Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Suprising new data on the Achievement Gap

Jonathan Schorr, a Partner at NewSchools, spoke at the 2009 Stanford Business of Education Symposium on April 30. Central to his speech was the recent McKinsey & Co. report that places a $700 billion price tag on the education achievement gap: the difference in performance between high- and low-income K-12 students.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Parents revolt!

Learn how Los Angeles parents are working together to revolutionize their local schools. This video was made by a college student in support of Green Dot's Parents Union.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Can Innovation Drive Reform?

Stephen Colbert didn't moderate, but Dr. Roland Fryer an economist at Harvard University and director of Harvard's Education Innovation Lab participated in a plenary debate titled "Innovation as a Driver of Reform" at Summit. Fryer, a big proponent of innovation calls the achievement gap a civil rights issue and sees innovation as a way to drive reform. Right now he's working in Chicago, New York, and Washington, DC and is implementing a program that incents kids to do well academically--in Chicago at-risk students get $50 per class.

How do you think he'd spend $1B is about to spent by foundations and the US Department of Education in support of innovation?

Joanne S. Weiss named to lead Race to the Top

During a video-telecast speech at the 2009 NewSchools Venture Fund Summit, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that Joanne S. Weiss has been named to lead the $4.35 billion Race to the Top fund created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Race to the Top monies will be disbursed to help jumpstart student achievement by "supporting states making dramatic progress on...[education] reform goals...and effectively using other ARRA funds" (U.S. DOE web site).

Alas, this announcement is bittersweet for NewSchools. On the one hand, Joanne's selection for perhaps the most important and interesting role in education is sure to advance the federal government's important work on improving outcomes for all students. On the other hand, we at NewSchools are losing a friend and mentor whose brilliance, clarity, and vision have made all of us better than we were, and has served as a turbocharger for the work of America’s passionate education entrepreneurs.

For more information, please see our press release. And don't forget to follow the story on Eduwonk and Education Week.

David Kelley at Summit 2009

How can education entrepreneurs promote innovation in their organizations? During his remarks at the 2009 Summit, David Kelley demonstrated a human-centered design approach may provide us some answers on how we can balance execution and innovation to generate better outcomes for all students.

David Kelley, Founder and Chairman of the legendary design firm IDEO and the Stanford Design School will join us at Summit as the keynote speaker. Here's his talk from a 2003 appearance at the TED Conference where he discusses the increasing focus on user-centered design.

There are obvious parallels to education that can be drawn. The question is, how do we make it common-place but still continue to innovate?

Click here for another interesting article on David Kelley from Fast Company.

Celebrating innovation through dance...

Monday, May 18, 2009

CoP Update: Competency Models and Organizational Success

A competency model is a framework that identifies the key skills, behaviors, and attitudes required to achieve individual professional growth and, by extension, organizational success.

From 2003 to 2008, Google, Inc. grew in size from 1,000 to 15,000 employees. As a result, during this time Google faced difficult challenges vis-à-vis recruitment, skills development, and, in general, how to shape its young and inexperienced workforce into a pool of potential leaders. Yvonne Agyei, Google's Director of Talent and Outreach Programs presented Google's competency model and how it integrates with Google University to provide a wrap-around approach to human capital in a manner true to Google's corporate culture. Learn more about Google's culture by watching the video below.

Aimee Eubanks Davis, Teach for America's Chief People Officer, explained TFA's Human Assets Team and its Leadership Development System--a comprehensive approach to talent development. The LDS rubric is heavily front-loaded to help ensure that TFA hires the right person for any given position. Then, LDS leverages Individualized Development Plans to ensure that its employees develop the skills necessary to their future success at TFA. Click here to learn more about TFA's approach to career development.

CoP Update: Developing Leaders in Growing Organizations

What is leadership? What does it mean to be an effective leader? How do organizations develop those among their ranks to become effective leaders?

According to Jean Martin, Managing Director of the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), many organizations are unable properly to identify "high-potential" employees (those capable of becoming effective organizational leaders) among their ranks. Moreover, among those organizations that prioritize leadership development, most rely on false predictors of future success.

For example, one commonly used predictor of success is current performance. However, new data show that current performance is a poor indicator of performance at higher levels of the organization. According to a recent study conducted by CEB, 71% of high performers are not "high-potentials" due to inadequate ability, weak engagement, or insufficient aspiration.

