Educators are afraid to admit to others that they are unsure about the moral dimensions of their work, and as a result, ethical uncertainty is hidden away, unexamined as an opportunity for collective learning.
Long term, this type of competitive pressure built by ESAs has the potential to boost productivity by incentivizing providers to offer the best services at the lowest cost.
I'm certain there are many other great resources and groups that could be partnering with schools, but the public school sector isn't incentivized to build these collaborations and current funding models aren't primed for any kind of significant expansion of such partnerships.
It seems as if every industry has embraced some form of innovative new technology to create and deliver specialized goods and services. As I see it, education has four important lessons to learn from other industries on this subject.
How do we get more of the entrepreneurial impulse into schools? First, we have to help schools get out from under the mountain of regulation that restricts what they can do.
Advocating for a slow and steady growth of schools of choice is not nearly as satisfying as advocating for huge sweeping changes that might turn the whole school system around. But, slow, decentralized, and steady is the vision that I think has the best chance, over the long term, of creating schools and systems that meet student needs at scale.
If we actually take the time to understand people who think differently than we do, and don't just lump them hastily into a pile with all of the other people with whom we disagree, we would do a better job advancing the causes we care about.
I'll be taking a break this May to work on my new book, but in the meantime, I think we've once again assembled a stellar slate of great guest-bloggers.
It's worth keeping in mind the underlying rationale for educational entrepreneurship— that American education is in need of transformative improvement, and that it's easier to promote that kind of change by launching new ventures than by wrestling with the conventions of established systems.
In Shakespeare's Macbeth, when reporting that Cawdor died with honor, Malcolm observes, "Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it." It's too bad that Mr. Duncan didn't figure this out regarding his own departure from public office.