5 Myths About the Common Core

5 Myths About the Common Core

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative has been in the spotlight recently, mainly because of the negative press surrounding the timing of implementing the standards, the challenges of the new and online assessments, and concerns over local education control. Despite the controversy, the adoption of Common Core will level the playing field for edtech startups entering the education market compared to the current incumbents. In a world with 50 different sets of state standards, it is much harder for smaller enterprises to compete. If your startup supports the Common Core, a much larger market will be available.

Here are some important things to keep in mind about the Common Core as you build your edtech startup:

Myth 1: It’s a Federal Initiative

The CCSS, despite common misconception, is not a federally organized initiative. The standards were developed with the sponsorship of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The initiative was wholly adopted by 44 states, Washington D.C., and four US territories. States not adopting the standards include Alaska, Indiana, Minnesota (which adopted only the English Standards), Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia, as well as Puerto Rico. Political turmoil around the Common Core is expected to continue as states work on aligning school curriculum to the new standards. Some states are changing the summative assessments they will use. Some states like Pennsylvania, which have said they are moving away from the Common Core, are actually only changing some parts of the standards.

Myth 2: The National Education Association (NEA) Doesn’t Support it

The National Education Association fully endorses the Common Core. According to a recent NEA poll, 75% of members supported the initiative outright or with some reservation. Though some educators have fears about it, many are excited about its tighter focus on content and emphasis on critical thinking. Educators want to receive the professional development necessary to enable them to work with their students to achieve the new standards.

Myth 3: The Curriculum Won’t Help Disadvantaged Students

When CCSS is fully implemented, the standards will help ensure that all students, no matter where they live, are expected to meet the same standards and graduate with the same preparedness for college or a career. Today, students in states with lower standards are told they are proficient, but find that they are not prepared for college or a career when they graduate from high school. One CCSS objective is to reduce the number of students requiring remedial work in post-secondary education.

Myth 4: Teachers are Forced to Teach a Certain Way

Though the standards define the overall outcomes that are expected of students, they do not define the curriculum or the scope and sequence of instruction. Teachers can present the material in any way they like, as long as the students are able to demonstrate their learning.

Myth 5: Publishing Giants Don’t Care

Educational content and tests are still being developed by the incumbent publishers, including Pearson, Educational Testing Service, and McGraw-Hill. The major publishers still have a big stake in continuing to develop content and assessments for schools. Pearson and the ACT have partnered to offer an alternative summative assessment with PARCC and Smarter Balance.  The Common Core State Standards are likely to be a large enough change, however, to provide an opportunity for competition. The Gates Foundation report ‘Teachers Know Best’ outlines the areas in which teachers believe they need more innovative curricular materials to meet the demands of the Common Core.

Closing the Digital Divide

computer cords
Seventy two percent of U.S. schools have slow, out-of-date internet access, or worse, none at all. As technology continues to infiltrate classrooms, this is becoming a serious issue. Broadband internet has become an integral part of a student’s educational experience, yet many children do not have access to it at school or in their home.

The term digital divide is used to describe the growing gap between those who have access to the most revolutionary technological advancement in recent history, also known as the internet, and those who do not. This divide is often attributed to economic or geopolitical issues, but is often overlooked in the U.S. school system.

The internet continues to be an increasingly valuable and necessary resource for a student’s success. Students in schools without access to broadband are unable to access cutting edge, web-based learning tools. They also don’t have a chance to strengthen their computer literacy skills, which will benefit them far beyond the classroom.

A group of Silicon Valley billionaires have attempted to address this problem by investing in the non-profit EducationSuperHighway to help schools bridge this technology gap. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Startup:Education fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with several other foundations and education entities, have collaborated to provide $9 million in funding to the non-profit. EducationSuperHighway’s goal is to provide broadband to the 40 million students in schools without adequate internet access, one of the most important tools in a student’s learning.

They are not the only ones that want to support students’ 21st century learning needs. Earlier this year, President Obama stated that his goal is for all K-12 schools in the United States to be connected to high-speed internet within five years. Additionally, the President wants to reconstruct the nation’s E-rate initiative, a $2.4 billion federal program to bring every school and library in America into the information age.

By 2020, EducationSuperHighway CEO Evan Marwell expects they will be able to identify which schools need upgrading and secure the funding from E-rate to make the necessary broadband and wifi upgrades that schools so desperately need.

