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Uberblogger Russo Asks About "Group Genius" in School Reform

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Yesterday This Week in Education's Alexander Russo observed:

[M]ajor scientific discoveries often occur at nearly the same time by groups of different people, not by solitary inventors working in isolation as we've been led to believe. Not only that, but you can apparently gather supersmart folks together and come up with patentable ideas...

And asked:

Could this be done in education? Could a group of folks come together and invent some new solutions? Or would it end up looking just like any other Aspen Institute conference?

I say it's possible, and offer a market-based approach.

Consider something like a "reality based" TV show, sponsored by the Discovery Channel or PBS.

Take some number of education experts of diverse views.

Put them in a simple setting with only basic supports - an old fashioned Maine summer camp, for example. No real hardship, just nothing fancy and limited communication.

They cannot leave until they come up with unanimous support for three new school school reform ideas.

If they all stay through to the end, each will receive say $500,000.

Each time one leaves, that payment is reduced by some amount, with a $100,000 floor.

Anyone who leaves must walk out on their own, say 50 miles, and gets nothing.

Record the whole thing for subsequent broadcast (ok, narrowcast).

It might take a few months, but I think we'd get something after ideology broke down, and other factors came into play.

1 Comment

I think they'll agree on two things: first, they need a lot more money than $500K, and the number should go up annually; and next, how dare you issue a hard metric like requiring three ideas? You're limiting their creativity.

If forced to agree on a third idea, they'd probably have to start walking.

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