Archives for category: For-Profit

GSV Advisors is leading the movement to bring investors into public education and to create new companies to profit from public education funding. GSV stands for Global Silicon Valley.

Who are they, you might wonder? Here are their leaders. Note how much they know about investing and building equity. Note how little experience they have as education professionals (none).

 

Here is what I previously described as a “field guide to the education industry,” produced by GSV.

 

Here are some of the partnerships they have underwritten.

 

The founder of GSV is Deborah Quazzo. She is also on the boards of KIPP, Teach for America, and other “reform” (privatization) groups. Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed her to the Chicago Board of Education in 2013 to replace billionaire Penny Pritzker. However, in early 2015, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the public schools had tripled their spending on companies where Quazzo had a financial interest (she said she recused herself from votes on those contracts). Demands for her resignation forced her to resign in June 2015.

 

In the movement to privatize public education, GSV is a national leader.

 

Several notable civil society groups have spoken out against the World Bank’s support for privatization of education in Africa, specifically Kenya and Uganda. The privatization movement gains in strength to the extent that governments fail to provide adequate funding for public education.

Private, for-profit schools in Africa funded by the World Bank and U.S. venture capitalists have been criticized by more than 100 organizations who’ve signed a petition opposing the controversial educational venture.

A May statement addressed to Jim Kim, president of the World Bank, expressed deep concern over the global financial institution’s investment in a chain of private primary schools targeting poor families in Kenya and Uganda and called on the institution to support free universal education instead.

The schools project is called Bridge International Academies and 100,000 pupils have enrolled in 412 schools across the two nations. BIA is supported by the World Bank, which has given $10 million to the project, and a number of investors, including U.S. venture capitalists NEA and Learn Capital. Other notable investors include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Pierre Omidyar and Pearson, a multinational publishing company.

In a speech delivered in April, Kim praised BIA as a means to alleviate poverty in Kenya and Uganda. Critics responded that many Kenyans and Ugandans cannot afford private education, further arguing that this type of investment merely supports Western businesses at the expense of local public services.

A section of the letter addressed to Kim asserts:

“We, civil society organisations and citizens of Kenya and Uganda, are appalled that an organisation whose mandate is supposed to be to lift people out of poverty shows such a profound misunderstanding and disconnect from the lives and rights of poor people in Kenya and Uganda. If the World Bank is serious about improving education in Kenya and Uganda, it should support our governments to expand and improve our public education systems, provide quality education to all children free of charge, and address other financial barriers to access.”

Opposition to educational neocolonialism

The statement reflects a growing global movement questioning Western policies pushing private education in developing countries. It was written and signed by 30 organizations in Uganda and Kenya and supported by 116 organizations around the world, including Global Justice Now and ActionAid. They claim BIA uses highly standardized teaching methods, untrained low-paid teachers, and aggressive marketing strategies targeted at poor households.

As this article in the Independent (UK) explains in detail, there is an exciting business opportunity in poor nations: developing and delivering scripted lessons at a low cost without government schools. The headline asks the central question: Is this “an audacious answer” to the problems of bringing schooling to the poorest children?

American investors think so. They like the idea of creating for-profit, low-cost schools where the lessons are exactly the same in every classroom, and the teacher is guided by technology to speak as he or she is told. This does not require credentialed teachers, and the training is minimal.

Charging $6 a month on average, Bridge InternationalAcademies, a multinational for-profit chain, is offering schooling about as cheaply as it can be done. Its founders hope to roll that out to 10 million children across Africa and Asia, the key to its own longevity and, it hopes, the global educational conundrum that has bedevilled policy-makers.

Bridge International now has some 400 schools across Uganda and Kenya. Investors worry, however, that the corporation “faces a potent threat to its survival in the shape of radical new teacher training proposals that would drive up the cost and put it beyond the reach of those that need it most.” The government of Kenya is considering requiring teachers to have pedagogical training, which would drive up the cost and threaten the entire enterprise. It would also signal to the world, says one investor, that no one should invest in Kenya.

Bridge currently enrolls 126,000 children; the profit begins when it reaches half a million. The market is promising.

Says the article: Bridge is arguably the most audacious answer yet to the question of how to bring education to the masses in countries where schools are plagued by overcrowding and teacher absenteeism. The lesson plans and script are prepared in the U.S., then delivered by technology to classes in Africa. Its teachers are “most school-leavers” trained by Bridge. School-leavers are what we would call dropouts, presumably high-school dropouts.

