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Labor seeks advice on schools policy

Labor is set to pick the brains of parents, teachers, principal and academics about how to get best value for money from school funding.

A national schools forum will be held in Melbourne on Monday, as the Turnbull government awaits a report from consultant David Gonski and his panel, due in March 2018.

The Gonski 2.0 report will advise on how to improve school performance and student achievement using the revised school funding package to start from January 1.

Labor has pledged to restore $17 billion, which it says has been cut from schools by the coalition.

“Under the Liberals, there is not only much less money for schools, there’s no plan to improve them either – not one more kid graduating high school, no improvement in literacy and numeracy, or teaching quality,” Labor education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said.

There was also no national agreement in place for school funding or reform, she said.

“This is a complete failure of leadership. That’s why we’re holding this national schools forum. We need to ensure Australia has a world class school education system, where a child’s postcode does not determine their future.”

The forum will include addresses from Labor leader Bill Shorten and input from the national primary and secondary schools principals associations, Australian Council for Educational Research, Australian Education Union and independent school representatives.

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The Need for Comprehensive Approaches to Campus Safety

The annual Oct. 1 deadline for colleges and universities to disseminate an annual report on the security of their campus communities was a reminder of the Jeanne Clery Act’s goal to increase student safety. Beyond simply disclosing crime statistics, the report shares policy statements and crucial details about an institution’s efforts to communicate, educate and support justice and healing, along with practices that improve and maintain a culture of campus safety.

Since the Clery Act was enacted in 1990, decades of surveys have demonstrated that families and students place campus safety at the forefront of the decision-making process when it comes to which college to attend. In a 2015 study, parents listed a safe environment as the most important factor in a campus environment. For students, that was the second most important factor, behind being a good fit.

As reported in the student poll published by the College Board and Art Science Group, those results align with a millennial generation theory that students and their parents are more concerned than ever about campus safety. In that survey, 72 percent of students indicated that the safety of the campus was very important to them when it came to the institutions they considered and the one they ultimately chose, and 86 percent reported it was very important to their parents.

Yet not all college and university leaders want to come forward and share honest facts about safety with students and others. The assumption is that bad news will naturally have a negative impact on an institution, with an increased risk to enrollment and, thus, revenue. And, in fact, research from Harvard Business School, “The Impact of Campus Scandals on College Applications,” demonstrates the impact that scandals can have on an institution’s bottom line. Reviewing scandals at the top 100 American institutions of higher education over the past 10 years, it showed that high-profile media coverage of such events resulted in a 9 to 10 percent drop in applications the following year.

Such findings quantify what institutions that have communicated poorly about crimes have known intuitively and been cautious to admit: if they reveal information that is bad for their public relations, they are likely to lose enrollment or experience diminished quality with a lesser pool of applicants. And while the Harvard study did not cover events typically outside an institution’s immediate campus control, a reasonable inference can be made that such events may have a similar impact on admissions to an internal scandal. For example, consider the impact on, and response of, higher education to the 2015 riots after the death Freddie Gray, which occurred during high school senior decision week.

Fortunately, over recent years, institutional accountability has improved, facilitated by the Clery Act’s mandates for better transparency, communication and data. Meanwhile, colleges and universities have found ways to offset negative coverage, as evidenced by college and university leaders in Baltimore who worked to amplify the message that safety has always been a priority on their campuses. With campus safety in fact made a priority, along with a robust communications strategy, those institutions were able to maintain or return to typical admissions levels.

The good news is that institutions reviewed in the Harvard Business School study saw the probability of another negative incident the next year fall by 50 percent. The authors surmise that a campus, following a major scandal, may be less risky due to a genuine response of the administration. Though the types of efforts by institutions are not detailed by the authors, they note that the result is not “explained simply by reversion to the mean.”

Yet the study illuminates an equally important finding: the effect of the diminishing likelihood of another negative incident occurring within the next year dissipates within five years. The return to the same relative risk places in doubt whether an institution’s immediate reactionary efforts to crisis and accountability can be converted into lasting changes that actively reduce the possible occurrence of another negative incident that impacts actual or perceived campus safety.

