Why Big Impact Entrepreneurs Are Rare

Education Next Issue Cover

The dangers of challenging power



By Education Next

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Spring 2007 / Vol. 7, No. 2

ednext_20072_46_openHigh-profile entrepreneurs like those behind KIPP and Teach For America are determined to transform K–12 education. But will their accomplishments ever amount to wholesale reform? Or will they end up crushed or absorbed by the bureaucratic behemoth of public education? Frederick Hess and Chester Finn charge that those entrepreneurs who succeed in the hostile environment of public education do so by compromising and accommodating in order to win friends and allies in the locales that comprise their markets.

But several entrepreneurs beg to differ. Michelle Rhee and David Keeling explain how skillful entrepreneurs can change school systems from the inside out. Steven Wilson argues that the most successful entrepreneurs are those who stand their ground when research and experience are on their side. Kim Smith shows how entrepreneurs can leverage their outsider status to set change in motion. Only Joan Snowden insists that entrepreneurs can never provide the big fixes education needs because their efforts are not scalable

Read What Innovators Can, and Cannot, Do




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