They also discuss “Alive in the Swamp: assessing digital innovations in education”, which offers practical advice on how to navigate through digital innovations in education, and suggests where more innovation effort is needed. Read more

Startups Should Prioritize Sustainability over Fundraising

Startup guru and author of The Startup Owner’s Manual, Steve Blank wrote a great blog post this week on raising money titled “Fund raising is a means not an end” and I couldn’t agree more. I worry about this increased focus on raising money over building a sustainable business – for both for-profits and not for profits. The education-oriented endeavors are particularly at risk due to less scrutiny of their business models […] Read more

K-12 Ed Tech Market Map Refresh

NewSchools is releasing an update to the K-12 Ed Tech Market Map, once again created in collaboration with Education Elements and the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation. This update includes about 50 new companies added, a graphic design refresh (the larger the circle, the more companies in that space!), and revised categorizations in Data and Talent Management. We listened to those of you who emailed us feedback (thanks!) and hope you’ll find your suggestions reflected in the update. Read more

GREAT Act Introduced Before House and Senate

Imagine your favorite teacher. Most likely this was someone who challenged the class and made learning fun. We all know well the arguments that teacher preparation organizations are simply not producing enough teachers of this ilk. Through our Learning to Teach Fund, we’re deeply engaged in fostering innovation that will lead to a new norm for teacher preparation, one in which teachers are well prepared for the demands of the classroom from day one. To build this market, we need to change the policies that exist today. That’s why we, along with over 90 leaders from across the education field, support the Growing Excellent Achievement Training Academies for Teachers and Principals (GREAT) Act, introduced in the Senate and the House today. Notably, in an era of hyper partisanship, GREAT has bipartisan support. Read more

Building a Digital Depository

These are exciting times for education entrepreneurship, technology, and the policy ecosystem that surrounds them both. Whether gauged by new school “startup weekends,” venture capital interest, or simply taking note of educators embracing digital tools, there is no question we are in a special moment. We may be on the verge of transformation that will radically redefine our instructional practices and improve learning outcomes – and make the education field one that […] Read more