One Giant Step Forward for Education

January 15, 2014

Today, the National Education Association, the largest teachers union in the United States and a political powerhouse, announced a partnership with BetterLesson, an edtech company dedicated to sharing teachers’ best practices and curriculum. The result of this union is the Master Teacher Project, a groundbreaking effort to showcase the brilliant minds of our country’s best teachers. The site launched today at showcasing 3,000 Common Core aligned lessons from 130 classroom teachers. By fall of 2015, the number of lessons will reach 16,000.

There is another great story here that I’m eager to tell. It’s about leaders within the NEA and BetterLesson who put politics aside to envision how they might create a new resource for teachers, combining great technology with exceptional teaching.  

BetterLesson was founded by Alex Grodd, a TFA alum, seed-funded by NewSchools (still its largest shareholder) and their first major customer was KIPP. If you follow the politics of schools, you know organizations like KIPP, TFA and NewSchools have not traditionally found themselves on the same side of the aisle as the NEA. Yet both groups are united by their unwavering commitment to teachers and saw the potential for technology to unlock and share inspiring lessons from Maine to California.

I applaud the NEA for being visionary in partnering with BetterLesson and trusting in their expertise. For 5+ years, BetterLesson has been thinking about nothing but the most effective ways to surface and share teacher lessons. The NEA recognized BetterLesson’s laser focus on lesson sharing and reached out to work with them. A wonderful partnership emerged from that initial meeting over a year ago and the result is a product that will benefit millions of teachers. For me, this partnership embodies the essence of collective impact – the bringing together of unlikely groups to move a social goal forward.

This partnership is also a tribute to how far edtech has come. Five years ago, there was a lot of skepticism about the longevity of edtech startups like BetterLesson. I admire Alex Grodd and Erin Osbourn for their perseverance. As a BetterLesson Board member I see their consistent dedication to serving teachers and trying to move the lesson plan sharing field forward.  

Read more about the partnership on the BetterLesson Blog.

I hope we see more of these collaborations in 2014. Our teachers deserve it.