For the past seven years, I’ve had the privilege of supporting hundreds of Education Pioneers leaders to find powerful, meaningful careers across the education sector in school districts, charter school organizations, nonprofits, education venture capital organizations, and more. As I’ve counseled people, some have had a clear sense of where they wanted to work. Others simply knew they wanted to make a difference in the lives of students but weren’t sure where or how best to do that.
At the ASU+GSV Summit 2015 last week, GSV co-founder and chief investment officer Michael Moe shared a powerful lesson about coaching trees with a roomful of educators and edtech leaders. Just a few months ago, the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks battled in Super Bowl XLIX a few miles from where we sat. Few realized that the teams’ head coaches, Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll, both apprenticed under the legendary Lou Holtz. Moe’s point was that great leaders don’t just rack up wins and championships for their own teams. They develop other leaders who generate wins and who, in turn, develop other winning leaders. Leaders create leverage .
The desert winds that blew through last week’s ASU+GSV Summit 2015 in Scottsdale, Arizona carried new perspectives and insights on education technology. For me, the most notable was how the viewpoint on technology has shifted even in recent years: from a possible solution to our country’s public education challenges to a critical tool or lever to reshape American education and expand opportunity. And boy, is there excitement and enthusiasm for what that tool, wielded carefully and thoughtfully, could do to change how we think about the process and purpose of education.
In Las Vegas, many leaders (including EP Alumni) are doing whatever it takes to help the city’s students thrive. As Chief of Staff and External Relations for Las Vegas’ Clark County School District – the fifth-largest public school district in the country that serves more than 300,000 students – I saw firsthand how hard our staff worked to serve our young people well. I also saw committed people stretched to their capacity.
In 2011, Netflix made a reported $100 million bet and bought two full seasons of House of Cards, sight unseen. While Netflix executives hadn’t seen the show, what they had seen was data . Tons of data. Data from 29 million customers about what they wanted to watch. For Netflix, buying House of Cards felt less like a gamble and more like a strategic decision backed by big data.
From Moneyball to FitBit , data have hit the mainstream. In education, how can we harness the power of information to yield tremendous benefits for students, schools, and organizations?
Big data isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it will only get bigger as we gather more and more information everywhere. In education specifically, how can we embrace data? And as a lot more information comes at us, how can we improve how we work with volumes of information to inform key decisions?
Data is no longer the new kid in school. While many education organizations still grapple with data collection, analysis, and use, working with data has been around for well over a decade. As a sector, we’ve made progress in working with data since, but challenges persist. If “working with data” sounds simple, we all know it’s not.
More than 50 years after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s powerful call to “ let freedom ring ,” we still struggle to unleash the great potential of all of our nation’s children. But success in this all-important effort is within our reach. We have the capability to give every young person in this country—no matter her skin color or his family income—an excellent education. It’s within our power to prepare every single student in every classroom to thrive.
How can we create better goals that inspire high performance, guide our work in real time, and that we want to revisit on a regular basis? Here are some suggestions I’ve learned on how to make goals that matter.