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Endorsements for Getting Smart

John Katzman, Chief Executive Officer, 2tor, Inc.

“Some people believe private industry has no place in education.  Getting Smart makes a persuasive case that private investment and innovation can and will transform schools for the better, and provides a compelling map for both educators and investors.”

John Danner, CEO, Rocketship Education

“Rocketship pioneered the hybrid school model, using a combination of traditional classroom and individualized learning to eliminate the achievement gap in a more efficient, sustainable and scalable manner.  Tom’s book does a great job of explaining how the next generation of charter networks like ours will provide the solutions to eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetimes.”

Elliot Washor, Ed D, Co-director Big Picture Learning

“We better get smart about Getting Smart. This is just in time learning that practitioners and policymakers need to implement. The sooner the better.”

Michael B. Horn, Executive Director, Education of Innosight Institute and coauthor of Disrupting Class

“Provocative and bold, Tom Vander Ark’s Getting Smart challenges long-held assumptions about education, points to why innovation will be so critical to enabling the education system of the future, and paints a vision of what learning could look like throughout society—and how we so desperately need it.”

Nelson B. Heller, PhD
President, EdNET/Heller Report

“This a refreshing overview of one of the biggest problems facing us in the US and of the strategies that can catapult us past it to educate the talent critical to our future. In the 25 years I’ve worked with countless education market firms and leaders, few can  match the vision, intelligence, entrepreneurial skill, political savvy, reach and commitment to making positive changes to education of Tom Vander Ark. He uses it all and more to write this prescription for moving ahead. It’s not rocket science or pie in the sky. It’s about unleashing the creative talent and constructive energy in our kids, teachers, administrators, parents and government with skills for the 21st century and beyond. US economic competitiveness? It ain’t hardly over yet. You won’t be sorry you’ve read it.”

Joel Klein, CEO, Educational Division, News Corporation

“Tom Vander Ark thinks public education ought to join the 21st Century.  In the visionary book about a new, and much more effective, way to educate our kids, he explains the potential impact of the digital revolution on education  — a learning transformation that is inevitable, even though it’s now still in its infancy.  Finally, an education reform book filled with hope, accompanied by a clear articulation of the way forward.”

Susan Patrick, President & CEO, iNACOL

“Tom VanderArk’s synthesis of the interrelationships between student needs, experiences, schools and opportunity through innovations is thought-provoking and “wicked smart”.  Understanding the rapid pace of change throughout the world and the dynamics the digital age forces upon the ossified educational structures in the United States reveals tensions that must be addressed by the nation to overcome the challenges to do what is right for helping today’s students.  VanderArk illuminates a pathway that is rational and intelligent – synthesizing the opportunities for adults to get smarter in serving our aspiring youth.”

Terry Grier, Superintendant, Houston ISD

“As usual, Tom Vander Ark is right on target.  Blended learning will change how and what we teach and how and what students learn.  Tomorrow has suddenly become today!”

Ted Kolderie and Joe Graba — Education|Evolving

“Tom Vander Ark’s amazing description of the “digital revolution” coming at American K-12 should get states acting to maximize its potential — perhaps generating autonomous schools free to innovate with the new technology. ‘Digital’ can personalize; helping improve both learning and the system’s economics. Legislators take note.


Vicki Smith Bigham, President, Bigham Technology Solutions, Inc. and EdNET Conference Manager, MDR

“Getting Smart shines a light on challenges facing the U.S. education system but doesn’t stall out there. Rather, it hones in on solutions and opportunities in front of us through digital learning. Tom Vander Ark is one of the brightest, most passionate and visionary education advocates in our midst with the gift of being able to organize key message points and paint a picture of exciting and engaging personalized learning experiences that will transform teaching and learning. Consider the shifts and drivers moving us towards transformation. Reflect on Tom’s predictions one, five and ten years out. Educators, policy makers and parents are considering digital and blended learning. Our young people are already there—it’s time the rest of us catch up! As Tom says, “The revolution is on.”

Myk Garn, Director, Educational Technology Cooperative, Southern Regional Education Board

“Tom Vander earns his merit badge showing us where the parts to the new learning ecosystem are. As William Gibson noted “The future is already here – it’s just unevenly distributed” and finding those clues to the future is hard work.  Fortunately Tom has done the detective work weaving together the fabric of the digital revolution that is going on already.  He shows how today’s innovations will link and become the transformative “killer apps” of the future.  He finds the leading edge – and finds much of it is being led by the learners themselves!”

Julie Young, President & CEO, Florida Virtual School

“Getting Smart is a must read for educational leaders.  It explores exactly how today’s students are different; how learning has changed; why, where and how we still need to change; and more. Tom Vander Ark identifies key drivers that are forcing change, and provides a detailed analysis of a wide variety of emerging learning programs, systems and products—all with the view of today’s new reality in terms of learning.”

Samuel H. Smith, Washington State University

“Anyone over 25, parents and educators alike will gain insight into the rapidly evolving field of digital learning and the very real world in which our children are growing up. In order to educate our children we need to understand the many opportunities in their world and recognize they are different from their parents.”

Kim Smith, CEO, Bellwether Education Partners

“Tom Vander Ark has dedicated his career to reinventing public education so that it serves all children, especially those who haven’t been well-served by the current system. Drawing on his experience in the philanthropic and private sectors, Vander Ark expertly illuminates how we can transform this antiquated infrastructure into a dynamic learning system that is more responsive to the needs of students, families and communities — and that is better able to prepare them for success in the global information economy.”

Kim Smith, CEO, Bellwether Education Partners

“We have a moral and economic imperative to fix our school system so that it prepares all children for success in college, careers, and life in 21st century America. Getting Smart lays out a blueprint for this crucial change that is equally accessible to policymakers and parents, showing how public education can meet the unique needs of all students by harnessing the passion of committed educators, the inspiration of visionary entrepreneurs, and the extraordinary power of technology.”

Bill Phillips, President, New York Charter Schools Association

“Getting Smart should be required reading for any budget-cutting state governor who also wants to get re-elected.”

Bill Phillips, President, New York Charter Schools Association

“School districts responded to the Great Recession by tinkering at the margins, and that will bring political consequences.  Getting Smart should be required reading for any budget-cutting state governor who also wants to get re-elected.”

Bill Phillips, President, New York Charter Schools Association

“School district model will still be bankrupt after the Great Recession ends, and that will bring political consequences.  Getting Smart should be required reading for any budget-cutting state governor who also wants to get re-elected.”