Other organizations, such as Internet.org, are trying to bring affordable internet access to those who don’t have it worldwide. According to the organization, which Mark Zuckerberg also supports, two thirds of the world’s population doesn’t currently have access to the internet. Internet.org is trying to bridge this gap by bringing together technology leaders, nonprofits, local communities and experts.

EducationSuperHighway is only a small step toward bridging the digital divide, but many believe the internet plays a vital role in education, both nationally and worldwide.

According to Mark Zuckerberg, “The future of our economy and society depends largely on the next generation using and building new online tools and services, and I’m glad to support EducationSuperHighway.”

The Effectiveness of Tablets in the Classroom

The Effectiveness of Tablets in the Classroom

An estimated 66% of students use a computer or tablet to do homework or study, and this number is only going to grow. One of the most noticeable changes in the education market is the increasing inclusion of tablets in schools.

Apple’s iPad alone reportedly accounts for 94% of the tablet market in schools. In the fourth quarter last year, Apple sold over $1 billion in products to U.S. schools. However, tech giants Samsung and Microsoft also have a growing presence in the market. The most recent contender to enter the tablet wars is Google’s Nexus 7, which was released last summer and complements the Google Play for Education app store.

Although tablets are generating a lot of buzz in classrooms nationwide, do they live up to the hype? Is there any measurable proof that using a tablet over a textbook will improve a student’s learning habits? A recent pair of studies suggest that tablets may actually improve study habits among students.

The studies are a part of the Making Learning Mobile project, which aims to provide quantifiable measurement of the benefit of mobile technology in education. The study, sponsored by wireless service provider Kajeet and conducted by Project Tomorrow, provided two Virginia schools (one elementary and one middle school) with Android HTC Evo tablets for the duration of the 2012-13 school year. In addition to tablets, students were also provided with wireless internet service both at school and in their homes.

The study aimed to show how using tablets to communicate with teachers and classmates effectively extends the learning day and allows students to develop the digital skills needed to retain classroom knowledge. Researchers closely followed student activity over the course of the school year. The study found that not only were students more inclined to use the tablets in class and at home, but also that tablets changed the students’ learning behaviors.

Students were more engaged in class when using their devices, communicated more with their teachers, and were better able to complete assigned tasks. Before the students were given tablets, only 39% of students accessed the internet at school on a weekly basis. By the end of the year in which the study was conducted, researchers found that 88% of students said they accessed the internet at school weekly, and 35% did so daily.*

The future of tech in education has promise. Concrete data of the benefit tablets provide for teachers and students shows we are heading in the right direction. The increasing demand for tablets in the classroom is not only a way for tech giants to make billions, but also a way to effectively increase student learning. It will be interesting to see how long tablets are the norm before they are disrupted by something new.

*See slide 32

7 New Year’s Resolutions for Edtech Startups

7 New Year’s Resolutions for Edtech Startups

Over the past 12 months, edtech has emerged as a growing, and even profitable, industry poised to change the future of education. In Boston, we have seen explosive growth, from major acquisitions (like Amazon’s purchase of TenMarks) to popular products (like Tiggly’s shapes for the iPad, which are now in Apple retail stores).

2014 promises to be another big year for the edtech industry. We have exciting plans to support our growing community, including our winter conference Across Boundaries: How Can Edtech Scale Student Success?, an edtech job fair, and a class series on business development.

As our community continues to grow, and more startups learn what it takes to be successful, we have come up with seven resolutions to help edtech startups begin the new year on the right track:

1. Eat Your Customers for Breakfast
When you’re first starting out, you may think your idea is a game-changer and every educator, parent, and student in America will immediately pay hundreds of dollars for it. The reality is that you need to talk to your customers over and over and over again to discover what their real pain points are and how your product might make their lives easier. If you have already begun to sell your product, ask your customers why they are buying it and work to improve their user experience.
Role Models: Gradeable, BetterLesson, Playrific

2. Always Be Selling
Founders of edtech companies often choose to start a company in this industry because of their passion for education and intense desire to improve it. However, this zeal isn’t always apparent when these founders speak about themselves, what their companies do, or their founding story. It’s not enough to live and breathe blended learning and LMSs – you also need to be able to convince others to do the same.
Role Models: Brent Grinna of EverTrue, Teddy Rice of Ellevation Education, Kellian Adams of Green Door Labs