Step into any classroom at Bridge and the chances are that the teacher will be uttering exactly the same words that are being uttered in every single Bridge school. A handbook instructs the teacher to look up from the e-book every five seconds, to wait eight seconds for children to answer, and instead of asking the teacher to explain a mathematical concept, the lesson plan takes them through it step by step. “All I have to do is deliver,” said Mary Juma, a Bridge teacher.

While the scripted approach has earned Bridge acclaim, it has also attracted criticism. “It looks hi-tech, but it is really just someone following a lesson plan in a top-down way and not stimulating discussion,” says David Archer, head of programme development at UK charity ActionAid. “It is almost Victorian.”

While global studies of low-cost private schools have produced mixed results, Ms May is convinced that Bridge’s model works. It has commissioned independent evaluations that show children enrolled in its schools significantly outperform their state-educated peers in mathematics and English. The real test, though, will come in November, when a cohort of Bridge’s children will be ready to take the final primary school exams for the first time.

But here is the danger to investors:

Even as Bridge gets its chance to prove whether its model works, regulatory hurdles threaten to be its undoing. The Kenyan government is setting out new proposals that would radically recalibrate the financial calculations on which these schools operate. Most sweeping of all is a stipulation that half of all teachers in any one school should have a recognised teaching qualification and be paid accordingly.

As usual, it is those “wicked” teachers’ unions that threaten this bold and possibly financially rewarding experiment.

Here is another citizen-educator, Rob Taylor, a teacher of special education in Tennessee, who researched the Parthenon Group. Here he shares what he learned by speaking to the Knox County Schools Board of Education in February 2014:

“Is Knox County Schools’ vision “Excellence for ALL Children”? Or only the ones who are “more profitable than others”?

“Are OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS places where ALL students have equal access to the opportunities afforded to them by a quality, FREE public education for the purpose of furthering the public good, or are they places “where private investors can PLAY?”

“Those are shocking questions, but ones I was forced to ask myself when researching the Boston-based Parthenon Group, who as you know Knox County Schools is currently paying (with a grant from the Gates Foundation of over a million dollars combined with an additional $360,000 of local money) in order to conduct a “resource analysis” of our school systems assets.

“I have watched representatives from the Parthenon Group give multiple presentations before This Board as recently as this week, a hallmark of which has been exhaustive PowerPoint arrangements outlining various statistical analyses to support their upcoming recommendations. It is my concern that these recommendations will be little more than a justification for a predetermined outcome. Namely: the opening up of our School System’s resources to the interests of for-profit businesses and private investors.

“Members of this board have stated that teachers presenting concerns to The Board provide EVIDENCE that such concerns are valid, and I have provided each of you this evening with a hard copy of a DIFFERENT KIND of PowerPoint, created by Parthenon partner and member of Parthenon’s Education Practice, Robert Lytle, which was created a few years ago for presentation to potential investors.

“I invite you to review this at your leisure but also to notice a number of statements offered in this presentation:

“Page 2: Asks the question: “Where Can Financial Investors Play?”,

“Page 3: Promises “..big, high-profile deals” and “fertile ground for proprietary opportunities”.

“Page 4: States “deals are everywhere”, and describes the 23 Billion dollar per-year revenue streams available to investors from testing, assessment, and outsourced school management.

“And MOST DISTURBINGLY, on p. 13, the quote “All students are not equal; SOME ARE MORE PROFITABLE THAN OTHERS.”

“I wonder, which students are less-than- equal? My Special Education students in my Elementary classroom? Or maybe my own children and their first and fourth-grade classmates?

“I find it alarming that the quality of ANY CHILD would be determined by the amount of PROFIT their public-school education might generate for a third-party investor, and frightening that members of an organization which would make such a statement – in this case the Parthenon Group, would be involved in an advisory capacity or involved with ANY decision-making process at the highest levels of our district.

“Lest my concerns be dismissed on the basis that the PowerPoint I have provided you this evening may have been misconstrued or taken out of context, I would like to inform The Board of the content of the recommendations made by Parthenon in other school districts with which they have contracted.

“In Memphis / Shelby County Schools, the Parthenon Group recommended a reduction in educator salaries , retirement and health benefits, an increase in class sizes, and an expansion of so-called merit pay based upon standardized test scores.