All of which leads to a question: Why do meaningful organizational changes, as a reaction to crisis, not become an embedded, lasting practice at many colleges and universities?

An answer can be found in the National Center for Campus Public Safety report “Institutionalizing the Clery Act at Institutions of Higher Education.” The synopsis of multiple focus groups, composed of diverse national experts on campus safety and leading institutional representatives, outlines potential obstacles to change. Though higher education’s support for the spirit of the Clery Act is overwhelming, as noted by the report, a general perception exists that complying with all aspects can be a challenge for many institutions. When combined with other mandates like Title IX and state laws, participants discussed how compliance has become time-consuming and resource intensive.

A common factor in most Clery compliance obstacles is identified in the report as an organizational structure problem: that “Clery compliance is not an institutional objective; rather, it is a task assigned to an often small compliance team or individual in the lower levels of an [institution’s] hierarchy.” When institutional leaders are not directly engaged in compliance efforts, it often results in a crucial lack of awareness about the Clery Act and a disjointed understanding of the implications of lapsed compliance that extend well beyond the letter of the law.

NCCPS’s working group, having diagnosed a cause, then identified strategic solutions based in the spirit of the law to facilitate lasting change. Colleges and universities around the country can use those recommendations to identify structural gaps and develop a comprehensive, institutionwide safety network. Such a strategy builds a solid foundation that increases the likelihood that the institution will not only implement but also sustain effective changes.

When such a foundation is not in place at an institution or fails, consequences may occur that could have been mitigated or even avoided. The lessons of the Harvard Business School findings and NCCPS report have been reinforced by the news about the University of Missouri’s close to 33 percent drop in freshman enrollment over the past two years, following extended student protests regarding demands for social change in response to accusations of racism across the university.

And such declines in enrollment revenue do not even touch upon the potential impact negative incidents may have on institutions’ fund-raising and alumni relations. Although fund-raisers are still gauging the effect on philanthropy, some colleges — particularly small, elite liberal arts colleges — have reported a decline in donations accompanied by a laundry list of complaints from alumni when scandals occur.

Holistic Solutions Required

An institution needs holistic solutions to support enduring changes after it experiences a negative incident, recovers from it and begins the efforts to return to a new operational norm. A commitment to robust implementation of the framework and resources that Clery guides institutions to use can have the benefit of providing an additional protective factor against a return to increased risk for scandal. Compliance with Title IX and Violence Against Women Act, or the lack thereof, is another example of an area where a campus needs to focus attention not only on the letter but also the spirit of the law, as well as the increased expectations of students, families, news media, politicians and the public.

The NCCPS report has outlined core principles that top administrators should be considering as part of their response to threats of scandal and negative incidents. Using Robert Agranoff’s award-winning research in “Managing Within Networks” as a model to encourage crossing of departmental and institutional boundaries, presidents and their senior leadership should adopt a risk-management approach and develop a comprehensive campus safety network.

A key takeaway of the report is that communications is the primary factor when it comes to fostering cultural change and buy-in. Colleges and universities should take practical steps to develop such buy-in, widen the scope of compliance responsibility and support ownership throughout the institution of systemic Clery compliance. One suggestion is to create communications plans that help to institutionalize Clery compliance and periodically evaluate and adjust those plans.

Another tangible step is to develop more community partnerships with representatives of local law enforcement agencies. Colleges should also consider identifying student leaders who can serve as educated safety ambassadors and help inform awareness and prevention campaigns. Attaining such buy-in will help ensure long-term mitigation of the effects of scandal and crisis, especially when confronted with additional risk from policies that are developed too fast under duress or fail to be implemented as the crisis subsides.

The report’s insights also focus on structural solutions, such as the recommendation to form an interdisciplinary team from across campus departments that meets regularly. Reinforcing the structural approach, the report highlighted the need to appropriate funding to support full-time personnel and an office that has final, official responsibility for comprehensive Clery compliance.

