Summit 2012

April 16, 2012

“While the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period… [Between 1970 and 2007,] the achievement gap by income had grown by 40 percent … while the gap between white and black students, regardless of income, had shrunk substantially.” — The New York Times 

“In 2010, 37 percent of … additional earnings went to just the top 0.01 percent, a teaspoon-size collection of about 15,000 households with average incomes of $23.8 million. These fortunate few saw their incomes rise by 21.5 percent. The bottom 99 percent received a microscopic $80 increase in pay per person in 2010, after adjusting for inflation.” — The New York Times

Today, more than one in five children in America lives in poverty – more than 15 million children. While racial achievement gaps are slowly closing, economic achievement gap has widened in recent years – and the polarization of income is increasing. This challenge creates the backdrop for NewSchools-Aspen Institute Summit 2012, the leading national event on education innovation and entrepreneurship. The theme of this year’s Summit is Fifteen Million Children in Poverty: Education entrepreneurship and America’s most urgent challenge. The Summit – an invitation-only event taking place near San Francisco Airport on May 1-2 –will offer an honest appraisal of the progress of a movement that sets out to change lives, a spotlight on the work of greatest promise, and a vision of what it will take to bring an excellent education to many more children. In a time of historic financial crisis, and amid indications of a widening economic achievement gap, the topics the Summit will take on have never been more pressing.

Each year, the Summit draws a national cross-section of education entrepreneurs, school system leaders, thought leaders, policymakers, funders, journalists and decision-makers in the field. This year, we will ask questions like:

  • What will the 2012 elections mean for education reform?  
  • What happens when the entrepreneurs who used to work outside the system are put in charge of it?
  •  What does a K-12 system built for college success actually look like?
  • Is education technology moving the needle for underserved kids? Can it help us scale high-quality entrepreneurial ideas more quickly? What’s the relationship between technology and great teaching?

NewSchools Venture Fund held its first annual Summit in 1999. We are proud today to produce the Summit in partnership with the Aspen Institute and NBC News, which will post content from the Summit mainstage on in the days following the event. (You can also follow the conversation in real time on Twitter at #nsvfsummit.) Summit 2012 will welcome a record 900 attendees, and the agenda will feature an unprecedented 22 sessions with 115 speakers. The event is currently at capacity, and we regret that we cannot accept requests for additional attendees.

Highlights of Summit sessions include:

  • Got Grit? How can schools, educators and parents put a deeper emphasis on traits like grit, self-control and empathy?
  • Teachers Talk about Reform: Critics say current reforms amount to blaming teachers. Advocates say reform empowers teachers. What do actual teachers think?
  • Big Data: Will it Change Everything? The vast troves of digital data that now measure everything from our shopping habits to our health have been called “a new class of economic asset, like currency or gold.”  How will the Big Data revolution change education?
  • Teaching in the Digital Age: The rapidly widening array of educational technology tools stands to fundamentally change how teachers work. How does the role of the teacher change in an increasingly digital environment?
  •  “In Their Own Words”: An art gallery featuring students talking about their lives, education, and hopes, featuring the work of the artists at ListenIn
  • Ed Tech Showcase: A museum-like walk through some of the most exciting ideas and innovations in the education technology world

We are grateful to the sponsors who are making this Summit possible: 2012 presenting sponsor Target; contributing sponsor J.P. Morgan; supporting sponsors the Doris and Donald Fisher Fund and Pearson; and 2011-2013 anchor sponsor the Walton Family Foundation. (Please contact Anna Kurtz for information on sponsorships.)