Skip to content

Andrew Coulson: Innovation in Education

Andrew Coulson, author of the highly recommended Market Education: The Unknown History has a three video series on innovation in education.

From the program description:

“With the great inventions of the Industrial Revolution in the 17th century, productivity rose dramatically — and the innovations behind it spread like wildfire. But not so in education. In those early years, education was controlled by parents, but Horace Mann championed efforts to put education into the hands of state-appointed experts and state-trained teachers. And so, universal public education in America was born.

The documentary flashes forward to East Los Angeles, and a modern story of what happened when Jaime Escalante, a gifted math teacher at Garfield High, and the educational excellence he created in the classroom became the basis of the Hollywood movie, Stand and Deliver. Finally, Coulson travels to Seoul, South Korea, where college-bound students eagerly enroll in after school tutoring programs called “Hagwons.” Students and administrators tell us how well it works, and one professor declares he makes more than a million dollars in salary every year.

In “The Price of Excellence,” the first episode of School, Inc., the late Andrew Coulson, senior fellow of education policy at Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom, explores the industry of education, its history, the politics that sometimes impede the growth of good schools – and good teachers — and the rise of entrepreneurial educators.”

***

From the program description:

“Education policy analyst Andrew Coulson travels to Michigan’s prestigious Cranbrook High School, one of the top ten private high schools in America, in “Push or Pull,” the second episode of School, Inc. Cranbrook — and other excellent private schools in America –typically don’t “scale-up” to replicate their excellence on a larger scale and serve more students. So, is there someplace else where scaling up excellence is happening? The answer is “yes” and it is in America’s charter schools.

But when charter schools compete with public schools, there is often trouble ahead. From those involved we hear how the Sabis School, tremendously successful in Springfield, Massachusetts, was prevented from operating in nearby Brockton, because a school superintendent decided such excellence was simply not in the best interest of his public school.

For six years the American Indian Charter School, part of a small network of California charter schools, ranked among the top middle schools in California. But in the spring of 2013 the Oakland Public School District voted to shut down all three American Indian Schools, because the charter school had chosen to use its own special education services, and not those controlled by the state; that resulted in a loss of revenue to the public school system.

Not every story has a negative outcome. When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the city’s vibrant charter schools came to the rescue, and provided the facilities and services which other schools needed to get back on their feet. Finally, Coulson travels to South America, for a comparison of how the success of Chile’s wine industry sets the scene for the growth of the country’s successful private school networks.

Chile’s private schools consistently outperform schools in all other Latin American countries, but trouble is always on the horizon. Still the private school networks of Chile provide a note of optimism in Andrew Coulson’s journey to discover the secrets of School, Inc.”

***

“Ten years after Chile reformed its education system, Sweden followed suit, and so Sweden is Andrew Coulson’s first stop in episode three of School, Inc. All private schools in Sweden are now fully tax supported, and parents can choose between these so-called “free” schools and the local public schools.

The global journey continues, visiting highly successful private schools in Sweden, London and India, where the resistance to education as a business has lessened. Coulson is joined by the administrators of these schools to examine the secrets of their success, learning that some of India’s highly successful private schools serve eager poor students and parents at little more than a dollar a week. School, Inc. comes full circle to conclude in the English countryside where the Industrial Revolution began. Then as now, Coulson suggests, education was perhaps the only field in which successful entrepreneurship was not celebrated”

Coulson concludes:

“What if we allowed all education entrepreneurs to put their own money on the line in an effort to better serve us, gaining or losing just as entrepreneurs do in other fields? And what if we made sure that everyone had access to that wide-open marketplace? Would we then see excellence scale-up in education?”

Such an effort is in fact occurring with Higher Ground Education, an entrepreneurial effort, that has scaled to the largest private Montessori school Inc. in the country.

Recommend Reading: Market Education: The Unknown History by Andrew Coulson

Spread the love
Tags:

Voice of Capitalism

Free email weekly newsletter.

You have Successfully Subscribed!