Should we be giving philanthropically at all if we want to create lasting change?
May 2016 Archives
Prior to graduate school, I worked as an undergraduate admission officer at Stanford, and was struck by the parallels between the elite admission and philanthropy worlds.
At a billion-dollar bet level, however, are apps the best solution for philanthropists to pursue in early childhood education?
A new wave has hit education reform: hacker philanthropy. As Sean Parker describes it, it's "a desire to 'hack' complex problems using elegant technological and social solutions." But is it the best way to conduct education philanthropy?
I truly believe that most people in education truly are committed to equity, to fairness, to expanding opportunities for all children. The problem is that it is challenging to figure out what these values mean in practice, in various contexts.
In the case of school closure disputes, we need to ask: which claims of injustice, by whom, require response?
In many under-resourced schools serving struggling students and families, it can be a time for agonizing decisions about whom to graduate and whom to retain that seem to admit no good practical or ethical answer. What would you do in this situation?
Which of Donald Trump's outrageous statements, if any, should teachers teach their students to reject outright as a matter of principle, and which should they encourage students to treat as legitimately controversial?
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.