The private sector plays a big role in K-12 education especially in the four Ts: textbooks, testing, technology and tutoring.  There has been relatively little R&D spending in education, but most of the useful investment has been by the private sector.  Federal stimulus investments will accelerate efforts to bring quality to scale.  Berkery Noyes notes that “some of the companies that should benefit are those that:

  • Measure, track, and analyze student performance and teacher efficacy;
  • Deliver longitudinal data management and analytics solutions;
  • Strengthen the pipeline, preparation, and professional development of educators;
  • Provide innovative school models (e.g., charters, online) that offer options to parents and those students who are struggling or dissatisfied with traditional public models.”

Interest in informal learning and developing economies is drawing new venture and private equity investment into the learning sector.  I had breakfast with a well known VC firm that is active in post-secondary and that, like Union Square, will look at potentially disruptive K-12 investments. It’s also encouraging to see more double bottom line investors like Spark and City Light looking at K-12 investments.

The combination of public and private investment in learning innovations is going to make a big difference in the decade to come.

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