Stimulating Excellence: Unleashing the Power of Innovation in Education
Center for American Progress, American Enterprise Institute, New Profit Inc., and Public Impact
This policy brief aims to illuminate the processes by which we can go about encouraging innovation to flourish, and in the process, hopes to exhibit the bipartisan nature of innovation in education reform. The authors surveyed a group of prominent education-reform entrepreneurs--e.g., Wireless Generation, The New Teacher Project, and New Schools Venture Fund--to glean their insights on the challenges and possibilities of entrepreneurship in this domain. They combined the survey results with their own good sense and found themselves agreeing--sadly--that inflexible bureaucracies, inaccessibility of capital, and a limited supply of talent typically work in tandem to stifle the creation and growth in this sector. Solutions are varied and broad: using better information to create a performance-oriented school culture, opening public education to multiple providers, making school districts into true "customers" by encouraging service providers to compete for business, and using public dollars to encourage these ventures. The report illustrates what each of these broad recommendations might look like in practice on all three levels of government. For example, to turn districts and other education providers into customers, federal officials might incentivize the wise and cost-efficient use of dollars, state policymakers can create standards for service vendors and revise funding formulae so that dollars follow the child (an idea we've also promoted), and districts can speed up the buying cycle by conducting audits and other transparency measures after services are purchased, rather than before. Opening up the system to innovative movers-and-shakers is a promising way to accelerate reform and we're heartened that analysts from across a broad swath of the political spectrum agree. Read more here.
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