“Similar recommendations were made by Parthenon for the Metro Nashville Public Schools, with the additional recommendation that certain student services, such as Special Education, be incrementally outsourced and privatized. Nashville began outsourcing special education functions in 2010 to the for-profit Spectrum Academy, a division of Educational Services of America.

A reader from Tennessee sent this comment:

“Well, well, Knox County Schools’ old friend The Parthenon group raises its ugly head out of the caves of East TN up to Chicago. In 2014 KCS Board of Education hired The Parthenon Group to do a “resource analysis” to the board about “improving “the school system. Parthenon made the usual recommendations – increase class size, cut librarians, counselors, etc- all about cutting costs. Some of us did a little investigating into Parthenon & presented this info to the school board in 2014. On the Parthenon Group’s website we located 2 presentations they gave to potential investors about money making opportunities in education. One of their prime examples for return on investment $$$ was Corinthian College. You may recall Corinthian’s fraud & its backdoor investor bailout by Duncan’s DoEd.

http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-signs-plan-protect-students-avoiding-immediate-closure-corinthian-colleges

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-corinthian-colleges-20140716-story.html#page=1

“Here is my speech to KCS BoEd made in March 2014 about The Parthenon Group.

“When I was much younger my Daddy & I went looking to buy a car. I decided on a car by first picking the one that was painted my favorite color and my Daddy always decided on a car by first looking under the hood. Thank heaven, I didn’t make the final decisions on buying cars for the family. I learned from my Daddy.

“After reading the Parthenon Group’s recommendations, our school community should should under their hood.

“Parthenon’s education group is made up of “entrepreneurial” consultants, mostly newly minted MBAs. It’s ironic that they would recommend disincentivize teachers in obtaining advanced degrees when 10 of them have MBA’s. Teachers are our children’s models for pursuing more education, not less.

“In 2009 & 2012 The Parthenon education group made 2 presentations entitled INVESTING IN EDUCATION. WHERE ARE THE OPPORTUNITIES & HOW CAN YOU CAPTURE THEM? and PARTHENON PERSPECTIVES : BALANCING OPPORTUNITIES & RISK, respectively.

“The target of these OTHER reports are businesspersons or business entities that want to start up a new for-profit school systems. Parthenon is selling potential profiteers happy fairy tales of “creative destruction.”

“Parthenon’s vision for their investors is what they envision for public education, including Knox Co Schools- that is, to kick public schools to the curb and take over via charters. The old public ed system will, like public utilities, be killed. And then–they’ll already be positioned to take over.

“Business types don’t like to be reminded of other unsuccessful “creative destructions” For example, how the death of public utilities spawned Enron.

“The long-term goal presented here is not to keep the public school system –it’s to grow for-profit schools to be much larger than the public system, then reduce public schools enrollment to those “less profitable” students.

“Note the questions slide 5: “How well can you supplement the management teams” and ” what is your experience as an activist owner? Translation: This is about business people taking over schools, and running them.
In the meantime, they can only suck up public funding through very creative “non-traditional” (translation: deceptive) strategies. Also slide 5.
Hence their question: “Will you do non-traditional structures? (non-profits…MINORITY INTERESTS! Getting rich while pretending to be a nonprofit–can you say scam?

“The one story of profitability & success is Corthinian Colleges. The more you read about Corinthian, the more slimy it is. Corithinain is currently under federal investigation in CA for fraud. Their stock price today is $1.55/ That’s a heck of an investment!! Their case here is so speculative and risky that you really would have to be insane or very ideological to do it. As an educator & a taxpayer I oppose hustlers like those in the Parthenon Group, who are eagerly inflating the next speculation bubble with breathless sales pitches

“Now, slide 11 from the 2012 pp points out how growth in the ed industry depends on a guaranteed failure mechanism, like the CC & PARCC- the testing delivery system for generation after generation of public school turnover. :“if Common Core gets teeth the achievement gap will get bigger.” Standardized tests have by design a lowest 5% of test scores every year.

“What kind of a person celebrates humiliating children to peddle investments? Only swindlers at Parthenon can “dispassionately” recommend increasing class sizes for Knox County’s voiceless poor and disabled children.

“Leading up to the wall St crash of 2008 a lot of traders who sold their clients derivatives knew they were selling junk. These Parthenon profiteers are definitely selling time-bomb edu-investments- cash in & leave while OUR children & taxpayers pay the price. We should be skeptical and demand evidence at every turn from these hustlers. Take nothing on faith. Look under the hood.

