• By John Bailey
    May 12, 2011
  • By John Bailey
    May 12, 2011

    In case you missed the WFS National Education Town Hall, you can now watch it online.  The event featured Secretary of Education Duncan, Harlem Children's Zone CEO Geoffrey Canada, Rep. George Miller, NJ Governor Christie, Sen. Bennett, and others. Read more

  • By John Bailey
    May 3, 2011
  • May 6, 2011 - 3:30pm

    A flurry of activity by the Administration and Congress raised expectations reauthorizing ESEA in 2011. The President touched on education reform during the State of the Union and also made March "education month" during which he and the Secretary held a number of events to build support for reauthorization. Read more

  • By David DeSchryver
    April 12, 2011

    The first of many budget battles is now behind us.  The Democrats and Republicans fought it out about as long as they could, finally settling on nearly $40 billion in cuts across all agencies for fiscal year 2011 (FY2011).  Read more

  • 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.  

      Read more

  • 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

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