Virtual School Meanderings

November 26, 2021

This school year, it will take a village

As I say each week…  From the neo-liberal, educational privatizers masquerading as an academic body – so the term research here is used VERY loosely (as none of this actually represents methodologically sound, reliable, valid, or empirical research in any real way).

Check out this week’s highlights from the Christensen Institute. 
Christensen Institute · 92 Hayden Avenue · Lexington, MA 02421 · USA

November 23, 2021

Join us for our second session of What Investors Want with Clemens Feil from the IFC

While not one of their newsletters, the same advice rings true to these “learning” opportunities.  From the neo-liberal, educational privatizers masquerading as an academic body – so the term research here is used VERY loosely (as none of this actually represents methodologically sound, reliable, valid, or empirical research in any real way).

Dear Friends,

Last week we launched the first session of our new webinar series, What Investors Want, and we’re thrilled by the positive feedback we’ve received. Our pilot still has two sessions left, and I hope you’ll join us for both.

What Investors Want is a collaboration between the Christensen Institute and University of Toronto Entrepreneurship. In each session my co-host Efosa Obano and I interview a different investor to pull back the curtain on how they think about and make investment decisions, and tomorrow we’re honored to be joined by Clemens Feil from the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Clemens has nine years of investing experience, including at Neuberger Berman, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), and Bain Capital. He joined the International Finance Corporation  in August 2020 to lead growth equity investments in Asia. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group, and the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries.

We’re kicking things off with Clemens on November 23, at 12PM EST. To join Clemens’ session and stay informed about future What Investors Want sessions, please sign-up using this link.

I hope to see you there!

Efosa Ojomo
Director, Global Prosperity

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Christensen Institute · 92 Hayden Avenue · Lexington, MA 02421 · USA

November 16, 2021

Learning Pods Aren’t Going Away

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 11:01 pm
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An item from a business professor with little direct experience in education, but who believes free market economic principles are the answer to education’s (and pretty much all other society’s social) problems.

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Learning Pods Aren’t Going Away

Plus, what exactly is an OPM?

Learning pods were all the rage last year. But did you know that 1.5 million children are still enrolled in a pod or microschool, according to Tyton Partners, an education advisory firm?

At roughly 3% of the K–12 schooling population, that’s a significant number. And it’s not just upper-income families enjoying their benefits.

My latest piece at Education Next chronicles the research behind several pods that have had institutional backing—and suggests that this trend will outlast the pandemic.

No, I’m not convinced that 10 million students might be learning in pods or microschools in the next few years; that would be higher than the number of students enrolled in private and charter schools combined prior to the pandemic.

But if districts, parents, and private operators can maintain some momentum behind pods and microschools, their systemic impact could be significant as one more schooling choice in a broader sea of options than just one’s neighborhood school. Check out my latest at Education Next titled, “Some Pods Will Outlast the Pandemic: Students, parents say they appreciate the support.”

Where Are Students Learning This Year?

My piece on pods coincided with our latest Class Disrupted podcast, “Where Are Students Learning This Year?” In it, Diane Tavenner interviewed me about what we know about enrollment trends in K­–12 and higher education—and what it portends.

Diane framed the podcast in the beginning with an important statement: “I’m going to admit that as a lifelong public educator, I honestly have a really big blind spot about kids learning in places other than well, honestly in school buildings.” That was important, because as she and I discussed, we are all learning all the time—not just in schools. Perhaps the bigger trick is how to make that “outside” learning “count” in our formal systems of education.

To that end, I interviewed my longtime friend and collaborator Susan Patrick, president and CEO of the Aurora Institute, on my YouTube channel last week about the broader opportunities for transformation around competency-based learning, new ways of assessing student learning, and more.

I learned many things from Susan, but one that I’ll highlight here is this: States often say they have many policies that allow for waivers from seat-time requirements and pave the way for mastery-based learning. But educators are busy people (yes, that’s an understatement). If they must jump through bureaucratic hoops and spend precious time investigating and applying to take advantage of those waivers, most won’t take advantage of them. States need a more robust set of policies that allow competency-based learning to be the default mode of operating. Check out the conversation, “A New Dawn for Every Learner,” here.

OPMs Explained

Finally, on Future U, Jeff Selingo and I aired a very different kind of episode this past week. In “Higher Ed 101: What’s An OPM?” we sat down with edtech analyst Phil Hill, cofounder of Mind Wires and author of a terrific blog, PhilOnEdTech. OPMs—or online program management companies—are a hot topic in higher education right now. They’ve come under increasing scrutiny from policymakers and have been featured in many stories in outlets like the Wall Street Journal.

The purpose of the episode is to do a deep dive on what precisely an OPM is to try and get beyond the jargon of education. We intend to start doing a few more of these with other terms concepts in higher education. So after listening, let us know what you think.

Thanks as always for reading, writing, and listening.

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November 15, 2021

Don’t miss our first session of What Investors Want with Lise Birikundavyi from Black Innovation Capital

While not one of their newsletters, the same advice rings true to these “learning” opportunities.  From the neo-liberal, educational privatizers masquerading as an academic body – so the term research here is used VERY loosely (as none of this actually represents methodologically sound, reliable, valid, or empirical research in any real way).

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow we’ll be launching the first session of a new webinar series we’re piloting, What Investors Want.

What Investors Want is a collaboration between the Christensen Institute and University of Toronto Entrepreneurship. In each session my co-host Efosa Obano and I will interview a different investor to pull back the curtain on how they think about and make investment decisions, and we’re thrilled to kick things off with Lise Birikundavyi at 12 PM EST on November 16th.

Lise Birikundavyi is the Principal and Fund Manager for Black Innovation Capital, a $10 million CAD venture capital fund that invests in Black-led tech start-ups. She is the first Black woman to head a venture capital fund backed by an institutional investor in Canada.

To join Lise’s session and stay informed about future What Investors Want sessions, please sign-up using this link.

I hope to see you there!

Efosa Ojomo
Director, Global Prosperity

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Christensen Institute · 92 Hayden Avenue · Lexington, MA 02421 · USA

November 12, 2021

The real opportunity of a lifetime: Invest federal funds in families to help students of color thrive

As I say each week…  From the neo-liberal, educational privatizers masquerading as an academic body – so the term research here is used VERY loosely (as none of this actually represents methodologically sound, reliable, valid, or empirical research in any real way).

Check out this week’s highlights from the Christensen Institute. 
Christensen Institute · 92 Hayden Avenue · Lexington, MA 02421 · USA
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