Finally, having a trusted Clery Act subject-matter expert who is guaranteed a direct line of communication to the highest administrative levels, including the president, is crucial for ensuring efficiency and effectiveness. Fortunately, a similar practice already exists at some colleges and should be replicated; a campus chief of security or director of public safety should be a member of the president’s cabinet and also have access to a staff member or consultant with established Clery/Title IX expertise.

Any program needs to be broad and continuing. If a rote review of a college or university’s annual security report is the only effort made to secure greater campus safety, especially if not a year-round practice, that institution is likely at a higher risk for a safety and compliance problem. Stakeholders in the NCCPS report implore higher education leadership to strategically “focus more on student safety and success in order to honor the spirit of the Clery Act,” avoiding the mind-set of needing to contend with “just another regulation.” A holistic, systemwide culture of campus safety, embraced by the president’s cabinet on down, best represents a thorough understanding, and likely execution, of the spirit of the Clery Act.

Building upon the earlier takeaway that communication is a key factor, the report also notes that “compliance with the Clery Act demonstrates that a campus is listening to and caring for its students.” An institution with a culture of responsive accountability and thoughtful communications, as the Clery Act provides a framework for, will have the organizational habits to create a genuine sense of transparency with the wider campus community. That will involve the development of a feedback loop with a diverse set of stakeholders that can help to actively address serious issues or events on a timely basis.

For example, the University of Missouri’s new leadership has embraced such improved communications as a pathway to change. Board chairman Maurice Graham’s comments about such communications point toward a new focus: “The lifeblood of any university is its reputation; our reputation was at risk.” And the new president’s acting chief of staff, David Russell, has said that the entire Mizzou system has, in the words of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “put the important people first: students, parents, faculty and staff.”

As events on campuses nationwide continue to make headlines, institutional leaders and boards of trustees have a clear choice to make when grappling with campus safety issues. We are in a new era for campus safety in which public safety and public relations finally coexist to serve the campus community, and where robust campus public safety and security strategies for the 21st century also protect the bottom line.

It is important to understand the consequences of institutional crises and give serious consideration to the NCCPS’s identification of the range of potential solutions to address cultural and communication obstacles. Combined, the insights from the HBS and NCCPS papers complement each report’s findings. Such understanding will help to guide an organizationwide effort to develop, coordinate and support a campus’s reputational, economic and campus safety goals. Higher education leaders who embrace this proactive, transparent approach will most likely be successful in supporting the long-term health and safety of their students and institutions.

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Letter to the Editor: Advice for the new Coventry Board of Education members

Editor’s Note: Lee Ann Weisenmiller is a former Coventry Local Schools treasurer and was one of the five candidates who ran for seats on the Coventry Local Schools’ Board of Education. Those seats were won by incumbent Chris Davis and newcomers Josh Hostetler and Ron Reed.

To the CSTAC members elected to the Coventry Board at the November election:


Congratulations on your election to the Coventry Board beginning in January. You are facing a thankless job in your new positions. I hope you succeed in accomplishing good things for our district and our community.

You have a difficult job because you are not familiar with school funding. You will be amazed at the things you will learn and the things you can and cannot do. Please take every advantage you can to learn from any educational opportunity. I hope you will take the time to settle in and give yourselves time to learn the things you need to know and understand as board members before you dismantle the district in an ill advised hurry to “right the ship.”  

It is understandable that you believe the State Auditor’s report issued about open enrollment. You should certainly be able to believe the State Auditor, shouldn’t you? One would think so, but not in this case. I believe it would make more sense to believe your own district’s particular statistics rather than data based on assumptions by those who know nothing about Coventry specifically. I ask that you review the district’s findings with an open mind and work together with the superintendent and other board members to determine just which numbers are accurate before you take any action.  

It is time to review open enrollment, but it needs to be done with the kids in mind as well as dollars. If you act too quickly or without the true results of open enrollment in Coventry, you will make a grave mistake for many children. Being a Coventry Comet to them is their daily life and part of their individual beings. They don’t understand nor care about politics. Sending currently open enrolled students away from their friends, teachers, coaches, buildings and extra curricular activities could be a life changing trauma for some. You will be sending some to a lesser educational experience. 

