On Wednesday, June 24, 2015, AEI education scholar Frederick M. Hess and research fellow Michael Q. McShane hosted a major research conference on the topic of entrepreneurship in education. Convening several well-known entrepreneurs and education researchers, the conference featured nine new papers that examined the policy landscape of entrepreneurship as well as the advantages and challenges of innovation in education.
While many panelists discussed the dynamic changes that have occurred within education over the past decade (the explosion of charter schools, for-profit ventures, and so forth), they also cautioned against complacency and urged the development of continued innovation. Although entrepreneurship is not a silver bullet to education reform, it offers an alternative to traditional approaches, inviting people to tap their ingenuity in order to solve problems for kids and schools now.
The landscape of entrepreneurship in education has changed dramatically over the past decade. Charter schooling has exploded in size, with more than twice the number of students enrolled today than in 2006. And many of the ventures that have become familiar names in the K–12 world did not exist 10 years ago.
Does this growth mean that education has become fertile ground for problem solvers? What are the bottlenecks and policy hurdles that these entrepreneurs face? What is the effect of this kind of activity on students, schools, and systems?
We welcome you to join us at AEI as Frederick M. Hess and Michael Q. McShane host a major research conference to explore these questions. The conference will feature new studies and analyses by scholars and entrepreneurs in the education field.
Registration and breakfast
Frederick M. Hess, AEI
Panel I: The enabling conditions of entrepreneurship
John Bailey, Digital Learning Now!
Derrell Bradford, NYCAN
Ashley Jochim, Center on Reinventing Public Education
Dmitri Mehlhorn, Vidinovo
Michael Q. McShane, AEI
Panel II: Stories from the field
Ross Baird, Village Capital
Matt Candler, 4.0 Schools
John Katzman, Noodle
Deborah McGriff, NewSchools Venture Fund
Frederick M. Hess, AEI
Panel III: The big picture: Trends in educational entrepreneurship
Stacey Childress, NewSchools Venture Fund
Elizabeth City, Doctor of Education Leadership Program, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Jon Fullerton, Center for Educational Policy Research, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Gerard Robinson, AEI
Michael Q. McShane, AEI
Event Contact Information
For more information, please contact Sarah DuPre at [email protected], 202.862.7160.
Media Contact Information
For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.
John Bailey is the vice president of policy and executive director of Digital Learning Now! He cofounded Whiteboard Advisors, which provides strategic consulting for investors, entrepreneurs, and philanthropies. Bailey previously served at the White House as special assistant to the president for domestic policy during the Bush administration, where he coordinated education and labor policy. He has also worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was a top technology and innovation adviser to the secretary of commerce. Bailey served as the nation’s second director of educational technology, where he oversaw more than $1 billion in annual grants and research projects.
Ross Baird is the founder and executive director of Village Capital, which finds, trains, and funds entrepreneurs solving major global challenges. Over the past five years, Village Capital has supported more than 500 entrepreneurs in health, education, energy, agriculture, and financial inclusion through programs worldwide, and has invested in 50 entrepreneurs through an affiliated fund. Enterprises have created 7,000 jobs and raised more than $100 million. Before Village Capital, he worked with First Light Ventures, a seed-stage venture fund, and in the development of four education-related start-up ventures.
Derrell Bradford assumed leadership of NYCAN: The New York Campaign for Achievement Now in 2014 after more than 12 years of successfully building and shaping the education reform dialogue in New Jersey and other states across the country. Most recently, he was the executive director at Better Education for Kids, a 501(c)(4) organization supporting bipartisan education reforms in New Jersey. Previously Bradford spent nine years with New Jersey’s Excellent Education for Everyone as its executive director and director of communications, where he focused advocacy efforts on school choice, high standards and expectations, and financial transparency. While there he also served on Governor Christie’s Educator Effectiveness Task Force, which gave recom¬mendations on a new, statewide evaluation system for teachers and leaders. Bradford frequently contributes to education reform debates across print, online, and TV media. He also serves on several boards, including Success Academy Charter Schools, We Can Do Better New Jersey, EdBuild, and St. Anthony High School.
