01 Jun 2013
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Education Innovation

How alumni are taking business to school

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In an article for Harvard Business Review last year, former HBS lecturer Stacey Childress (MBA 2000) offered a rather stark assessment of the state of the US education system: "By practically any measure, the quality of public K–12 education in the United States is dismal."

And the stakes are high. As Childress, deputy director of education at the Gates Foundation, outlined, research continues to show a strong link between a coun- try's educational performance and its economy. Her conclusion, which helped inform HBS's US Competitiveness Project: "The United States must recognize that its long-term growth depends on dramatically increasing the quality of its K–12 public education system."

A reform movement has been building in response to this reality, populated, in part, by HBS alumni. Doug Lemov (MBA 2004) is pushing to "reteach" teachers, equipping practitioners with real-world skills to improve learning ("5 Bright Ideas").

Scott Given (MBA 2010) and his fellow charter school reformers are forcing a reconsideration of the public education system ("Charter Revolution Redux"). At Harvard, the Public Education Leadership Project is using best practices in urban school management to train the next generation of district leaders ("Minding the Gap").

The movement to rethink education is global. Carl Bistany (OPM 17, 1991) and SABIS schools are reviving a 19th-century pedagogy for students from ­Massachusetts to the Middle East. In Ireland, Mike Feerick's (MBA 1993) online learning programs offer free certification training for students in Europe and beyond.

So what does the future hold for education reform? It's a question we asked several alumni—including Childress and Carl Christopher (MBA 2006)—in "Lesson Plans". What's your take? Let us know at bulletin@hbs.edu or on Twitter at @HBSAlumni.

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Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 2000, Section E
follow @NextGenStacey
Class of MBA 2004, Section J
Class of MBA 2010, Section G
follow @ScottRGiven
Class of OPM 17
follow @CBistany
Class of MBA 1993, Section G
follow @MikeFeerick
Class of MBA 2006, Section J

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