No children should be sent back to their home districts in an overnight change in policy. Please think of the children in your deliberations. We are already down 70 students this year. Reducing open enrollment has already begun due to the conflicts in the district. Next we will lose resident students as well.   

I am confident that you must have the best of intentions, as do we all. No transition is easy, and this one will be especially difficult with such drastic changes. I wish you luck because I care about the students and staff and the effect the outcome of your decisions will have on their lives. Hopefully, with careful consideration, education, awareness and understanding, you will be able to accomplish reasonable goals without destroying the goals and accomplishments of those who preceded you.   

Lee Ann Weisenmiller,
Coventry Township

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Advice on advertising issued to universities after watchdog finds ads from six institutions broke UK rules – Out

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) said that universities must also be careful not to “misrepresent” the evidence they do hold.

The advice was issued by CAP after advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that six adverts run by six different UK universities breached UK advertising rules.

The ASA said Falmouth University’s claims of being the UK’s number one “arts university” and the UK’s number one “creative university” were misleading and could not be substantiated. It further took issue with the University of West London’s claim that it was one of the top 10 modern UK universities, and also upheld a complaint about the University of Strathclyde’s claims that its physics department was ranked number one for research in the UK.

Claims by the University of Leicester that it was ‘a top 1% world university’ and “a world ranked university” were also deemed misleading, unsubstantiated and in breach of comparative advertising rules, while the ASA censured the University of East Anglia over its claims that it was ranked in the top five for student satisfaction in a student survey. Teesside University was also told that it had failed to sufficiently qualify its claims that it was the “top university in England for long-term graduate prospects”.

Rami Labib, an expert in consumer law at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind, said: “In spite of the CMA’s 2015 market investigation and provision of advice to higher education providers (69-page / 679KB PDF) on how to ensure compliance with consumer law, these rulings clearly demonstrates that some providers are still falling short in their compliance obligations.”

“In the wake of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, which will potentially open the market to further new entrants, and with Brexit looming, competition to attract students has never been so high and providers are understandably looking to make themselves stand out from the crowd. However, they must be sure to act with integrity, with students’ interests at heart and within the confines of UK advertising rules and consumer protection law.”

CAP said the type of evidence that universities need to hold to support their claims will depend on the type of claims they make but “must support it in the context of how it’s likely to be interpreted by the average consumer, who is unlikely to have sector specific knowledge”.

“If you claim to have been ‘named’ or ‘ranked’ by another body, such as a university league table, this must be a genuine and accurate reflection of the results you’re referencing. You should only refer to information, analysis and categories that are explicitly stated and defined in relevant reports or league tables, and should not present claims with a further layer of your own analysis or categorisation of results,” it said.

CAP said universities should also avoid “making objective claims based on [their] own analysis of data from another party’s publication or results, particularly if the data could be interpreted in a number of different ways depending on the method used”.

Universities were further encouraged to make the basis of their claims clear, such by “stating the name and date of the report or league table results on which the claim is based”, and said claims that involve comparing their own courses or institutions to others “should not be stated as objective facts or in absolute terms without this information”. CAP said universities should “make sure that consumers can access that information for themselves in line with the requirement that comparative claims are verifiable”.

Universities were also advised not to assume that people viewing their adverts have “sector specific knowledge” and ensure the claims they make are “unambiguous”. They should therefore avoid using “broad terms that could be interpreted in a number of ways … without sufficient qualification of its meaning”, CAP said.

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Education failings: Is anyone listening?