3. Passion Trumps Talent
It is difficult to hire a stellar developer when you have limited funding and are still trying to hone your product. It is even more difficult to find a talented developer with knowledge of and passion for the edtech industry. No matter how talented someone is, if they are not passionate about the industry and your product, don’t hire them. It’s worth waiting for someone who truly has the drive to transform your product into a success story.
Role Models: Panorama Education, Socrative, Testive

4. Pitch to Everyone (even your dog)
Public speaking is really hard. You’re not going to be great at it the first 100 times you do it. Practice pitching your product to different types of audiences and hone your pitch for the types of audiences you will encounter most often. You should have an elevator pitch, cocktail party pitch, and  investor pitch down cold. Successful edtech founders have figured out how to tell a good story.
Role Models: Benjamin Levy of eduCanon, Molly Levitt of BrightLoop, Nick Zeckets of QuadWrangle

5. Marketing Isn’t Dead
In a world where teachers, parents, and students are constantly being marketed to, it’s easy to overlook the necessity of spreading the word about your product. Many of the most successful edtech products have gone viral through word of mouth, not Google AdWords, but you won’t know what works for your customers without some trial and error. If your message isn’t resonating with potential customers, change it!

6. Seize the Day
You never know when a seemingly small opportunity might be the one that changes the course of your business. When Yummico pitched at Sandbox Summit last spring, they didn’t anticipate finding funders that have helped them grow their startup quickly. When eduCanon had to choose between pitching at two different events, they didn’t know that by pitching at the 1776 Challenge Cup in D.C., they would win the regional competition and advance to nationals. Whenever possible, just show up.

7. Immerse Yourself in the Edtech Community
Founding an edtech startup is a lot easier when you have a community of like-minded individuals to turn to for advice, support, and friendship. At LearnLaunch, we have worked tirelessly over the past year to build a strong edtech community in Boston. If you don’t live in the Boston area, find or form a group of people who share your passion about edtech – trust us, you’ll need them down the road.
Role Models: Hakan Satiroglu of Exponential Techspace, Tara Greco, Bill Lisowski of TeachPoint

Top 5 Edtech Games: Parent Edition

Top 5 Edtech Games: Parent Edition

As a parent, it’s hard to know what edtech games and products are both engaging and effective for your children as they learn and grow. We have created a list of top educational games and products for parents to gift their children this holiday season from companies in the LearnLaunch community. Show your appreciation for the local edtech community by supporting these companies.

1. A Penguin Christmas – JigSaw Puzzles! ($1.99)
Company: Apps Kids Love
Grades: Pre-K – 1
Tool Type: mobile games for iPhone and iPad
Apps Kids Love is a Boston-based developer and publisher of mobile games and entertainment for kids.  The company was founded by a parent with one simple goal: to let kids have fun with their favorite things. The fun, highly ranked games help young children learn crucial cognitive skills by playing matching games, memory games, and jigsaw puzzles. In the game A Penguin Christmas, Santa visits the penguins of the South Pole for the holidays.

2. Yummilo Rainbow Power ($1.99)
Company: Yummico
Grades: Pre-K – 3
Tool Type: iOS game to teach kids about healthy eating
Yummico is a new kind of children’s media company founded by parents who also happen to be media veterans, including the founder of Blues Clues and an Oscar-nominated feature film producer. The founders wanted to make sticky, entertaining media for kids that’s also safe and adds value. Yummilo Rainbow Power helps children learn the basics of food identification and nutrition through a fun, engaging game. The celebratory end of the game reinforces the importance of ‘eating a rainbow,’ educating kids about how eating a mix of bright, vibrant colored foods help their bodies grow.

3. SingALingo ($9.99 – $25.00)
Company: SingALingo
Grades: Pre-K – 5
Tool Type: books and CDs
SingALingo has created award-winning, multi-sensory language learning products to help children learn a new language in a fun, engaging way. The company offers books and CDS to help children learn Spanish, Chinese, and English through songs. Children are taught phrases about typical activities they do in their daily routines so they are able to learn a new language within the context of their lives.

