More Examples of the Radically Differentiating Education Marketplace

In a major new three-hour workshop that I will co-present with John Gulla of the EE Ford Foundation at the annual NAIS Conference (Wed., March 1, 1-4 PM; sign up for the workshop before it is full!), we will look at what is inevitable in the transformation of “schools” over the next 20+ years.  One inescapable conclusion, based on current trend lines: the dramatic differentiation of the K-12 education marketplace.  As John has frequently shared, two decades ago, the vast majority (probably in excess of 90%) of students, were educated in one of three types of systems: free public schools, parochial schools that cost $X, or independent schools that cost roughly $2X.

That marketplace has already radically fragmented, with at least the following choices for families:

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This value-based market sorting will continue to increase, as schools seek to attract consumers who have the option to send their students to schools that meet their individual needs.  In just the last 24 hour, I:

  • Spoke with a veteran, now retired, public school superintendent with two grandsons who attend “a hugely rigorous” Stanford Online high school, which they love.
  • Got a Tweet about Inquiry Hub Secondary, a public high school in B.C., Canada, where students take regular classes AND have big chunks of time each day to create and pursue passion-based projects.
  • Learned about nXU, a new collaboration between public and private school education leaders in New York City that will combine a summer experience with a 10-month follow-up for 9th graders.

The idea that “schools” in 20 years will be largely structured as they are today is already busted.  All of my work over the last several years, and that I will be sharing more when my new book, Moving The Rock, comes out in September, points in this direction.  The rate of change in education, as in most of the rest of the world is approaching vertical, and beyond vertical there is nothing left but a step-function break with the past. Preparing for this new marketplace reality provides schools the best opportunity to succeed in a VUCA world. Hoping it does not happen is pretty much a guaranteed plan for extinction.

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