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Imagine an entity that provides a critical service to the public and spends half a trillion dollars each year--but rarely asks or examines what consumers want. Rather, it relies on what analysts and experts think the public should want. It would seem impossible for such an enterprise to exist and remain solvent. That enterprise is K-12 education, where little or no thought is given to the study and understanding of the services that parents and educators want and need for children. This failure has fueled a bureaucratic, one-size-fits-all school system and hindered the ability of entrepreneurs to emerge and better target particular populations and needs.
Entrepreneurship in K-12 schooling has generally focused on efforts to boost the supply of familiar things: more good schools, more talented teachers, and more effective school leaders. Consequently, the best known and most celebrated endeavors have tended to be "whole school" solutions. Too often missing, however, has been careful analysis of how differentiated solutions or innovative tools might enable education providers to meet the demands for schooling in smarter ways.
AEI's director of education policy studies, Frederick M. Hess, and Bruno Manno of the Walton Family Foundation will discuss more promising approaches to entrepreneurship in teaching and learning with a roster of esteemed education leaders, entrepreneurs, and policy experts.