Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Entrepreneurs in Education

Fred Smith started Federal Express. Some people, including his professor, thought he couldn't do it. I've always marveled at the unknown -- at the time -- people being told they can't do something because, well, it hadn't been done before. As if the world is a finite, fully formed, always the same, entity.

Most everyone thought what he wanted to do was impossible—even the professor who gave him a C on the paper he wrote outlining the concept as an undergraduate at Yale University(the professor allegedly noted, “the concept is interesting and well formed, but in order to earn better than a C, the idea must be feasible”). Federal Express went on to become a successful shipping company that changed customer expectations by demonstrating that overnight delivery was possible. And the Postal Service responded by introducing similar services much more quickly than they would have otherwise.

That paragraph comes from The New Schools Venture Fund, which launched a white paper in 2005 on the subject of "Fueling Entrepreneurs in Education."

It's written by fund employees Kim Smith and Julie Landry Petersen and it's basically about the Entrepreneurs in Education territory that is getting increasing amounts of attention internationally and in the US, especially in the worsening economic cycle that we call 2008.

A pullout:

Green Dot Public Schools, a charter management organization in Los Angeles, designed its own employment agreement with its unionized teachers. These innovative new contracts are one-year contracts that can be modified as needs change.

Adaptability and something different. That breeds success.

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