Innovators, political leaders to headline NewSchools-Aspen Institute Summit 2012

April 20, 2012

 Silicon Valley event to highlight ideas that are changing education 

Contact:  Joe Ventura, (415) 615-6862/ [email protected]

OAKLAND, CA, April 18, 2012— Sen. Michael Bennet, Rahm Emanuel, Harvard’s Roland Fryer, and Dave Goldberg of SurveyMonkey will be among the 115 speakers at the nation’s leading event focused on education innovation in low-income communities. The NewSchools Venture Fund-Aspen Institute Summit takes place May 2 at the Marriott San Francisco Airport in Burlingame, California. NewSchools and Aspen Institute will be joined by the NBC News “Education Nation” team, who will participate in the event as part of the initiative’s 2012 city tour.

Registration for the invitation-only event is at capacity, but a limited number of press credentials are available by contacting Joe Ventura, (415) 615-6862/ [email protected]. Please send requests by April 26.

The agenda includes sessions and conversations on the ideas that will change education over the next decade, including the most influential new work in education technology; revolutionary, results-based startup efforts in teacher preparation; blended learning models; game-based learning; and much more. Sessions will include:

  • Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago and former Obama Chief of Staff and member of Congress, on what it takes to make change happen
  • Harvard’s Roland Fryer and Denver Superintendent Tom Boasberg on how districts can learn from the best charter schools
  • Howard Fuller on whether the entrepreneurial reform movement is living up to expectations
  • Dave Goldberg, NewSchools board member and CEO of SurveyMonkey, hosts a conversation on the consumerization of ed tech called “The Achievement Gap: Is There an App for That?”
  • Sen. Michael Bennet and former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings on the prospects for federal education policy
  • Entrepreneurs Rushika Fernandopulle of Iora Health, Kristin Groos Richmond of Revolution Foods, and Danny Kennedy of Sungevity on disruptive innovation in areas of public good
  • NBC News’ Rehema Ellis asks whether Race to the Top is working; Joanne Weiss of the U.S. Department of Education, Massachusetts education chief Mitch Chester, and Jean Desravines of New Leaders have the answers

These sessions will be part of a day filled with presentations, interactive discussions and workshops that revolve around the power of innovation and entrepreneurship to improve education for students from low-income families. The event is built around the work of education innovators and entrepreneurs including many in the NewSchools portfolio, such as Aspire Public Schools, Teach For America, KIPP, The New Teacher Project, and many others.

“Some would have us believe that education can’t do much in the face of poverty,” said NewSchools CEO Ted Mitchell. “The Summit is a great chance to meet the people who will prove the naysayers wrong.”

The Summit is made possible by generous support from corporate and philanthropic sponsors, including Target, J.P. Morgan, Pearson, the Doris & Donald Fisher Fund, and the Walton Family Foundation.

About NewSchools Venture Fund

NewSchools Venture Fund ( is a national nonprofit venture philanthropy firm that aims to transform public education for underserved children by supporting education entrepreneurs who create nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Its investments are designed to make a significant systemic impact in some of the nation’s most challenged urban communities, including New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Oakland, California. The NewSchools portfolio includes some of the most innovative and high-impact organizations working to improve education for low income children today.

About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute ( mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has an international network of partners.

About NBC News’ Education Nation

Education Nation” seeks to create a thoughtful, well-informed dialogue with policymakers, thought-leaders, educators, parents and the public, in pursuit of the shared goal of providing every American with an opportunity to achieve the best education in the world. These discussions cover the challenges, potential solutions and innovations spanning the education landscape. By providing quality information to the public, NBC News hopes to educate Americans so they can make decisions about how best to improve our education system both in the near and long terms, and to shine a spotlight on one of the most urgent national issues of our time.

About Target

Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at more than 1,763 stores across the United States and at The company plans to open its first stores in Canada in 2013. In addition, the company operates a credit card segment that offers branded proprietary credit card products.Since 1946, Target has given 5% of its income and millions of volunteer hours to the community. Today, that 5% in giving equals more than $3 million every week.

 For more information about Target’s commitment to corporate responsibility, visit

About J.P. Morgan

J.P. Morgan is a leader in financial services, offering solutions to clients in more than 100 countries with one of the most comprehensive global product platforms available. We have been helping our clients to do business and manage their wealth for more than 200 years. Our business has been built upon our core principle of putting our clients’ interests first. J.P. Morgan is part of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), a global financial services firm with assets of $2.3 trillion.

About Pearson

Pearson provides educational materials, technologies, assessments, and related services to teachers and students of all ages. We work closely with states, districts, schools and colleges as they implement policies and practices to reach the following goals: raise student achievement and prepare every student for college and careers; create world-class experiences that make learning more personalized, connected and accessible for all students; and find more affordable ways to improve teaching and accelerate learning. More than 100 million learners around the world use Pearson products and services every day. 

About the Doris & Donald Fisher Fund

The Doris & Donald Fisher Fund seeks to ignite the transformation of American public education by investing in entrepreneurs and organizations whose ideas, programs and policies raise student achievement, foster choice and competition, or otherwise disrupt the educational status quo. The Fisher Fund aims to increase student achievement and attainment among low-income children, increase quality publicly-funded school options for low-income families, and to create examples of and conditions for the broader transformation of the K-12 public education system. Over the next decade, the Fisher Fund hopes to make meaningful contributions to the closing of the achievement gap at home and improving our economic competitiveness abroad.  

About the Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation’s ( education reform work is driven by the core belief that when families are empowered by having access to quality choices in education, they will help lead the bold transformation of our national K-12 system of publicly-funded education. The Foundation supports causes that expand choice and equal opportunity—particularly in low-income neighborhoods—regardless of the type of program: traditional public, private or public charter. The Foundation’s urgency is motivated by the reality that the economic well-being of our country in a global economy depends on all of our children having access to a high-quality, publicly-funded education.