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Educational entrepreneurship
A panel discussion during “The State of Entrepreneurship in K-12 Education,” a conference hosted Wednesday at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. Credit: Nicole Dobo

WASHINGTON, D.C. – There is little doubt that a startup-style culture has bloomed as the latest fashion in many of the nation’s school districts.

And with it comes a need to assess whether these innovations are more than just a fad.

Nine reports on educational entrepreneurship – some with amusing titles – were presented Wednesday at a conference at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning research organization in Washington, D.C. They offer insider perspectives on the last decade of innovation and predictions for what could – or should – come next. The papers were a follow-up to a 2006 book edited by Rick Hess, director of education policy studies at the institute.

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The conference was live-streamed to the public. Virtual and in-person attendees asked questions and posted quotes from the panel discussions, marked with a Twitter hashtag, #AEIedEntrep. The social media conversation gained enough traction to make it onto Twitter’s “trending topics” list, sandwiched between chatter about entertainer Rick Ross and presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal.

Here’s a list of the report names and a link to the full text of each document.

  1. Carrots, Sticks, and Sermons: How Policy Shapes Educational Entrepreneurship,” by Ashley Jochim, Center on Reinventing Public Education, University of Washington.
  2. Unleashing Entrepreneurial Energy to Transform Education,” by John Bailey, of Digital Learning Now.
  3. Barbarians at the Gate? How Venture Finance Might Evolve to Support Disruptive K-12 Innovation,” by Dmitri Mehlhorn, of Vidinovo.
  4. Ten for Ten: Lessons for the Next Decade of Education Entrepreneurship,” by Ross Baird and Daniel Lautzenheiser, of Village Capital and Boston Consulting Group.
  5. A Civil Education Marketplace,” by John Katzman, of Noodle.
  6. Education Entrepreneurship since the Turn of the Century and Where It Might be Headed Next,” by Stacey Childress, of NewSchools Venture Fund.
  7. Entrepreneurship as a Matter of Practice,” by Elizabeth City, of the Doctor of Education Leadership Program, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
  8. Go Small or Go Home: Innovation in Schooling,” by Matt Candler of 4.0 Schools.
  9. But Does It Work? Evaluating the Fruits of Entrepreneurship,” by Jon Fullerton, of the Center for Education Policy Research at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

This story was written by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Sign up for our newsletter to get a weekly update on blended learning.

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