More Than Just Schools: Rethinking the Demand for Educational Entrepreneurship

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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.

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About the Author

 

Frederick M.
Hess
  • An educator, political scientist and author, Frederick M. Hess studies K-12 and higher education issues. His books include "Cage-Busting Leadership," "Breakthrough Leadership in the Digital Age," "The Same Thing Over and Over," "Education Unbound," "Common Sense School Reform," "Revolution at the Margins," and "Spinning Wheels." He is also the author of the popular Education Week blog, "Rick Hess Straight Up." Hess's work has appeared in scholarly and popular outlets such as Teachers College Record, Harvard Education Review, Social Science Quarterly, Urban Affairs Review, American Politics Quarterly, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Phi Delta Kappan, Educational Leadership, U.S. News & World Report, National Affairs, the Washington Post, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic and National Review. He has edited widely cited volumes on the Common Core, the role of for-profits in education, education philanthropy, school costs and productivity, the impact of education research, and No Child Left Behind.  Hess serves as executive editor of Education Next, as lead faculty member for the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program, and on the review boards for the Broad Prize in Urban Education and the Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. He also serves on the boards of directors of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and 4.0 SCHOOLS. A former high school social studies teacher, he teaches or has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Rice University and Harvard University. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Government, as well as an M.Ed. in Teaching and Curriculum, from Harvard University.


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  • Email: rhess@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Sarah DuPre
    Phone: 202-862-7160
    Email: Sarah.DuPre@aei.org

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