Matt Candler is the founder and CEO of 4.0 Schools (4pt0.org), an incubator of new schools, startups, and startup communities. To date, 4.0 has created 43 organizations by finding, coaching, and connecting aspiring founders across the US. Candler began his career teaching at Casady School in Oklahoma City. After teaching, Candler returned to his hometown to help stage the 1996 Atlanta Olympics as a member of the chief operations officer’s office. Following the games, Can¬dler helped local groups start charter schools throughout the southeastern United States. He also served as founding co-principal of a K–8 school in North Carolina. In 2001, Candler joined KIPP Foundation, where his team established 37 new schools across the US. In 2004, he moved to New York City to help found the first city-wide charter school incubator in the nation. Since inception, the New York City Charter School Center has helped the charter sector grow from 24 schools to more than 197, serving more than 83,000 students. In 2006, he moved to New Orleans to serve as the first CEO of New Schools for New Orleans, the nation’s first school reform “harbormaster.” He also served as chairman of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, helping it recover after Katrina to become one of the most effective charter advocacy and policy shops in the US.
Stacey Childress is the CEO at NewSchools Venture Fund. Before joining NewSchools, she led the K–12 Next Generation Learning team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, investing in schools and technologies that support personalized learning for middle and high school students in the United States. Before that, she was on the faculty of the Harvard Business School, where she wrote and taught about entrepreneurial activity in public education in the United States. Early in her career, she taught in a Texas public high school.
Elizabeth City is lecturer on education and director of the Doctor of Education Leadership program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. City has served as a teacher, instructional coach, principal, and consultant. She has authored or coauthored many publications, including “Meeting Wise: Making the Most of Collaborative Time for Educators” (Harvard Education Press, 2014), “Data Wise, Revised and Expanded Edition: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Assessment Results to Improve Teaching and Learning” (Harvard Education Press, 2013), “Strategy in Action: How School Systems Can Support Powerful Learning and Teaching” (Harvard Education Press, 2009), “Instruc¬tional Rounds in Education: A Network Approach to Improving Teaching and Learning” (Harvard Education Press, 2009), and “Resourceful Leadership: Tradeoffs and Tough Decisions on the Road to School Improvement” (Harvard Education Press, 2008).
Jon Fullerton is the executive director of the Center for Educational Policy Research at Harvard University. He has extensive experience working with policymakers and executives in designing and implementing organizational change and improvements. Before coming to Harvard, Fullerton served as the Board of Education’s director of budget and financial policy for the Los Angeles Unified School District. From 2002 to 2005 he was vice president of strategy, evaluation, research, and policy at the Urban Education Partnership in Los Angeles, where he worked with policymakers to ensure that they focused on high-impact educational strategies.
Frederick M. Hess is director of education policy studies at AEI. An educator, political scientist, and author, he studies K–12 and higher education issues. His books include “The Cage-Busting Teacher” (Harvard Education Press, 2015), “Cage-Busting Leadership” (Harvard Education Press, 2013), “Breakthrough Leadership in the Digital Age” (Corwin, 2013), “The Same Thing Over and Over” (Harvard University Press, 2013), “Education Unbound” (ASCD, 2010), “Common Sense School Reform” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), “Revolution at the Margins” (Brookings Institution Press, 2002), and “Spinning Wheels” (Brookings Institution Press, 1998). He is also the author of the popu¬lar Education Week blog Rick Hess Straight Up and is a regular contributor to The Hill and National Review Online. 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, USA Today, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and National Affairs. His edited volumes include “Educational Entrepreneurship: Realities, Challenges, Opportunities” (Harvard Education Press, 2006), “The Future of Educational Entrepreneurship: Possibilities for School Reform” (Harvard Education Press, 2008), and “Private Enterprise and Public Education” (Teachers College Press, 2013). Hess serves as executive editor of Education Next, as lead faculty member for the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program, and on the review board for 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, University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Rice University, and Harvard University.
Ashley Jochim is a research analyst at the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington. Her work can be found in the Policy Studies Journal, Politics and Governance, and Political Research Quarterly, as well as numerous edited volumes, including the “Handbook of Research on School Choice” (Routledge, 2009) and “The Oxford Handbook of American Bureau Bureaucracy” (Oxford University Press, 2010).
