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4 Things Every Ed Tech Investor Needs to Know

Did you miss the 2016 ASU GSV Summit, which the New York Times calls the “must-attend event for education technology investors”? No worries — CER staff has you covered. Here are our top takeaways, from Brenda Hafera, Michelle Tigani, and Ted Allen.asugsv

1. Condoleezza Rice Reminds Us Why Education Is Essential

Condoleezza Rice delivered a superb keynote. She asked us to reflect on why an educated populace is so fundamental to maintaining our country’s national and the American Dream. The answer: because America is the experiment in self-government, education is crucial to our ethos. An uneducated populace is unable to govern itself, and therefore fails the demands of republican government. Smart words from a smart lady.

2. The Field of Education Is Ripe for Disruption

Presentations from tech innovators demonstrated how education could be the next Silicon Valley. These entrepreneurs highlighted the disruptive power of technology and its potential to transform this field. While policy initiatives can face pushback from special interest groups, invention and innovation aren’t subject to legislative approval. An idea is able to take root and shatter existing boundaries without asking permission.

3. Why Education Needs More Experimenters

Why is it that every field — from medicine to money — advances by trying new things, yet when it comes to education, all we hear are excuses why X can’t be done, why Y is impossible? This is exactly why ed tech is so important: because it compels us to embrace a mindset of experimentation. After all, progress doesn’t take place in a vacuum; it needs an environment that welcomes rather than rejects innovation.

4. The Essence of Innovation Isn’t What You Think It Is

Last week I met a thousand nerds who didn’t need data to sell their dream to me. Sure, it’s there,

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5 Takeaways from the Kemp Forum on Expanding Opportunity

On May 5, 2016, the Jack Kemp Foundation, The Center for Education Reform, the nation’s leader in advancing education opportunity, and Opportunity Lives welcomed Governor McCrory, Congressman Luke Messer, state and national policymakers, education and business leaders to the Kemp Forum on Expanding Opportunity, focusing on addressing upward mobility through education opportunity.

In case you missed one of the biggest education events of the year, here are five takeaways:

1) Innovation and opportunity are essential ingredients for education in this day and age. “Today, if you don’t graduate a learner, they don’t have a chance in this economy,” reflected Congressman Luke Messer.

2) Opening up opportunities and allowing parents more choices creates a ripple effect that uplifts the entire school system.

3) Allowing choices creates a huge economic impact on a community.

4) Personalized learning has the promise to nurture the potential of every individual student. But technology isn’t just about objects – it’s about how it’s implemented and operated.

5) We must work together to advance opportunity. It’s a matter of will, not ability, noted Rep. Hanes. Politicians have to get out into

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The Miseducation of CNN (And Bernie Sanders)

A question posed to Bernie Sanders at last night’s Ohio democratic debate was a missed opportunity to powerfully educate the public about charter schools.  Typically, information is power, but when the information is bad, all we have is mush.  Following is Sanders’ exchange with the questioner and Roland Martin, a well-informed media commentator with a passion for education: (with some of my own commentary sprinkled in)

MARTIN:  Since I have a brother and two sisters who are teachers, and one who is a teacher’s aide, let’s go to a teacher.  We have Caitlyn Dunn, she helps lead a charter school here in Columbus, Ohio.  She did Teach for America and saw the inequities in our school system, and she says she is undecided.  So, you got a shot.  Go for it.

DUNN:  Thank you so much for taking my question.  An article was released in the Columbus Dispatch Friday announcing the schools producing top student gains from around the state of Ohio.  Of these, one-third of those schools producing these results were charters right here in Columbus, Ohio.  So, knowing this, and also having similar narratives from across the country, do you think that charter schools are a viable way to educate children in low-income communities, or do you think that you would continue, as President, giving money to traditional public schools?

During this time, apparently CNN’s Teleprompter was miscued by an ill-informed editor, because rather than abbreviate the question correctly, CNN produced this bastardized version, suggesting that charters were not public schools.


Adding insult to injury, Mr. Sanders seemed to create a new class of charter schools, one that does

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