Education Career

I get the darnedest things by email. Today I received an email offering MBA-oriented positions within the Education sector. This is a real group with real reach so if you are interested in impacting public education, you may want to chat with Chaka Booker. The focus of the Broad Residency is to place those with business knowledge and experience in influential roles within the education industry. If you think about it, some of our largest school districts have budgets comparable to Fortune 500 companies. And who is running them? What follows are excerpts from her email.

The Broad Residency in Urban Education is focused on improving public education in the U.S. by placing business professionals into high-impact management positions in the education industry.  Many of the Topparticipants come from top graduate schools (UCLA, UNC, Darden, etc).  Although still focused on placing business professionals into districts and charter organizations, we recently started also placing into federal and state departments of education.

The Broad Residency in Urban Education is a leadership development program that immediately puts participants in full-time paid managerial positions at the top levels of school districts, charter management organizations (CMOs), and federal/state departments of education across the nation.  Broad Residents assume highly visible roles reporting to superintendents, COOs or top cabinet members and earn starting salaries of $85,000 to $95,000 with full benefits.

They lead major projects that require superb analytical skills and the ability to manage projects and teams.  Working within the system, participants are well-positioned to lead the transformation required to ensure that every American child receives a world-class education.  A sampling of Broad Residents’ accomplishments include:

  • Designed principal vacancy forecasting model in Chicago which predicted vacancies with 97% accuracy
  • Reduced district deficit by $3.2 million by increasing operational efficiencies
  • Developed online system that doubled applications to Pittsburgh’s magnet schools

Send Chaka Booker a note if you are interested: cb (at) broadcenter (dot) org

For those of you too young to consider these roles, consider checking out the organization of fellow HPHS alum, Wendy Kopp: Teach For America.

Image courtesy of Les Roches International

Do Girls Suck at Math?


It’s a common refrain both from the mouths of males and females. Yet, what evidence do we have to support this?

Stereotypes (1)A former boyfriend even presented a LONG diatribe about the actual genetic reasons women are bad at math . . . but there’s just one problem. Namely, me.

Or Jill.

Or Heidi.

Or Shanti.

Or Leah.

Or . . .

The fact is, the hype surrounding the idea that women are bad at math is itself, bad math. If you look at the statistics from the experiments that indicate girls as less capable mathematically, they share one thing in common: they rule out the possibility that there is a social element in the testing. Even more telling, the fellas I’ve met who most loudly proclaim that women are bad at math, are themselves, not so good at math, or rather, not as good at math….

The one who presented the diatribe . . . explains how he won a math competition in high school. Dude, I won one in 3rd grade. Seriously.

Let’s bear in mind the realities of a 2 parent home…. Who is making the economic decisions?

Sure guys, of course you are…. Riiiiiight. Over 70% of all purchases for the home from toilet paper to chainsaws (you’ve seen the pink power tools) are DECIDED by the women. INCLUDING the flat screen TVs and Computers. That’s why computers now come in fancy colors. And none too soon.

how_it_worksSmall businesses?

Yeah, it’s the ladies making the financial decisions there too.

So how do you take this “girls suck at math” argument seriously?

Where is there enough common ground to make a valid point?

Alex DiBranco presents a new study from the University of Chicago that indicates girls identify with their weak female teacher role models. Okay, plausible. I don’t like it, but it is plausible.

Still smacks of total lameness.

So ask yourself this, if someone told you that your daughter is ugly. How would you respond?

Angry, defensive, indignant?

Now what if that same person told you that your daughter is bad at math. How would you respond?

Angry or accepting?

As families, why do we accept the notion that girls would be worse at math? There is no legitimate reason for this to be the case. But, 6th grade roles around and all of a sudden girls are expected to roll over. Is that what you want for your daughter?

Women outlive men, make the family financial decisions that have the greatest impact (daily decisions FAR outweigh investing decisions), and really, aren’t all that bad with numbers . . . when no one is watching. If you care about the economic decisions made by the 52% of this country who happen to be female, you may want to contribute some knowledge to the dames.

Less denigration, more derivatives.

Pi, pi, pi, pi, pi
I like mine with lots of Wine
Pecan, Apple, all divine
Expanding that bottom line. (TM)

This is one (of many) iterations of my pi song, sung each time I bake pies. As LBJ would say, share early, share often.

Careful what you tell your children. They will believe you . . . until they realize you’re full of SH*T. And then they’ll choose your nursing home.

Photo Credit

Leadership in Education – Now What?

Leadership in Education - now what-

Leadership in Education is a big concern. The influence teachers have on our kids is immense and immediately powerful. I remember hearing one of my little sisters read her paper on the Iraq war circa 2004 at age 12 . . . it is safe to say she did not get those opinions from my parent’s house. Turns out her teacher had particularly strong feelings about the subject and decided to teach a current events lesson.

What is going on with education in the US? My family has been teaching for generations, elementary school through PhD. Most have been/are teachers, and a few have been administrators. Several have also been business owners . . . both teachers and business owners.

Is education now at a crossroads?

The internet has fundamentally changed both our access to information and our individual ability to provide information. If you wanted to share your thoughts on particle physics, 20 years ago you’d be lucky to find 3 people in your city who want to listen to you.

Now, you can find forums, blogs and social networking communities who want to hear what you have to say. Well, or at least they will put up with you.

This expands opportunities for learning across the broadest spectrum of subjects, yes?

We have the ability to have to increase interaction in education, but are we learning or just talking?

What is the value of education now available?

Looking at college courses you can now choose to attend college formally – as in, show up in person, or you can choose to attend class online. PhoenixOnline dwarfed all educational institutions last year and the year before and … and it made it a tidy profit. PhoenixOnline pays their teachers next to nothing so it isn’t attracting super stars though they do seem to require a PhD to teach. I calculated the pay for one class I was considering teaching and determined it to be $8-$12 and hour when you factor in the requirements on the teachers.

What’s the difference?

With Stanford making classes available online for free, is there any reason to use PhoenixOnline? I wouldn’t expect to get a higher quality product from Phoenix, but Phoenix has one thing Stanford does not. Degree granting accreditation.

So if you want your bachelor degree, you watch the PhoenixOnline version. The courses you watch at Stanford won’t earn you a degree from Stanford. You still have to show up and pay Stanford’s tuition if you want a degree. But you can get the degree much less expensively from PhoenixOnline.

Stanford can afford to offer the courses online because degree-seeking students have already paid to fill the classroom. The marginal cost to provide access to educationally motivated individuals is next to zero $.

We have two extremes. Inexpensive, essentially free education and very expensive education like MBA prep courses and top tier business schools.

From Seth Godin: The newly easy access to the education marketplace (you used to need a big campus and a spot in the guidance office) means that both the free and expensive options are going to be experimented with, because the number of people in the education business is going to explode (then implode)….

Just because something is free doesn’t meant there isn’t money to be made. Someone could charge, for example, for custom curricula, or focused tutoring, or for a certified (scarce) degree. When a million people are taking your course, you only need 1% to pay you to be happy indeed.

What he presents as options in the second paragraph is nothing new. Until you get to the 1% of people paying you. How do you feel about 1% of the people demonstrating a value for your labor?

If I work very hard for 5 years, I earn my PhD in esoteric topic X. If I struggle, stumble and fall gazillion times while launching a company, that may take me 4-5 years as well. Should I, should you, share the fruits of those labors for nothing with the vast majority of consumers? If you do, why would the 1% who might be willing to pay pay?

But, more importantly, from what you have noticed about human behavior, will any of those who do not pay value what I teach?