You don’t have to stretch your imagination to accept the fact our school system is falling apart before our very eyes. America is the leader of the free world, and our education system should reflect that fact.
But it doesn’t.
The public education system has been hijacked by a growing number of teacher unions and self-driven agendas ranging from superintendents and politicians who prefer to keep their lavish lifestyle rather than solve real world problems they were elected to solve. It’s turned into a government bureaucracy where very few are held accountable and it’s almost impossible to fire anyone based on their performance, or lack thereof. This is one reason Education Secretary DeVos is pushing to grow Charter, Private, and Independent school systems; to create competition and give better options to the American people who want their children to receive a stronger education.
The American people have had enough, and in the past several years there’s been a trend in America where parents are taking their children out of the public school system to enroll them into Charter, Private, or Independent school systems. Hopefully, this will be the catalyst that drives the public system to improve their standards.
Thankfully there’s an onslaught of education startups working to solve problems in all the education sectors for the purpose of improving student outcomes and giving teachers better tools so they can do their job. One example of this is Kahn Academy, which was created by a hedge fund manager who has an engineering background. Sal Khan began making YouTube videos for his family members, and Bill Gates’ son was one of his pupils, unbeknownst to him. Almost a decade later he now has a massive education platform where millions of students around the world receive quality instruction – all created by an “outsider”, from simple YouTube videos. It’s being used in the Public, Private, and Independent school systems.
The lesson in this? Someone from outside education solved a problem that provides undeniable outcomes to children around the world.
Another kind of startup for education is called Lessontrek, a better lesson management system built for teachers on a cutting edge software platform. Because teachers are over-worked and under-appreciated by superintendents, Lessontrek built their platform around specific teacher workflows, and is building the platform to become more robust, using modern classroom conventions that companies like McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt don’t offer. The owner is a U.S. Navy veteran and has found that Private, Charter, and Independent school systems are being overlooked by mainstream software companies. His platform is currently selling to over 1,000 satisfied educators, and is looking to grow into all education markets. Currently, he’s raising a second round of funding to hire more software engineers so he can scale the business. His business plan is in the finalist stage to win a competition held by Pentagon Federal Credit Union, a new equity funding program for veterans who are solving real problems.
We believe education in America can become number 1 again but that will take decisive action and teamwork from everyone, at all levels of society.
Jason Pessemier is a 2-time entrepreneur and U.S. Navy veteran having worked at Microsoft, Starbucks, Expedia, and built software startups launching over a dozen custom software applications around the world. He’s experienced at building scalable software companies that solve real-world problems applying modern user experiences and backend technologies. He’s also a National Champion gold medalist in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu earning 2 Gold, 9 Silver, and 3 Bronze medals.