A better, bigger, broader charter school sector—that’s what the U.S. needs to meet students’ needs in a competitive and interconnected world, this report says. Twenty-five years after the first charter law was enacted in Minnesota, the public charter school sector has helped spark significant public education improvements, particularly for urban students and students of color. But the U.S. lags behind other developed countries in student achievement, about 1 million students are on charter school waiting lists nationwide, and many student groups are still underserved by all public schools, traditional and charter. This report, co-authored by The Mind Trust and Public Impact, calls on all involved in charter schools to make the sector better, broader, and bigger in order to expand its reach and meet the students’ needs—which will require innovation that breaks the mold of most schools today. The report recommends various steps charter school operators, policymakers, city-based education organizations, and philanthropic funders may take to spur more innovation in the sector.
Entrepreneurship in K-12
This report, co-authored by the organization now known as Education Cities and Public Impact, profiles three high-impact city-based organizations that are taking significant strides toward reforming their cities’ education systems: The Mind Trust in Indianapolis, New Schools for New Orleans, and The Skillman Foundation in Detroit. Through these organizations’ efforts, the report identifies a core set of lessons learned for leaders in other cities: (1) Find the right leader or leadership team; (2) Embrace strategies and theories of change that reflect local markets; (3) Develop a bold, comprehensive plan for reform; (4) Grow talent pipelines; (5) Support a strong, high-quality charter sector; (6) Invest in innovation; and, (7) Engage stakeholders in the community to accelerate reform.
This report, co-authored by Bryan Hassel for Bellwether Education Partners, examines how technology can optimize the flow of investment capital to drive innovation in public education. As described by Bellwether: “Through an in-depth examination of investing and giving tools and platforms, and interviews with more than two dozen stakeholders, we discovered that there are indeed ways we can better leverage technology to increase and align funding for education innovations. By strengthening content, connecting technology efforts with existing face-to-face networks, and streamlining transactions, we can help create a more rational, evidence-based culture in public education that can effectively attract capital, steer it toward the best ideas and approaches, and ultimately improve student achievement and school productivity.” This is the final paper in the Bellwether Education Partners’ series Innovation for the Public Good: A Case Study of US Education, produced with support from the Rockefeller Foundation.
[pdf] Charter incubation is the process of intentionally building the supply of high-quality schools and charter management organizations by recruiting, selecting, training, and supporting promising leaders as they launch new charter schools. This white paper identifies and analyzes four critical focus areas for charter incubators: attracting and developing effective school or CMO leaders; partnering strategically to help leaders open and operate high-quality charter schools and CMOs; championing school leaders in the community; and coordinating advocacy to support new charter leaders. The authors distilled these four areas from research and discussions with members of the organization now known as Education Cities, an initiative of Indianapolis-based education reform organization The Mind Trust. The white paper discusses these focus areas and presents innovative responses by Education Cities members to the challenges of charter incubation in each area. This white paper is part of a three-piece series continuing the discussion from a National Charter School Resource Center / U.S. Department of Education conference exploring emerging city-based movements that embrace high-quality charters as an integral component of their reform strategy. On September 21, 2011, Joe Ableidinger joined Ethan Gray, vice president of The Mind Trust and director of Education Cities, to offer a webinar based on the white paper, Expanding the Supply of High-Quality Charter Schools: Innovations in Incubation, available through the National Charter School Resource Center at http://www.charterschoolcenter.org/webinar/expanding-supply-high-quality-charter-schools-innovations-incubation.
This webinar explores charter school incubation, a promising strategy for intentionally accelerating the growth of high-quality charter schools by recruiting, selecting, training, and supporting promising leaders as they launch new schools. Presenters discuss the need for incubation, the promise of incubation, and some of the early evidence from established incubators. They introduce the organization now known as Education Cities, an initiative of Indianapolis-based education reform organization The Mind Trust, and discuss the work that Education Cities members have been doing to incubate new high-quality charter schools. The webinar then details four critical focus areas for charter incubators as described in the companion white paper, Incubating High-Quality Charter Schools: Innovations in City-Based Organizations, and innovative approaches taken by Education Cities members in each focus area. Finally, presenters discuss five major policies that policymakers can address to support charter incubation, and how changes in these areas would help incubators.
In this report, authors Bryan Hassel and Daniela Doyle note that to improve upon the successes of entrepreneurial providers and raise student achievement, more districts and states must be willing to give new education services a chance. Districts, however, are hesitant to hand over schools and school functions to outsiders. The authors suggest that performance guarantees, similar to car warranties or a home builder’s bonded contracts, could provide an incentive for districts to experiment with new services by shifting risk from the district to the provider. The report explores a range of design issues that districts, providers, and investors could work through as they set up viable performance guarantees.
[pdf] A small number of highly-successful entrepreneurial ventures in education have begun to transform schools with innovative solutions that have extraordinary potential to serve students more efficiently and effectively. Yet federal, state and local policies often hinder these types of innovations. This report, written by Julie Kowal and Bryan C. Hassel and jointly released by Public Impact, the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for American Progress, and New Profit Inc., offers politically viable solutions to address these barriers. Read more…
Public Impact contributed to the development and launch of this new nonprofit designed to foster education entrepreneurship in Indianapolis (and beyond). One of The Mind Trust’s central initiatives is the Education Entrepreneur Fellowship, which will provide extraordinarily talented entrepreneurs two-year, well-paid opportunities to launch transformative education ventures. The organization is accepting applications for the first round of Fellowships through early 2008. The Mind Trust also operates a Venture Fund dedicated to attracting already successful education organizations to Indianapolis. The Venture Fund has already helped bring Teach For America, The New Teacher Project, and College Summit to town, with more in the works.