Modern education reform has been driven in large part by wealthy amateurs, convinced that their expertise in other areas can be translated into education reform, rebirth, and revival. Some, like Nick Hanauer in his recent Atlantic piece andLarry Berger (CEO, Amplify), have stepped forward to acknowledge that they were wrong. Others just keep swinging and in the process discover that fixing schools is not as simple as they thought it was. Ventilla was thinking small, investing large financial and human resources, and even paying some attention to trained educators, and he still couldn't pull it off. Keep that in mind the next time someone with big business success but not education background announces that he knows how to fix everything.
Personalized Education Is Much, Much Harder Thank You Think
Personalized learning is one of the great new waves in education, promising that every student can have an individualized, customized education. Zuckerberg has been backing it, both with AltSchool and at Summit LearningCharles Koch has a new initiative focused on it. What is offered is almost always a version that cuts some corners, because full scale personalized learning would require a huge bank of resources and a great deal of human-hours to do the personalized design for each student. AltSchool had the resources-- human, technological, and financial-- and still had trouble making it work. This is not a complete surprise; a new report from the National Education Policy Center shows that personalized learning has a myriad of pitfalls. Keep that in mind the next time you hear someone announce that personalization is going to revitalize a local school district.
Business Is Business
AltSchool has shifted its mission. It's certainly within its right--maybe even its responsibilities--to do so. But keep that in mind the next time you're considering enrolling your child in somebody's business.
Originally posted at Forbes.com