Mathayom 3 students sit the Ordinary National Education Test exam at a school in Bangkok. (File photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

It is disheartening each time an international report is released which further condemns Thailand’s education system. The utter lack of progress in significantly improving the country’s schools demands urgent attention for social, economic, and humane reasons. The most recent international report to spotlight the dire failings in Thailand’s education has come from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

The Unesco 2017/2018 Global Education Monitoring Report’s criticism of the Thai education focused on familiar failings. Half the country’s grade nine students have only a minimum level of proficiency in mathematics and reading, half the country’s pupils are taught in a language that is not their mother tongue, and 3.9 million adults in Thailand are unable to read simple sentences.

These findings echo the annual shaming that the country’s Ordinary National Educational Test (O-Net) provides. The 2016/2017 O-Net standardised test results for Grade 12 students provide an even bleaker picture than the Unesco report, with the national average scores in mathematics at 24.9%, English at 27.8%, and science at 31.6%. Not only are these results diabolical, but they also confirm a downward spiral, with scores lower than those for the 2015/2016 academic year, when the national averages for mathematics and science were 26.6% and 33.4%.

An education system in which the majority of students fail to reach the national standards as prescribed by the Ministry of Education is a failing system in need of substantial reconstruction.

International education rankings further highlight the flaws in Thailand’s schools. In the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) rankings by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which assess the ability of randomly selected 15-year-old students in mathematics, science, and literacy, Thailand ranked 55th of 70 countries. Those results place Thailand well below the international average and among the lowest scoring countries in Asia. The 2015 results also indicate a deterioration in standards since the 2012 assessments.

Thailand’s poor performance in the Pisa rankings is all the more disheartening because education in the past years receives nearly a fifth of the government’s 2.73 trillion-baht (US$82.5 billion) annual budget, which accounts for more than 4% of GDP. The country’s education budget exceeds public education spending in most Southeast Asian countries as a proportion of GDP. Although not high internationally, the poor results suggest financial resources being squandered.

Thailand’s education problems were detailed in the World Development Report 2018 on “Learning to Realise Education’s Promise”, which warned of a global education crisis. The World Bank report was released by the World Bank Group President, who stated, “This learning crisis is a moral and economic crisis,” explaining, “When delivered well, education promises young people employment, better earnings, good health and a life without poverty… But, these benefits depend on learning, and schooling without learning is a wasted opportunity. More than that, it’s a great injustice: The children whom societies fail the most are the ones who are most in need of a good education to succeed in life.”

This wasted opportunity is a great injustice for millions of Thai learners, as education fails to empower them with the skills necessary to improve their circumstances. The failure of national education impacts disadvantaged students most heavily, creating a widening social gap between the poor and those who can afford private education and tutoring.

Given the shameful performance of average Thai students in national and international assessments, it is difficult to explain the complete lack of substantive education reform. Thailand’s political instability, with 20 education ministers in 17 years, has impeded education policy-making. Education policies in Thailand have also been used as a political tool to reinforce ideologies or to procure votes, such as the 2011 campaign promise of free tablets for all students. Neighbouring countries such as Singapore and Vietnam, which have substantially improved their education systems, have benefited from years of political stability.

All of the international reports which have criticised education in Thailand have also offered valuable advice on how the country could overhaul these shortcomings. The World Bank report provides excellent advice, including better motivating teachers, making teacher training relevant to student needs, and investing in technology which is proven to increase learning.

Depoliticising and decentralising education so that individual regions and ethnic communities can adapt teaching and learning to meet the precise needs of their students, including mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTB/MLE), especially in the Deep South, could also drastically improve education standards. Yala Rajabhat University just received a 2017 Wenhui Award commendation for mainstreaming MTB/MLE into its teacher education curriculum and in-service training.

Both Unesco and the World Bank have urged Thailand to implement greater accountability in education. As Unesco director-general Irina Bokova argues: “Accountability for these responsibilities defines the way teachers teach, students learn and governments act. It must be designed with care and with the principles … of equity, inclusion and quality in mind.”

The lack of accountability in Thailand’s education system has created a culture of negligence and has allowed corruption, as in buying places for children, together with incompetence, to rob Thai students of the opportunities they rightfully deserve. School infrastructure development projects and procurements should be accompanied by transparency websites that post budgets, expenditures, and copies of invoices.

