Emerson Collective

Shaking up the status quo, one entrepreneur at a time

What we're thinking

Obama Applauds EC’s Efforts to Create High Schools for the New Economy

Emerson Collective, along with leaders in Silicon Valley and beyond, launches a competition to develop the best designs for the next generation high schools. This school redesign initiative will use the best in design thinking, education research and practice, and technology to create new school environments to dramatically increase the engagement and success of currently underserved students.

Read more about the initiative

EC Supports David Pepper for Ohio AG

The race for Attorney General in Ohio is one we ought to watch closely—as our nation’s ultimate swing state, Ohio voters have historically played a key role in presidential elections. In recent years, the state legislature and the current AG have supported measures that make voting more difficult, which could have profoundly negative consequences in the next presidential race.

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Activist Tom Steyer Defends Climate Change Record

We salute environmental activist Tom Steyer’s Politico op-ed that explains his courageous decision to leave Farallon Capital Management to dedicate himself to addressing global climate change.

He states “I could not reconcile my personal values with managing a fund that by mandate is invested in all sectors of the global economy, including fossil fuels.”

Read more at Politico

Scale Smart: Emerson Ideas

By Anne Marie Burgoyne of Emerson Collective

Oftentimes in philanthropy the moonshot question will elevate the notion of how to scale a great idea. Critics sometimes point out that philanthropy is brilliant at seeding pilot programs, but has an uneven track record when it comes to enabling transformative change, or what most of us will refer to as scaling a solution well.

Scale always make for interesting conversation, because it is easy to confuse size of organization with size of impact, easy to value volume of service over quality/sufficiency of service, and tempting to scale models long before they are ready for growth.

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Emerson Ideas: Diversifying Pay for Success Providers

By Anne Marie Burgoyne of Emerson Collective (originally posted at the National Council on Crime & Delinquency)

Pay For Success (PFS) is predicated on capturing future cost savings created by interventions and providing those savings back to service providers—a refreshing and bold idea that rewards execution and good effort. By including impact assessment in the funding model, PFS focuses on concrete and measureable social outcomes after they are achieved and verified.

I like that the PFS approach brings new energy and focus to historically unembraced topics: homelessness, recidivism, workforce development, and foster care, as well as programs that can always benefit from more investment, such as healthcare and education.

But here is the hard part

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Emerson Ideas: Mahlet’s Story – Tell Me More

By Anne Marie Burgoyne of Emerson Collective

Mahlet is in the 8th grade and loves school… She only sees her friends at school, because she has so many family responsibilities, but they seem a real source of comfort and strength for her.

Her mother cannot afford school fees, but this year, someone in her community paid them for her and her siblings.

Will this happen again next year? She does not know.

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Joel Rose: Blended Learning’s Two-Legged Stools

Joel Rose is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of New Classrooms Innovation Partners.

Blended learning is putting students in the driver’s seat of their own education. By leveraging the power of technology, teachers are finding new ways to differentiate instruction and pacing, moving students from passive recipients to active participants in their education.

The promise of blended learning models is that they have the potential to integrate online instruction with face-to-face learning in ways that enable personalized learning for each student.

But fully delivering on this promise is a tall order.

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What we're reading

California AG Kamala Harris to Secure Lawyers for Unaccompanied Minors

AP reports that Kamala Harris, California’s attorney general, is helping secure lawyers to represent unaccompanied minors from Central America during immigration hearings. Harris says she wants “to make sure that we’re giving those children due process of law” and that children as young as 8 shouldn’t have to go through the hearings without the benefit of a lawyer to help explain their condition.

Read more at KCRA

The Children of the Drug Wars: A Refugee Crisis, Not an Immigration Crisis

“Children still leave Honduras to reunite with a parent, or for better educational and economic opportunities. But, as I learned when I returned to Nueva Suyapa last month, a vast majority of child migrants are fleeing not poverty, but violence. As a result, what the United States is seeing on its borders now is not an immigration crisis. It is a refugee crisis.”

Read more the NYT

For the first time in American history, the courts have stepped in and determined that the constitution will mandate a seat at the table for children, even in the face of the most powerful special interests in the nation. But courts can only do so much. Americans are still waiting 60 years later for Brown vs. Board of Education to be implemented with “all deliberate speed.”

Ben Austin

Amanda Ripley: To improve our schools, we need to make it harder to become a teacher.

Amanda Ripley, on a Finnish teacher:

“Without realizing it, she’d grown accustomed to people finding her studies impressive in Finland. There, studying to be a teacher was equivalent to studying to be a lawyer or a doctor. Even though teachers still earned less than those professionals, prestige served as its own kind of compensation—one that changed the way she thought of her work and herself.

Why did the Finns respect teachers more? Well, one reason was straightforward: Education college was hard in Finland, and it wasn’t usually very hard in America.

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