For more information, please visit the Corporate Executive Board and CEB's Corporate Leadership Council online.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Closing the gaps

On May 19th we’re gathering to talk about the innovative processes and practices in education that will lead to the kinds of breakthrough results that eliminate long standing achievement gaps by income and race. Last month, McKinsey’s Social Sector office released this report on the devastating effects that the achievement gap has on the economy. Among other things, the report points out that the persistence of these educational achievement gaps imposes on the United States the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession.

Note: The managing director of McKinsey’s Social Sector work, Byron Auguste will join us in the afternoon at the Summit to moderate a discussion between Rick Hess and David Coleman titled “New American Standards and 21st Century Assessments.”

But there’s another challenge we’re also wrestling with as a nation: Closing the Innovation Gap. This aptly titled book by Judy Estrin, the former chief technology officer for Cisco Systems, points out that America’s science and technology industries – once emblematic of true innovation - are falling behind the rest of the world. Estrin walks through the tenets of an ecosystem that encourages innovators and offers ways we might reignite broad innovation. Can we apply this model to education?

Also, listen to her interview on NPR explaining the history of scientific innovation since WWII and even talking to a concerned parent about what the innovation gap means for his child.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Who’s the man behind design thinking? More on David Kelley.

"David is the kind of person you aspire to become. He's like a brainy Muppet. You want to hug him, stick by him, and support what he stands for. He doesn't wear a fur stole or sunglasses. He's like the guy you run into at the 7-11 getting a Slurpee. I like the idea that he's an anonymous superstar."

John Maeda, formerly the associate research director of MIT's Media Lab and now president of the Rhode Island School of Design

Read more about David Kelley’s own story and what those who have learned from and admire him have to say in Fast Company’s profile of our Summit 2009 keynote speaker.

While you're at it, don't forget to check out David Kelley's appearance at TED in 2003.

Learning about Locke

At Summit, you’ll have a chance to hear from Green Dot Public Schools—innovators working on the ground in Los Angeles to turn around one of the worst performing comprehensive high schools in the district. Read the LA Times’ ongoing reporting on Locke’s first year here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

NewSchools, on Facebook?

NewSchools is considering becoming a part of the Facebook community. We'd love to hear your ideas regarding how best to create our presence on Facebook that enhances our work and that of the greater education entrepreneurship community. Please leave us your feedback!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A new way of doing something

Innovation may refer to incremental, radical, and revolutionary changes in thinking, products, processes, or organizations. A distinction is typically made between invention, an idea made manifest, and innovation, ideas applied successfully. (Wikipedia)

It's more than just departing from the status quo, and beyond mere experimentation. It’s easy to call to mind breakthrough innovations that have relegated past ideas and practices to obsolescence, as the telephone did to the telegraph and the car did to the horse-and-buggy. We also know that crucial progress also comes from smart improvements applied to existing ideas: adding seat belts to cars has made major crashes survivable, saving tens of thousands of lives. As education entrepreneurs, it's important that we consider: To what extent are we living up to the expectations we’ve set for ourselves, and how to we challenge ourselves to do better?

    Tuesday, March 31, 2009

    A meeting of the minds

    Since 1998, NewSchools has worked to transform public education for underserved children. We have supported many of the nation's highest performing entrepreneurial organizations and continue to work closely with them to create systemic change. The NewSchools Summit is an invitation-only gathering of leaders from across the education, business, policy and nonprofit sectors. This year's theme is innovation and its role in education reform. We will explore how new ideas are shaping how we educate children and expanding our sense of what is possible. We look forward to engaging in a conversation about the ways that the public, private and nonprofit sectors should work together in the years ahead to dramatically improve our nation's public education system. Over the course of the Summit, we'll explore the following questions:

    • What next generation of innovations will be needed to support and expand the work of education entrepreneurs, and ultimately to realize the full potential of this movement?

    • What would enable the innovations this movement has established to reach further, grow faster, and continue to increase in quality?

    • What has to happen in order for proven entrepreneurial innovations to transform larger systems?

    • What policy environment is needed to enable and support significant innovation in education?

    • What can education entrepreneurs learn from successful innovation in other fields?