“Their business priorities are in direct conflict with the priorities of Knox County Schools, e.g. children, parents & education professionals. Cutting costs by Increasing class sizes & disincentivize teachers in obtaining advanced degrees is not an education plan. As an educator & a taxpayer I oppose hustlers like those in the Parthenon Group denying our children the education opportunities they deserve.”

Carole Marshall is a retired teacher who taught in the schools of Providence, Rhode Island. She was invited to participate in shaping Rhode Island “strategic plan” for 2015-2020, but soon became disillusioned when she realized that the designers of the strategic plan were going through the motions, pretending to listen to the public. Before they even started the process, they knew exactly what they wanted. They surveyed parents but ignored their strong wishes for schools that emphasized student creativity and self-motivation. The ultimate plan proclaimed what the planners wanted all along: blended learning, where students spend hours on a computer and fewer teachers are needed.

The strategic plan was produced by a California organization called “the Learning Accelerator.” The leaders wrote recently that the state’s plan for 2015-2020 was created by thousands of Rhode Islanders “through a process that is built upon the principles of transparency, engagement, empowerment and respect.” But in reality the public has been kept in the dark about what is really happening and why. The process was not at all transparent, and what looked like engagement was really a dog and pony show with a completely different agenda.

The “sole method” of this organization, Marshall writes, is to sell blended learning through disruptive innovation.

Marshall warns that the plan sounds good but it is not. Who will benefit? Not teachers or students, but venture capitalists and vendors of technology products.

Denis Smith worked in the Office of Charter Schools in the Ohio Department of Education. In this article, he points out the paradox of tasking a state agency with both promoting charter schools while supposedly regulating them. This is a conflict of interest.

 

This explains, he writes, why it was predictable that David Hansen, who was supposed to regulate charter schools, got in trouble for cooking the books to make the charters owned by Republican campaign contributors look good, even though their schools perform poorly.

 

Hansen, the husband of Beth Hansen, Governor John Kasich’s chief-of-staff, was put in place by the governor’s team to head the Office of Quality School Choice. His background, as head of the right-wing Buckeye Institute, famous for maintaining a database detailing the salaries for thousands of public school teachers and devoid of salary information for CEOs of national for-profit charter school chains and other privatizers, is now being examined by charter watchdogs as they discover a series of conflicts-of-interest that raise basic questions about his actions.

 

Here are a few morsels:

 

“Hansen and ODE were ignoring the big fish,” Stephen Dyer observed. “And that was, unfortunately, Hansen’s undoing. None of these crackdowns were against schools run by big Republican donors — David Brennan of White Hat Management or Bill Lager of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow — whose schools rate among the worst in the state and who educate about 20% of all Ohio charter school students.”

 

Plunderbund readers, in fact, were informed several days ago that Hansen is a serial data offender.

 

“This isn’t the first time Hansen has been caught altering charter school data to improve the image of these charter school operators. Hansen was President of the Buckeye Institute in 2009 when they put out a report on Ohio’s dropout recover schools. Similar to the current incident, Hansen’s group altered data to improve the apparent performance of the charter schools. The shady data changes resulted in “a dramatic overstatement of the graduation rates at the charters.” Many of the schools in the 2009 report were owned and operated by White Hat Management. Meanwhile, White Hat owner David Brennan was quietly contributing tens of thousands of dollars to the Buckeye Institute through his Brennan Family Foundation.”

 

Hansen was a cheerleader for charters who was supposed to regulate them. Never happened, never will happen,

Professor Yong Zhao is one of the most respected experts in the world on the dangers of standardized testing. I reviewed his latest book in the New York Review of Books. I urge you to read the book, as it explodes the myth that Chinese schools have mastered some secret methods of producing high test scores. Zhao shows in fascinating detail how those scores are produced, how they hurt students, and how they undermine creativity and individualism.

 

I recently received an email with a post by Emily Talmage of Save Maine Schools. She  warned about the big profits embedded in the revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. These days, we have become accustomed to the entrepreneurs and lobbyists who put their fingers into public education funds, stealing money from classrooms. The author was rightly skeptical of the corporate sales pitch for “personalization,” which all too often means that computers will replace teachers and students will advance at their own pace through scripted lessons. We have all heard tech companies selling product with the phony promise of personalization, customization, and individualization, when it’s all about selling software with a scripted curriculum and making money, not about meeting the needs of students.

