Funding

  • By John Bailey
    April 5, 2011

    HBR is running a blog series on innovation in education.  Be sure to check out Bruce Dixon's entry on gaming and Joanne Weiss's on smart capital.  

    Joanne's piece I found to be particularly thoughtful about how the the education market is broken.  However, based on some of our survey research, I think misses some key elements contributing to the problem.  Participants at theAspen Education Innovation Forum ranked the barriers as the following:  

    1. Procurement rules and regulations at the state level (54%)

    2. Procurement processes at the local level (48%)

    3. Bias against for‐profit entities (48%)

    4. Structure of the marketplace (43%)

    5. Regulatory and statutory obstacles (43%)

    6. Insufficient investment opps (28%)

    Download the whole report here (PDF)  

    I think Joanne is right that Common Core adoption will help in some ways, but mostly in lowering development costs.  However, it doesn't change the complexity of the procurement processes that districts and states have set up.  So a startup may not have to develop multiple versions of a product or service, but they still have to struggle with chasing lengthy and complicated RFPs with a small development team (sometimes only one or two people). Or the RFP process includes requirements that make it incredibly difficult for startups to compete, like performance bonds or state-based award preferences.  One recent RttT RFP including this helpful guidance: "All respondent materials must be packaged so that each box of materials shipped to the Department does not exceed 25 pounds."  Good to know we're cracking down on proposal obesity.

    Another issue not mentioned is that policy often contributes to the market brokenness by favoring non-profit providers instead of creating a level playing field for both for-profit and non-profits. We see this reflected in the legislation that limited I3 eligibility only to non-profits and the proposed Gainful Employment regulation that only applies to for-profit higher ed institutions even though many community colleges and HBCUs would fair no better under the same metrics.  

    The policy and regulatory environment exacerbates the market brokenness instead of helping mitigate the risk for investors and innovators, the way we see the Department of Energy creating opportunities for cleantech startups through loan guarantees, tax credits, and grants.  It isn't about giving for-profits an advantage as much as it is giving them the same opportunities as nonprofits to compete for funding.

    I'm heading out to the ASU Innovation Summit where these issues will be discussed on several panels.  Should be some thoughtful discussions and debates.  


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  • By John Bailey
    March 15, 2011

    POTUSSpeechPresident Obama issued his strongest call for ESEA reauthorization this year while delivering a speech yesterday at  Read more

  • By John Bailey
    March 15, 2011

    ASU and NeXtAdvisors are holding the 2nd Annual Education Innovation Summit in Scottsdale, AZ April 5 – 7, 2011. Last year's event was great and this year's is shaping up to be even better. Read more

  • By John Bailey
    March 9, 2011
  • March 1, 2011 - 2:00pm

    President Obama's fiscal year 2012 budget comes at important crossroads in both education reform as well as fiscal reform.  The $3.7 trillion budget request would reduce the deficit by $1.1 trillion over the next decade, two-thirds of which would come from spending cuts through a five-year freeze in discretionary spending. Read more

  • By John Bailey
    February 18, 2011

    The New York Times has a great interactive graphic of the President's 2012 budget request.  It depicts the size of the various budget components and if it is an increase (green) or decrease (red) compared to 2010 levels.  You can also isolate just the discretionary spending and zoom in for more detail.  Read more

  • By David DeSchryver
    February 13, 2011

    Politico reports that "[t]he White House plans to announce a slew of education initiatives next week in conjunction with the release of the 2012 budget, including a new iteration of the 'Race to the Top' program aimed at funding individual school districts rather than states. [...]

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  • By David DeSchryver
    February 10, 2011

    Wireless broadband for everyone and, yes, that includes rural locations.  If President Obama has his way, the US government will sell some wireless spectrum to make this happen and, along the way, reduce the deficit by an estimated $10 billion.  While such estimates rarely turn out to be correct, the sale of such spectrum will be exciting.  Now, how can education entrepreneurs and schools make the most of this upcoming opportunity? Ideas? 

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  • By David DeSchryver
    February 3, 2011

    The Federal fiscal year (FY) 2011 is not yet complete.  Congress should have completed it last fall, but that did not happen due to the elections.  Instead, the previous Congress passed, and the President signed, a continuing resolution (CR) that extended FY2010 spending levels for federal programs until March 4, 2011.  The CR provides Congress extra time, and funding, to review the President’s proposed FY2011 budget.   Read more

  • By David DeSchryver
    February 3, 2011

    Earlier this week, Whiteboard Advisors published its 2011 State Legislative Preview, commenting on the desperate attention to state deficits. Everything else, including education, is in the event horizon of this black hole issue. Read more

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