It is not just Unesco, the World Bank and the OECD which have shared solutions to Thailand’s problems. International education conferences, such as EDUCA, have each year invited guest speakers with expertise in education reform. Just last month, Finnish educators hosted a special seminar at EDUCA 2017 which shared Finland’s expertise in education reform. While international organisations are willing to provide Thailand with the support and advice necessary to reform, substantial changes, beginning with commissions into literacy and numeracy, are not occurring.

Although reforming education appears a mammoth task and would require a decade, the political will to act is a prerequisite. Systemic reform should be prioritised when the country returns to civilian rule. International help is available, education reform is possible, and schoolchildren must not be denied the standard of education they deserve. This responsibility must be accepted as the first step towards reform.

Daniel Maxwell is a writer, educator and education analyst for the Asian Correspondent website. Peerasit Kamnuansilpa is a founder and former dean of the College of Local Administration, Khon Kaen University.

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How to become a ‘vortex university’

A flurry of recent research on the economic importance of universities underlines their role as generators of economic impact and regional development.

Indeed, a Centre for Cities report out this week shows that the University of Exeter is no exception: in 2015-16, the report says, it created more than £1.1 billion in economic output and supported more than 11,000 jobs.

As well as its direct impact on Exeter’s economy, the university drives innovation and brings expertise to a range of local, national and international enterprises. Knowledge exchange is now a key part of a university’s role, alongside its core aims of education and research.

One way universities can develop this new mission is to develop themselves as “vortex” institutions. The term “vortex university” was coined by Mike Cohen, of the University of California, Berkeley, who contrasts “vortex” with “waypoint” universities.

The former refers to a set of complementary dynamics between a university and its local economic area, which together are able to boost the innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities flowing from staff and students. By contrast, “waypoint” universities are those where students simply stop for the duration of their course, before moving to build a life and career elsewhere.

In a “vortex”, a critical mass of innovation and entrepreneurial activity is retained and built on; in a “waypoint”, it is dispersed and lost.

Of course, vortex universities do not just happen: the innovation ecosystem around them has to be nurtured and deliberately built, and resources have to be put into this rather than other things. Over the past few years, we have been seeking to build just such a vortex university at Exeter, and our activities have fitted neatly with the four key elements that Cohen points to as crucial in transitioning, as he puts it, from waypoints to vortexes.

First, you need start-up and accelerator programmes that provide space, business mentoring and legal and financial advice. 

Exeter, with Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey, is a member of SetSquared, which was named last year as the number one university-business incubator in the world, and we have used this to underpin a network of support for start-up companies.

Second, specialist space is required to enable companies to stay and grow. With this in mind, a new Science Park on the edge of the city (of which Exeter is a shareholder) provides plenty of opportunities to house our own spin-outs and other start-ups. We are doubly fortunate in that the Met Office’s new supercomputer, the fastest in Western Europe, is also located on the Science Park. It is beginning to attract interest from companies requiring environmental data and the skills necessary to analyse and process it.

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Third, universities have access to highly specialised research and development equipment that can be accessed by entrepreneurs as well as staff and students, and in our case we have made sure that space on the Science Park is flexible enough to house labs as well as offices, to take advantage of this.

Fourth, Cohen refers to education programmes that support entrepreneurship. Typically these may have been located in business schools, but we are working with our students’ union to embed innovation and entrepreneurship education across our curriculum more widely.

Universities cannot do this on their own, and crucial relationships have to be built with local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships, which are able to cement other elements of the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem into place. 

Cohen points out how localities can either squander or enhance the innovation talent coming out of universities. In order to do the latter, local agencies need to make premises and “maker spaces” available for scale-up activities, as well as providing appropriate housing, transportation, cultural, educational and social facilities.

When all this is joined up, the research and innovation talent from a university can be allied to local development strategies. Science and Innovation Audits, now in their third wave, provide a means of underpinning and identifying which sectors might be best placed to succeed in which areas.