 

But as I read on, I saw that the author accused Yong Zhao of being deeply complicit in the “personalization” claims and furthermore of being a profit-seeker. I was very dubious that this was true. I have read all of Zhao’s books and have found him to be a deeply humanistic scholar who is technologically adept. I found it hard to believe that he was promoting companies in which he was an investor.

 

So I sent the post to Yong Zhao, who is one of best informed critics of standardized testing.

 

He responded with the following comment:

 

Dear Ms. Talmage,

I read your post about the ESEA reauthorization with great interest. Thank you for pointing out the potential financial motives behind education policies and defending the interests of all children against potential damages.

However, your characterization of my views and myself in the post is inaccurate.

First, my view of personalized learning is not the one you criticize in the post. There are different interpretations of personalized learning. The version of personalized learning I support in the Department of Education’s Ed Tech plan is not the Skinnerian approach you point out: “students progress at their own pace, moving from one lesson to the next when they have proven “mastery.””

I myself have criticized such views and a blind faith in big-data driven Skinnerian approach toward education. For example, last year at the COSN conference, I questioned the value and promises of personalized digital learning driven by big data in a debate with Bob Wise, former governor of West Virginia and now president of The Alliance for Excellent Education (http://all4ed.org/), a DC-based non-profit organization that seems to an advocate of the type of technology in education you criticize (see its policy recommendations here: http://all4ed.schoolwires.net/Page/235). Some of the points made during the debate are summarized here: http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2014/03/cosn-2014-how-do-big-data-and-digital-learning-improve-education

I have also written about my views of education and personalized learning in various places; none would come close to the one you criticize. If you are interested, I just posted an excerpt of a chapter I wrote in a new book concerning personalized learning (the post is here: http://zhaolearning.com/2015/07/20/outcome-versus-process-different-incarnations-of-personalization/). You can also find my views of personalized learning and student autonomy in my 2012 book World Class Learners. The essence of my view of personalized learning is to enable each and every child to pursue education opportunities that enhance their strengths and support their passion. I don’t believe in the idea of a one-size-fits all curriculum and approach.

Second, I am not the head an online learning company. Oba is not an online learning company. It is not even a company. It is the name of an online collaborative learning platform. It is designed to support learning communities organized by students and teachers. It does not deliver curriculum or instruction to students. Teachers and students use it to create lessons and collaborate with each other. It is an initiative within the University of Oregon. One version of it is completely free and the other version charges a very minimal fee of one dollar per student per year, which is much less than most commercial learning systems schools pay for. More important, I have no financial interest in Oba.

Third, my praise for China’s moving away from standardized testing is not to promote the version of personalized learning you criticize. It is to show how harmful standardized testing is and that a country that has long practiced the approach is moving away from it.

Fourth, my “touting” of ePals is specific about its work and intention to provide online learning communities across different countries to promote student-student understanding and mutual learning, not about it as an “online learning company.” The comment was made several years ago when it was about launch an effort for Chinese-English language learning. I do not know what the company does now. I never had any financial relationship with ePals.

Again, thank you for standing up for children. I hope this message helps clarify my stance on personalized learning.

 

 

This is a comment by Billl Phillis of the Ohio Equity and Adequacy Coalition:

Follow the money-yes, tax money

Tax funds have likely made White Hat Charter school operator David Brennan and ECOT operator Bill Lager very, very rich. (Some out-of-state charter operators are also cashing in on Ohio’s Wild, Wild West charter industry.)

The charters, that these fine, civic-minded gentlemen operate, generally speaking, perform at a pathetically low level.

Brennan’s total take on tax funds for charters since the beginning is in the range of $1 billion. Lager has not been in the business as long but is within reach of $1 billion total. This is money extracted from school districts thus, harming school district students. This enormous financial drain from school districts would be more tolerable if their schools were outperforming school districts.

With their respective stables of lobbyists and their multimillions in campaign contributions, they leverage legislation which expands their charter school empires and profits.
Although they contribute a lot to political campaigns, these donations constitute a small percentage of their cost of doing business.

Plunderbund, in a July 7, 2015 issue, posted the donations that Brennan and Lager made to certain House and Senate leaders.

Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger:

$12,155.52 from David Brennan in 2014
$24,311.04 from Bill Lager in 2013-14

Speaker Pro Tempore Ron Amstutz:
$67,500 from David Brennan (and his wife, Ann) between 1998-2012
$30,000 from Bill Lager in 2010-12

Majority Floor Leader Barbara Sears:
$10,000 from David Brennan in 2012
$40,000 from Bill Lager in 2010-13

Assistant Majority Floor Leader Jim Buchy:
$31,543.70 from Bill Lager in 2012-13
Senate President Keith Faber
$32,156 from the Brennan’s in 2012-14
$25,500 from Bill Lager in 2010-13

This pay-to-play scenario probably explains why House leadership derailed HB 2 with Senate amendments. This derailed legislation has a modicum of charter reform, some of which would likely affect the bottom line of Brennan and Lager.

Why are Ohioans not outraged about these shenanigans? Probably because they don’t know about them. Inform your fellow Ohioans.

William Phillis
Ohio E & A

Ohio E & A | 100 S. 3rd Street | Columbus | OH | 43215

Have you every wondered what “Race to the Top” was supposed to accomplish? Did it mean that we would be first in the world if we opened more privately managed charter schools, closed down more public schools (especially in Black and Brown communities), evaluated all teachers by test scores, and adopted the Common Core standards? If so, that clearly didn’t happen. Did it mean that the states who followed Arne Duncan’s instructions most faithfully would surge to the top of the NAEP tables? That didn’t happen either.

 

Be it noted that a “Race to the Top” is a bizarre metaphor for education in a democratic society. In any race, only a few reach the top, while most are left behind in the dust. That would seem to be a repudiation of the principle of equality of educational opportunity. For sure, it throws the goal of equity away.

 

For those who want to know what Race to the Top was really about, we have it straight from the horse’s mouth. Joanne Weiss wrote an article in 2011 that laid out the big idea that animated the nearly $5 billion program. Weiss was selected by Arne Duncan to run RTTT. Previously she had been CEO of the NewSchools Venture Fund, an organization dedicated to supporting and funding charter schools and charter chains. After the RTTT was completed, Weiss became Duncan’s chief of staff. You can’t get much closer to the action than Weiss was.

 

Weiss’s article was published on the Harvard Business Review blog. She called it “The Innovation Mismatch: “Smart Capital” and Education Innovation.”  The problem she identified as most crucial in American education was the mismatch between capital and the culture of the consumers. There was little incentive to innovate when the market was so fragmented.

 

She wrote:

 

The capital markets that fund education innovation — both for-profit and nonprofit — are largely broken. When for-profit investors fund technology solutions, they naturally seek good returns on their investments. To deliver those returns, developers cater to the largest possible market: large urban and suburban K-12 districts.
Unfortunately, these districts are notoriously weak consumers. They often buy technology and pursue innovation based on relationships and networking, rather than based on effectiveness. Given the relative dearth of valid, reliable measures of student achievement, few innovative programs can demonstrate their efficacy – so why not select solutions sold by someone you’ve worked with for years, or buy the products that come with the best give-aways, or purchase from the company everyone has heard of? The result is a large-scale market of technological mediocrity. High-quality solutions do not rise to the top – and effectiveness is neither recognized nor rewarded.

 

To make the market attractive to innovators–both for-profit and non-profit–the market needed to be consolidated. There were too many “homegrown, fragmented, one-off programs.” The question was how to scale up the marketplace for innovation, and Race to the Top was the answer.

 

Technological innovation in education need not stay forever young. And one important change in the market for education technology is likely to accelerate its maturation markedly within the next several years. For the first time, 42 states and the District of Columbia have adopted rigorous common standards, and 44 states are working together in two consortia to create a new generation of assessments that will genuinely assess college and career-readiness.

 

The development of common standards and shared assessments radically alters the market for innovation in curriculum development, professional development, and formative assessments. Previously, these markets operated on a state-by-state basis, and often on a district-by-district basis. But the adoption of common standards and shared assessments means that education entrepreneurs will enjoy national markets where the best products can be taken to scale.

 

Thus, with almost every state using common standards and common tests, and with a massive data warehouse to track student and teacher progress, entrepreneurs would be attracted to work in a national marketplace, where their products would reach a national consumer base. This was the promise of Race to the Top and Common Core. It would enable entrepreneurs to market their products more efficiently and with greater success.

 

This idea was a first for the U.S. Department of Education. Never before was a major program launched by the federal government with the specific purpose of creating a national marketplace for entrepreneurs to hawk their wares to the schools.

 

 

 

 

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