4. Words and Their Stories ($30/year)
Company: FableVision Learning
Grades: 5-12
Tool Type: vocabulary building software
FableVision Learning is an educational publishing company that believes in providing hands-on, meaningful learning experiences to help all learners realize their true potential. The award-winning, web-based vocabulary program Words And Their Stories engages students with the stories behind words. Students use critical thinking skills to develop a true understanding of over 1,000 vocabulary words. Parents can also track their progress and watch their vocab skills improve. The coolest feature is that you can add custom words to the game.

5. Agent Higgs ($1.99)
Company: TestTubeGames
Grades: 5-8
Tool Type: iOS games and flash games to teach particle physics
TestTubeGames is an independent games studio based in Cambridge, MA, which was founded by a physics grad student turned educator. In the Agent Higgs game, children must help the Higgs Boson escape from scientists by playing over 100 puzzles in which they learn about physics concepts, such as electromagnetism and different types of particles.

Edtech Startups Give Back During the Holiday Season


Guest blog post written by Christina Inge, VP of Marketing, EdTrips

This holiday season, the emerging Boston chapter of EdTechWomen is working to make education easier for young people with health challenges. The group, composed mainly of women who work at local edtech startups, is spearheading an effort to provide educational apps and toys for kids undergoing treatment at Mass General. We’re working together on donations to be given through the Office of Child Life at MGH. The goal is not just to brighten the holidays for kids going through treatment, but also to help them stay on track with their education.

The Office of Child Life supports the well-being of child patients at Mass General through a variety of initiatives, from health education and pet therapy to recreation. For kids with multiple medical appointments, or who are hospitalized, it can be tough to make learning a priority. Toys and apps that make it easy to learn on an iPad, or anywhere, can be a crucial factor in helping a child continue to learn while coping with an illness. EdTech Women is uniquely positioned to help kids gain access to the latest edtech tools.

EdTechWomen is a national organization that has chapters in 10 U.S. cities with active startup communities. Its goal is to bring together women and their supporters across the vast education ecosystem and give them a place to connect. Several women in leadership positions at edtech startups have come together to form a Boston chapter. Its kickoff event will take place in January.

This program marks the Boston group’s first effort to support the local community. As leaders in the edtech sector, our chief focus is improving the lives of young people through education. It is important to remember, especially during the holidays, that some kids have less access than others, and it’s the perfect time to try to bridge those gaps. We are the ones developing the tools that will help the next generation of kids learn, and what better use of our talents than to bring those cutting-edge tools to kids who need them most?

“The edtech ecosystem in Greater Boston is creating some of the coolest technology in edtech today. This initiative offers them the opportunity to give away their technology in a special way – to children in treatment. Giving back will help local children continue to learn and have fun learning right away,” said Laurisa Neuwirth of TUGG and EdTech Times, who has been spearheading awareness efforts.

But it’s not just about the latest technologies. Our generous sponsors have provided children with field trips, old-fashioned toys, and fun books, all of which are essential for healing and learning. Companies contributing to date include Playrific, ChopChop Kids, Doink, Mimobot, and the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Based on the needs articulated by the MGH Office, the team has brought together a collection of museum passes, magazines, and other items children will enjoy using.

“It’s so wonderful to be a part of something that will help so many children,” said Laura Wallendal, COO of EdTrips. “There are so many ways that kids can learn—not just in the classroom. Helping them gain access to field trips, games, and toys gives every child something to learn from, no matter their health challenges.”

If you would like to participate, the team is still collecting app downloads/licenses, toys, and games. Please email Christina Inge, VP of Marketing at EdTrips, to contribute.


7 EdTech Gifts for Teachers

7 EdTech Gifts for Teachers

In the midst of all the holiday craziness – events, parties, and gift shopping – it is easy to overlook a few people on your Christmas list, especially teachers. Because teachers play an important role in a child’s development, it can be challenging to come up with a unique gift for them during the holiday season. For the teacher in your life, we have created a list of top educational games and tools from startups in the LearnLaunch community. Show your appreciation for educators while simultaneously helping a startup grow.

1. Balefire Labs ($35.88 for an annual subscription, but there is a 2-day free trial)
Target Audience: teachers and parents
Tool Type: app review website
Is the teacher in your life an avid iOS user? Give them a subscription to Balefire Labs, a platform that reviews educational apps. The goal of the platform is to help teachers find apps that actually help students learn. Balefire Labs evaluates a bunch of criteria to determine an app’s effectiveness, including instructional design, usability design, and additional data, such as whether the app displays ads.