Looking around the UK, Cambridge, neighbouring a science park, is the obvious exemplifier of a vortex university. Imperial College London at White City, and UCL at Stratford, may be in line to join it.

But with the third mission of universities now being laid out much more explicitly by those who fund and oversee the UK higher education sector, there is no reason why other universities should not begin to consciously orientate their innovation and entrepreneurship activities towards this goal.  

Mark Goodwin is deputy vice-chancellor for external engagement at the University of Exeter.

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Forbes’ 2018 ’30 Under 30′ Came Early This Year. Here’s Who Made the Education List.

When it comes to education, Forbes’ 2018 “30 Under 30” list might be summed up best as the year of the founder.

Most of the 38 honorees (cofounders are grouped together) are listed as entrepreneurs, though their companies—and backgrounds—are rather diverse.

Judging this year’s nominees were Charles Best (founder of, along with Stacey Childress (CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund), Wendy Kopp (cofounder of Teach For All) and Joe Vasquez (codirector at Runway Incubator), himself an “Under 30” alum.

From ambitious founders of community nonprofits to a spoken word poet, here’s a look at who made this year’s “30 Under 30 Education” list.

Nonprofits and Community Engagement

Shaping students into community-minded citizens can be a challenge, but Danielle Hughes is doing just that (26) with her nonprofit Detroit Speaks. Fatema Basrai (27), who served with Teach for America, heads up a San Antonio-area organization, SAISD, that cultivates public education advocates and leaders.

Entrepreneurship in education was a driving force in Elyse Burden’s (28) case. Her nonprofit, Real World Scholars, provides classrooms with the online tools to start their own community-based businesses, which has been used in hundreds of classrooms to date.

Perhaps the same could be said for Allyson Dias (28), who is also leading a nonprofit initiative—but, uniquely, one that encourages students to side-step traditional education. Dias helps direct the Thiel Fellowship, the brainchild of billionaire Peter Thiel, which gives $100,000 grants to students that drop out of college and start their own companies. Jomayra Herrera, 24 also helps spot promising entrepreneurs looking to close opportunity gaps in her role as an analyst at the Emerson Collective.

Ricky Hurtado (28) and Elaine Townsend Utin (27) began their organization, NC Scholars’ Latinx Initiative, with the goal of putting more North Carolina immigrant and first-generation college students on the path to success—already they’ve seen 90 percent of the students they worked with last year pursue higher education. Melissa Lee (28), a cofounder of The GREEN Program, looks to create tomorrow’s future leaders in sustainability through 10-day travel abroad experiences during school breaks.

Recognizing that high housing prices are making it hard for some urban districts to retain teachers, cofounder Jesse Vaughan’s (28) Landed helps educators finance and buy property to establish roots.

And yes, the list made room for one innovator from the public system. Jonathan García (28) has spent his career convincing businesses to fork over cash to the public education system, and has helped rack up more than $20 million in investments to Bay Area schools. He’s now taken his talents to Maine’s Portland Public Schools as senior director of strategic partnerships and external affairs.


Despite the massive helping of business-savvy founders on this year’s list, there was some room for creativity too.

Many of the creative types honored are using social media to reach large numbers of students and education influencers. Poet and filmmaker Richard Williams (a.k.a. Prince Ea, 29) has created videos that have received about a billion views across social media, where he showcases his spoken word poetry on topics such as social justice and education.

Osmosis cofounder Shiv Gaglani (28) doesn’t work in K-12, or even higher ed, but rather has helped form a company responsible for educating health care practitioners and patients about topics such as the Zika virus via animated online videos.

Tony Weaver’s (23) Weird Enough Productions creates content like short films to foster better media literacy, and fight misrepresentation. Meanwhile, Emily Graslie (28) is the creative mind behind the YouTube breakout sensation, The Brain Scoop, a channel that breaks down materials from exhibits you might find at your local natural history museum.

And in a different vein, Mark Pavlyukovskyy (26), a cofounder of Piper, helped create a DIY computer kit that lets kids build and program their own computer through gameplay.

