As I continue to work frantically on my next book about what should K–12 schools look like after the pandemic (and I have exciting news on that front. … The book has a title! It will be called From Reopen to Reinvent: (Re)Creating School for Every Child and should be out in the summer before the next school year starts), I remain curious about what is actually sticking on the ground.
Several of my latest podcasts are exploring that question.
On Future U, we interviewed the president of the prestigious HBCU Morehouse College, David Thomas. Fun fact—when I was applying to business schools, David taught the first class I sat in on at the Harvard Business School and wowed me. He does the same in this interview with his thoughtful responses about what Morehouse and its faculty have learned since the start of the pandemic and what will stick, as well as how their bold moves to offer online undergraduate degrees fit into a larger strategic plan to transform Morehouse. I was also intrigued by his answer to my cohost Jeff Selingo’s question about how they’re tackling the challenges of debt for those who attend HBCUs—and how income share agreements are playing a role. Check out the full podcast here.
To go deeper on what’s happening on campuses in different parts of the country, Jeff and I also hosted another reporter’s roundtable, this one with local reporters who cover the higher education beat from California, Michigan, and Mississippi. Teresa Watanabe from the LA Times, David Jesse from the Detroit Free Press, and Molly Minta from Mississippi Today are all following some interesting storylines and had telling insights on what college looks like on the ground on different campuses in their states. For example, while the University of California campuses are mostly back in-person, a lot of students in the California State University system are happy to stay online. And David Jesse noted that because of its history with online learning and focus on innovation, the University of Michigan was a lot better prepared to go remote during the pandemic than other neighboring schools. Listen to the podcast here.
UMass Goes Global, Officially
Another development, the roots of which were laid well before the pandemic, has finally come to bear its fruit at the University of Massachusetts: the launch of UMass Global—a new online college focused on adult learners. UMass announced earlier this month that it was acquiring Brandman University, which is based in California and presently serves 23,000 students with a robust online, competency-based offering. WGBH’s Kirk Carapezza has the story for NPR on the announcement, and you can check out my thoughts about the acquisition in it.
The school curriculum
What schools should teach is a hot topic right now. With conversations around Critical Race Theory and learning loss running rampant, Diane Tavenner and I tackled the topic of what schools should teach in our latest episode of Class Disrupted here.
2 more for the road
If you’ve been following me, then you know I’ve been saying for some time that states and districts must find a way to offer a virtual schooling option—now during the pandemic, but also afterward for those families for whom it works better and as a disaster preparedness step. Many districts and states ignored this, however—and it’s coming back to bite them as they now rapidly move to offer a remote learning option. Check out this story in The 74 by Christine Pitts and Cara Pangelinan of the Center on Reinventing Public Education to see the latest data and how the story is shifting in, “School Reopening, By the Numbers—How 100 Top Districts Are (And Aren’t) Adapting: Huge New Demand for Remote Learning, Rethinking Bans on Virtual Options & More.”
Also, for those interested in entrepreneurship in education, I’ve really been enjoying the writings and musings of John Danner, now an investor in education technology companies, the founder of Rocketship schools, and the founder of three technology startups. Highly recommend following him at https://twitter.com/jwdanner.
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Lastly, for those who are paid subscribers, I’ll be instituting some new perks once I’ve submitted the draft of my next book, From Reopen to Reinvent: (Re)Creating School for Every Child. And for those who would like to join, you can subscribe here—or write me with any questions.
As always, thanks for reading, writing, and listening.