2. Do Ink Apps ($1.99 for iPhone & iPod Touch, $4.99 for iPad)
Target Audience: K-12 students
Tool Type: mobile/iPad app
Do Ink apps allow students to create custom animations and share them with classmates. The Do Ink Animation & Drawing app for the iPad lets students create their own library of drawings and animations, combining and remixing them in an endless variety of ways. Doink Express for iPhone and iPod Touch lets students easily create animations with drawings, photos and sound.

3. Gradeable ($60/year, but there is a 30-day free trial)
Target Audience: K-12 students
Tool Type: grading tool
Timely feedback is the most effective way to help students, but often teachers feel like they are behind in their paper grading. Gradeable allows teachers to scan their existing quizzes or homework with an iPhone or scanner into an organized database. The software will even automatically grade multiple choice questions. Email Gradeable if you are interested in purchasing a six or 12-month subscription.

4. Listen Edition ($99/year, but there is a 45-day free trial)
Target Audience: 6-8th graders studying social studies and STEM subjects
Tool Type: listening tool
Listen Edition curates public radio stories and builds custom lesson plans around them that are aligned to the Common Core and state standards. The lesson plans include class activities, homework, links to additional resources, and assessment evidence. Listen Edition teaches students critical listening and thinking skills. The use of current public radio stories allows teachers to weave 21st century interdisciplinary themes into core subjects, including civil literacy and global awareness.

5. Native Numbers App ($9.99)
Target Audience: Pre-K-Grade 1
Tool Type: iPad app
Native Brain, a company that develops iPad apps, has created Native Numbers, a game that gives early learners a rich introduction to numbers. The app starts by familiarizing kids with numbers in multiple representations (number rods, tallies, etc.) – then it goes beyond awareness to help kids learn matching, relationships, order, and other core Number Sense concepts and skills. Finally, it presents these concepts in an engaging and increasingly paced manner that helps each child confidently progress from initial awareness, to understanding, to native mastery.

6. Storyboard That ($35.95/year for the premium version, but there is a 14-day free trial)
Target Audience: K-12 students
Tool Type: storyboard creation tool
Storyboards are visual representations of ideas. This tool allows students to write and illustrate stories through the creation of visual storyboards. Students can then share their work with teachers and classmates.

7. Tiggly Shapes ($29.95 – use code XMAS20 (TODAY ONLY) to receive 20% off!)
Target Audience: 18 months old – 4 years old
Tool Type: physical shapes that interact with an iPad
Tiggly Shapes are rubberized toys for preschoolers that allow them to learn and play with an iPad. The shapes come with 3 free iPad apps that children can use to play with the shapes.

Hour of Code Engages Students in Programming

Hour of Code logo

“Don’t just buy a new video game. Make one,” said President Obama in a statement supporting “Hour of Code,” a campaign launched by Code.org in conjunction with Computer Science Education Week (CSED), to encourage students worldwide to try programming for just one hour.

CSED hopes to introduce 10 million students to computer programming by the end of this week. The initiative has already gained the support of 33,000 schools in 166 countries. The goal of Hour of Code is to make programming accessible to students and to expose them to a potential career path.

The campaign emphasizes the increasing importance of computer science in the lives of students, both today and in the future. According to Code.org, only 10% of U.S. public schools even offer computer science classes.

The Bureau of Labor estimates that 140,000 computer science jobs are added to the U.S job market every year. However, only 40,000 college students are currently graduating each year with a degree in computer science. By exposing students to programming at an early age, Code.org hopes to bridge the growing skills gap in the technology sector.

Schools from all over Massachusetts are participating in CSED Week. They are hosting more than 500 events across the state with thousands of students planning to participate.

Tech companies are also joining in to help spread the word. Apple announced that it will offer free, one-hour workshops in its U.S. stores tomorrow to introduce students to computer science, demystify the field, and show that anyone can learn the basics of programming.

The week is already off to a great start, with over 5 million students having participated in the Hour of Code.

