Aspen Institute and Newschools Venture Fund Launch Annual Conference for Education Entrepreneurs

ASPEN, Colo. – August 15, 2005 – The Aspen Institute and the NewSchools Venture Fund have announced that they will establish a joint venture to accelerate the pace of change in public education by connecting and supporting education entrepreneurs and innovators. As a first step, they will convene the first annual “Gathering of Education Entrepreneurs” from August 24-28 at the Institute’s Aspen Meadows campus in Aspen, Colorado.

The NewSchools/Aspen Annual Gathering of Education Entrepreneurs, to be sponsored by E-TRADE FINANCIAL Corporation, will bring together nearly 40 of the nation’s most important entrepreneurial leaders in public education. Bringing these leaders together will encourage creative problem-solving, develop deeper relationships across organizations, and define a national agenda for change.

“Few would dispute that America’s education system is in disrepair,” noted Peter Reiling, executive vice president for International and Policy Programs at the Aspen Institute. He added: “We are looking to these entrepreneurial leaders to develop solutions that will ensure that every child can realize the promise of opportunity that is at the core of our nation’s social contract.”

“Our public school system is simply not achieving the outcome we expect: giving every child the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the 21st century,” said Kim Smith, co-founder and chair of NewSchools Venture Fund, who created and developed the program as part of her organization’s work to empower entrepreneurs to transform public education. “These entrepreneurs are crucial change agents in making the massive change happen, and programs like this one will give them some of the time and space they need to reflect, collaborate and coordinate as they push toward systemic change together.”

The first wave of education entrepreneurs – including leaders such as Jon Schnur of New Leaders for New Schools, Don Shalvey of Aspire Public Schools, Larry Rosenstock of High Tech High, Wendy Kopp of Teach For America, Larry Berger of Wireless Generation, Jim Shelton of the Gates Foundation, Andy Rotherham of Education Sector, and Michelle Rhee of the New Teacher Project – have made tremendous progress toward their common goal: closing the deplorable achievement gap that exists in today’s public education system and ensuring that all children receive an excellent public education. After many years of hard work, these leaders – and the organizations they head — will benefit greatly from this opportunity to re-energize so that they can continue to drive change in public education.

NewSchools Venture Fund is a venture philanthropy firm working to transform public education through powerful ideas and passionate entrepreneurs so that all children – especially those underserved – have the opportunity to succeed in the 21st century.

The E-TRADE FINANCIAL family of companies provide financial services including trading, investing, banking and lending for retail and institutional customers.

The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values. The Institute is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Its international network includes partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Tokyo, and New Delhi, and leadership programs in Africa and Central America.

Media Contact:

Julie (Landry) Petersen, NewSchools Venture Fund
Phone: (415) 615-6863
jpetersen@newschools.org