College and Career Readiness

A champion of the concept of “microtutoring,” where students can get on-demand help on individual topics, Richard Werbe (24) cofounded Studypool, which has worked with more than a million students.

Michael Benko (28) and E.J. Carrion (28) founded an organization that pairs students, including those from underserved backgrounds, with nearby peer mentors via their smartphones, and collects data on how students are using the service to share with schools.

Their approach is similar to that of three cofounders of CollegeVine—Vinay Bhaskara (23), Zack Perkins (22) and Johan Zhang (22)—some of the youngest honorees on the list. CollegeVine also puts students in touch with peers for advice about the labyrinth that is today’s college admission process. Christoper Rim (22) is also devoted to college admissions. But his company, Command Education Group, helps both paying and underserved students gain access to elite colleges.

Katie Fang (26) created SchooLinks, a company that uses “machine learning” and algorithms to help students discover college and career options that suit them—before they get there.

Finally, machine learning company, EquitySim’s cofounder Justin Ling (28) made the list for his work on using technology to remove the bias from hiring practices. Ryan Williams (28), who once worked at Goldman Sachs, cofounded Jopwell, a recruitment service and platform for minority job seekers.

Founders Galore

A gaggle of entrepreneurs, building tools for everything from assessments to student loans and storytelling, round out the 2018 list.

Climb Credit cofounder Raza Munir (29) was recognized for his company’s work in getting investors to buy the student loans of those in high-demand fields.

Yoran Brondsema (28) and Thomas Ketchell (29) created Sutori, an interactive timeline and storytelling tool.

Xiaohoa Michelle Ching (27) was honored for work with her company Literator, which provides schools with data about individual student reading performance.

Metrics also inform the work of Andrew Hill (29), who cofounded LiftED, a startup that helps educators and parents track and shape education goals and results for students in special education.

Boasting 50,000 weekly users, Nick Gavin’s company built Stackup, a gamified browser plugin that helps teachers understand how students are interacting with material they read.

OneClass’ quartet of cofounders—Jackie Li (28), Maggie Peng (28), Jack Tai (28), Kevin Wu (29)—created a comprehensive note taking and study guide database that now reaches more than two million college students.

Aiming to take the hassle out of manual grading, Arjun Singh (29) cofounded GradeScope, a company that automates feedback for instructors and students.

Finally, a few executives made the cut as well, including Andrew Hermalyn (29), who heads partnerships for online degree company 2U, and has been responsible for bringing some of big names to the platform, such as Harvard and UC Berkeley. Edtech investment professional Hilary Shirazi (29), now at LinkedIn, was a force behind her company’s acquisition of skill site

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Anti-terror attack advice for pupils aged 11 to 16 made available for schools

Potentially life-saving advice showing schoolchildren what to do if they are caught up in a terror attack is being made available to be taught in UK schools for the first time.

Young people aged 11 to 16 will be urged to run to safety, hide and tell police should they become involved in a gun or knife attack, in guidance said to go “way beyond the basic messaging” of previous campaigns.

An animated film, partly in the style of a comic strip, urges youths not to “waste time” taking pictures or videos of the scene, but instead to run away from danger.

The film, entitled Run, Hide, Tell – The Story Of Nur, Edih and Llet, and specially-designed lesson plans will be made available to schools and youth organisations from Tuesday.

It also advises young people on what to do should they see something suspicious, and an extra lesson teaching basic first aid is being made available.

The lessons are not compulsory, but schools are being urged to use them to ensure the younger generation is prepared in the “unlikely event” of a terror attack, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi said.

Ms D’Orsi said: “Whilst we cannot make these lessons mandatory in schools, I would strongly urge education providers and youth organisations to consider delivering this life-saving information to the 11-to-16-year-olds in their care.

“We appreciate this can be a difficult subject to speak to young people about, but we’ve carefully designed everything to be age-appropriate and we know from our research that this is information that young people want to be equipped with.”

The video and teaching materials, designed by counter-terror police and the PSHE Association, are available to download via the National Police Chiefs’ Council website.

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