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Category: Education

Racism in America

Racism in America

I. Introduction In August of 2014, a police officer shot dead Michael Brown, a black teenager from Ferguson, Missouri, blowing the lid off a debate about racism in America. Protesters filled the streets, yelling “Hands up, don’t shoot.” The hashtag “#blacklivesmatter” began trending on Twitter. A few weeks before, bystanders filmed a police officer in Staten Island choking to death Eric Garner, an African-American man who’d been arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes. When the grand jury chose not to bring…

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Do For-Profit Schools Give Low-Income Children A Real Choice?

Do For-Profit Schools Give Low-Income Children A Real Choice?

Before reading this, please take a minute to donate to the Ravindra Ramrattan Memorial Fund.  Ravi was killed in the terrorist attack at Westgate Mall in Nairobi on September 21st.  You can read about his story on this blog.   Bridge International Academies, a chain of low-cost private primary schools based in Nairobi, Kenya, was the subject of a recent episode of All Things Considered on NPR.  I would encourage you to listen to it in full, as the cofounder and my…

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M-Prep: Democratizing Education Achievement

M-Prep: Democratizing Education Achievement

Help M-Prep, friends of Develop Economies and cool social enterprise, get to the Unreasonable Institute by supporting them! Anyone who has worked in the education sector in Kenya knows about an exam called the KCPE.  It stands for Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, and it is the most important exam for not only students, but also teachers, school owners, and just about anyone involved in primary education in the country. Students take the exam during their final year of primary school….

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The Problem of Rural Education in the Philippines

The Problem of Rural Education in the Philippines

Note: The following post is from March 2, 2010.  I posted it on my original blog, joshweinstein.wordpress.com, and is, for some reason, popular among people doing research on education in the Philippines.  In the hopes of directing some of that traffic toward this site, I am re-posting it here. In this journal, I have discussed the relationship between education, poverty alleviation, and economic development. The link is critical and the three are self-reinforcing.  Education creates greater opportunities for the youth, who…

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The Promise of Social Impact Bonds

The Promise of Social Impact Bonds

Over the past few weeks, social impact bonds have received a lot of attention.  That is because New York City has partnered with Goldman Sachs to run a pilot program aimed at reducing recidivism among inmates at Rikers Island prison.  But first, a little background on social impact bonds. There are many social problems for which there is no clear-cut solution.  Homelessness, foster care, inmate recidivism, and other issues are often expensive to control.  Programs designed to address them are…

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Why Poverty Persists in America, pt. 1

Why Poverty Persists in America, pt. 1

There are four reasons, says Peter Edelman, author of “So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America”: With all of that, why have we not achieved more? Four reasons: An astonishing number of people work at low-wage jobs. Plus, many more households are headed now by a single parent, making it difficult for them to earn a living income from the jobs that are typically available. The near disappearance of cash assistance for low-income mothers…

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What Do I Think of Education and Bridge International Academies? Pt. 5

What Do I Think of Education and Bridge International Academies? Pt. 5

The following is part five of a five-part post about education in development and Bridge International Academies. In the last post, I talked about how Bridge is able to leverage its economies of scale to both utilize huge amounts of data to make decisions and, once those decisions are made, they can be rolled out en masse.  I will give a few concrete examples of how this works in practice. Last September, we wanted to see whether offering a free…

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What Do I Think of Education and Bridge International Academies? Pt. 4

What Do I Think of Education and Bridge International Academies? Pt. 4

The following is part four of a five-part post about education in development and Bridge International Academies. The first and most obvious criticism of the Bridge model of education is that a scripted curriculum creates a non-dynamic learning environment for children.  The western model of education is presmised on the idea that critical thinking is essential to success.  The very idea of a liberal arts education is a distinctly Western concept.   So, naturally, when people here that our teachers are…

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What Do I Think of Education and Bridge International Academies? Pt. 3

What Do I Think of Education and Bridge International Academies? Pt. 3

The following is part three of a five-part post about education in development and Bridge International Academies The Bridge model is a fundamentally libertarian idea.  It is premised on the belief that school choice is a good thing.  Many organizations, including development titans like UNICEF, believe that education should be a public good, provided free by the government.  This may be true in theory, but, like most development theories, it is rarely true in practice. For example, Kenya already technically…

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What Do I Think of Education and Bridge International Academies? Pt. 2

What Do I Think of Education and Bridge International Academies? Pt. 2

I think that one of the reasons that Bridge has been so successful at innovating has been its willingness to bring in a multidisciplinary team to run the show.  People like me, who have no background in education, but a good deal of experience in other areas, bring fresh ideas to an industry that, apart from certain ed-tech companies and charter schools like KIPP, is not known for innovation.  Our head of operations was the former director of business development…

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