America’s school system is broken. On that the Forbes 400 can agree. America’s richest men and women give more to education-related causes than to any other issue. But in terms of how best to improve education, there is less consensus.
Education-related causes that have benefited from the Forbes 400 wealth vary widely: Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark’s public schools. Michael Moritz and his wife gave $50 million to his alma-mater Christ Church college. Bill and Melinda Gates have focused their efforts on reorganizing high school curriculum, while Eli Broad believes our schools could use more managerial expertise. Their ideas differed so widely that this year, my colleagues and I reached out to a few billionaires, and several recipients of their charity to solicit their best idea for K-12 education reform.
To that end, I spoke with Ted Mitchell, CEO and president of the NewSchools Venture Fund, a program that aims to apply to K-12 education the same, hands-on, result-driven, funding approach that venture capitalists have brought to the world of technology.