John Katzman is the founder and CEO of The Noodle Companies, an education enterprise focused on improving transparency and efficiency in education. Previously, Katzman founded 2U and served as its CEO and chairman until 2012. The company works with major research univer¬sities to create high-quality online degree programs. Before founding 2U, Katzman founded The Princeton Review, and served as its CEO and chairman until 2007. His writing has been featured in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and MSNBC; he has authored or coauthored five books; and he is a frequent lecturer and panelist. He sits on the board of directors of several for- and nonprofit organizations, including the National Association of Independent Schools, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, and Renaissance Learning. He has also advised or invested in dozens of education tech organizations.
Daniel Lautzenheiser is a senior analyst at Boston Consulting Group focusing on education. In this role, he works with education organizations ranging from K–12 school districts to universities on strategy and organizational issues. Previously, he was the program manager of AEI’s education policy studies department. During that time, he worked closely with scholars on a range of pre-K through higher education issues, including editing research papers on diverse topics such as the rising cost of higher education and the federal role in K–12 schools. He also served as a researcher on two iterations of the US Chamber of Commerce’s seminal “Leaders and Laggards” reports. He has written on a wide variety of subjects ranging from charter schooling to digital learning to higher education innovation, with his work appearing in Education Week, The Huffington Post, and National Review.
Deborah McGriff is a managing partner with NewSchools Venture Fund where she focuses on closing the demographic gap between students, executive leaders, and governing boards. Her advocacy and governance expertise have been used as board chair of Beyond 12, board chair and executive committee member of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, founder and vice chair of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, president of the Education Industry Association, member of Harvard Kennedy School of Government Program on Education Policy and Governance Advisory Board, and member of numerous charter school boards, including charter management organizations in the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame. McGriff’s impact in the education reform movement was recognized in 2013 at The Center for Education Reform’s “Before It Was Cool” conference and by her selection as a Pahara-Aspen fellow. She began her career in 1970 as a teacher in District 13 of the New York City Public Schools. She was the first female assistant superintendent in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the first female deputy superintendent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1991, McGriff became the first female general superintendent of Detroit Public Schools, where she successfully opened 25 choice and empowered schools. Crain’s Detroit Business named her 1992 Newsmaker of the Year.
Michael Q. McShane is a research fellow in education policy studies at AEI and the author of “Education and Opportunity” (AEI Press, 2014). He edited “New and Better Schools” (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015) and coedited “Teacher Quality 2.0” (Harvard Education Press, 2014) and “Common Core Meets Education Reform” (Teachers College Press, 2013). His commentary has been published in outlets such as USA Today, The Washington Post, and Huffington Post. He has also been featured in education-specific outlets including Teachers College Commentary, Education Week, Phi Delta Kappan, and Education Next. His academic and policy work has been published in Education Finance and Policy, the Journal of School Choice, National Affairs, and numerous white papers. He is a former high school teacher.
Dmitri Mehlhorn is a partner at Vidinovo. Previously, he served as president of Bloomberg BNA Legal, a Virginia-based division of technology giant Bloomberg LP. Before that, he spent seven years as the managing director at Gerson Lehrman Group, where his responsibilities included global research management, new market sales, and legal/regulatory affairs. He has also played a role in educational advocacy, helping found Hope Street Group, a 501(c)(3) national nonprofit focused on centrist innovation in healthcare and education; StudentsFirst, a 501(c)(4) focused on K–12 educational performance; and the Great New England Public School Alliance, a group funded by Michael Bloomberg and focused on electoral advocacy in New England.
Gerard Robinson is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he works on education policy issues including choice in public and private schools, implementation of K–12 standards, innovation in for-profit educational institutions, and the role of community colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities in adult advancement. Before joining AEI, Robinson served as commissioner of education for the State of Florida and secretary of education for the Commonwealth of Virginia. As president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, Robinson worked to ensure that children in low-income and working-class black families in several states and the District of Columbia were given the opportunity to attend good schools. Throughout his career he has evaluated the effects of reform initiatives on parental choice and student achievement, advocated for laws to improve delivery of teaching and learning, and published essays on how to make good policy to give all children a chance at a good job and future. A proponent of the importance of education to civil society, Robinson has spoken before audiences in the United States, in China, and in the United Kingdom. Robinson started his career by teaching fifth grade in a private, inner-city school. He is a member of many education-related boards. His issue brief for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools was cited in an amicus brief presented before the Supreme Court of Georgia in 2013.