As President Obama says, “No one is born a computer scientist, but with a little hard work, and some math and science, just about anyone can become one. This week is your chance to give it a shot. ”


Event Recap of Partnering With Pearson: What You Need to Know

Pearson Photo

On November 12th, LearnLaunch celebrated its new partnership with Pearson Education at its first joint event Partnering with Pearson: What You Need to Know. The meetup offered edtech entrepreneurs the chance to mingle with one another, followed by a discussion with Pearson executives. The purpose of the panel was to introduce the various types of partnership programs Pearson offers and how startups can best prepare for a potential partnership.

Pearson is renowned as the world’s largest learning company. Did you know that 1 in 3 U.S. students uses PowerSchool? Pearson is currently in the middle of a massive company reorganization as it shifts towards focusing on digital learning, education services, and emerging markets. In January 2014, Pearson’s portfolio will merge into three global divisions (School, Higher Education and Professional) and three geographic market categories (North America, Growth and Core).

Just last week, CEO John Fallon revealed the path ahead for the company, which centers around an “efficacy framework”, a set of tools for assessing an education program’s ability to deliver its promised learning outcomes.

As part of this transformation, Pearson has solidified its commitment to startups in the edtech sector by recently announcing a partnership with LearnLaunch, LearnLaunchX, and Exponential Tech Space. This partnership will provide opportunities for startups to meet with Pearson executives during scheduled office hours, more events geared toward edtech entrepreneurs, and formal mentorship for startups participating in the LearnLaunchX edtech accelerator.

At last week’s meetup, Pearson offered advice to the startup community. Some highlights are below:

What Pearson Looks For in Potential Partners:

  • Strategy: i.e. will your product increase revenue for Pearson
  • Alignment: i.e. does your product align with Pearson’s roadmap
  • Pearson customers’ use of your Product: this is not required, but can help speed up the process if some existing Pearson customers are already using your product and love it
  • Clear Messaging: make sure your message is clear when you pitch your product to someone at Pearson and be persistent – it takes time and many conversations
  • Scalability: make sure your product is at a large enough scale to be valuable in terms of integrating into Pearson’s product line
  • Adaptability: i.e. ability for your startup to quickly adapt to market and customer needs

Pearson’s Advice to Edtech Startups:

  • Assessment: make sure your product includes assessment and makes a teacher’s life easier
  • Implementation: know how you want your solution to be implemented at the district level
  • Student Data: make the student data you capture both meaningful and easy to interpret
  • Customer Centric: make sure your product is focused on customer needs
  • Areas of Opportunity: two areas that are ready for disruption are open educational services and content as a service
  • Long-term Planning: don’t forget to align what you’re doing in the short-term with your long-term product vision

Check out photos from the event below:

LearnLaunch Celebrates First Anniversary

LearnLaunch Founder Photo Conference 2013

Last Friday marked our one-year anniversary. We would like to take some time to reflect on how far we have come in the past 12 months. We launched in November 2012 with the mission to increase support for the creation and growth of edtech startups. Since then, we have seen the birth and growth of over 200 edtech startups in New England alone.

The education industry has been in the midst of a revolution as classrooms and other places of learning become inundated with new technologies. As we witness a shift from paper to digital, from sage on the stage to guide on the side, from laptops to tablets, it is exciting that we have been able to participate in the transformation of an industry.

LearnLaunch has helped connect leaders in the edtech industry – entrepreneurs, educators, strategic partners, investors, students, and other stakeholders – to one another through an annual conference, monthly events, and resources, such as peer learning groups for founders of edtech startups.

We are proud to have helped build an ecosystem for the edtech industry in a city with a deeply entrenched reputation for education innovation and reform.

Some highlights from the past year include:

  • Held nearly 50 events, including classes, monthly meetups, and an inaugural edtech conference that have attracted over 2,500 attendees
  • Attracted over 500 educators to sample new technologies being developed by edtech entrepreneurs
  • Launched edtech job board
  • Established two peer learning groups for founders and C-level employees
  • Formed partnership with Pearson Education
  • Co-founded LearnLaunchX, Boston’s edtech accelerator, in February 2013
  • Named a BostInno 50 on Fire Finalist in Education

In the coming year, we plan to expand our efforts to connect stakeholders in the New England edtech community to both one another and to the larger national community. Our winter conference will showcase the impact of edtech on the future of K-20 education in the United States and beyond.