The challenges faced by America's youth within the current school system come concurrent with the dramatically changing economy of the 21st century - where many jobs are, or will soon be, obsolete. There are also millions of jobs requiring technical or specialized training that remain unfilled today, which makes the education of our future workforce an American imperative.
RIDGE-LANE LP has significant experience in the K-12, post-secondary, college/university, and workforce training environments. We have experience identifying pockets of excellence in public and private schools and scaling them for impact. We have also deployed innovations in technology, curricula, and instruction in these environments.
We are committed to a future in which 50 million students don’t just graduate each year – but enter the world with the passion, purpose, and skills to build a quality life.
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES & THEORY OF CHANGE
Bridging the gap between Research and Practice. Learning science has advanced tremendously over the past 10 years; but its leap from academic research into education practice has been sparse. Combined with the exponential innovations in technologies, there exist tremendous opportunities to transform education – the curricula, classroom environment, and pedagogical design. We are excited by the opportunity to deliver tangible student outcomes, with the development of products, services, and curricula grounded in scientific research.
Transforming K-12 Education. The system needs an overhaul to focus on a mission of empowering students and developing useful human potential. We need to take a careful look at what’s working in K-12 education – defining the initiatives and technologies that are helping students succeed, eliminating the waste, and scaling the solutions that show outcomes where the data suggests it would positively affect more lives across society. Including: is the brain stable and able to focus on the information being presented in the first place (or not), the learning environment, curricula, method of instruction, the role of the teacher, testing vs. projects, and other foundation areas of teaching and learning.
Enhancing Higher Ed: Closing the Knowledge & Skills Gap. Achieving success in today’s hyper-fast economy requires different skills and new progressive approaches. While change accelerates throughout the world, many colleges and universities are failing to embrace the evolution required to prepare their students to be successful in the real world. Lectures and case studies, delivered by academic professors with limited practical experience, fall short of delivering the skills necessary to thrive. A supplementary source of knowledge, with perspective from practitioners, based on our modern and rapidly changing 21st Century economy – would demystify important questions and democratize access to valuable information, and would take students on a proactive journey to define what information is actually important and useful for them to learn, what they’re passionate about, what they are (or could become) uniquely talented at, what the World needs, how to create value for society, and get paid in return for it.
Developing the Workforce. Our modern economy is changing – from agricultural, to industrial, to information / knowledge – but our workforce that supports it is not keeping pace. Only a third of jobs in America require a college degree. Entry level jobs have shifted from manufacturing to service. Executive level jobs have shifted from Management to Strategy & Innovation. Millennials are switching jobs 8 – 15 times in their careers. Companies spend $1.5 trillion to train, retrain and develop employees — educating more people than any other part of the education ecosystem. Success in real life depends less on learning isolated content and more on the persons’ ability to deliver on a task, or to solve a varying degree of challenges. Our education and training programs today need to reflect this reality.
Aligning Financial Incentives. Creating a structure where all stakeholders – people, companies and schools – are incentivized to drive student outcomes in the classroom, with practical application in the real world. And the ones who succeed in doing so have an economic return that is aligned and congruent with the value created, which is a key to sustainability for the macro system. In prioritizing student outcomes over profit-motive, we don't have to sacrifice education or learning for business and profits. People and companies who start with profit in mind usually fail, often quickly. Those that start with value first, often end up creating profit by default. It's a pull mechanism rather than push. Capital markets will reward real value immediately when given a choice. Instead of financial arbitrage, let’s commit to value-creation.
Professional Development: Educator Leadership. With 80-85% of school and school districts budgets allocated to staff, leadership capacity must be developed at all levels within the organization. Schools and school districts who focus strategic efforts on developing leadership capacity across all sectors of the system will reach long-term goals quicker with the capacity built to sustain outcomes. Most high functioning systems have built in opportunities for planning, improving and collaboration as well as leadership development.
Appropriate Utilization of Technology. Technology is instrumental to the success of so many of today's industries, including education. However, an estimated 21 million U.S. students still lack access to high-speed internet in their schools. We need to equip our classrooms with an infrastructure that can provide each student access to the education resources they need to succeed. Expanding connectivity and access to computer devices in schools are essential for developing effective individual learning pathways.
Procurement & Learning Efficacy: Data, Analytics, Review and Improve. There has been a significant increase in private-sector investment and innovation aimed at improving all aspects of education. Yet most of it is unproven. Administrators and their staff frequently don’t have access to quality information that inform purchasing decisions and aren’t incentivized to innovate or take risks. Studies have shown that many educators act, more than any other reason, based on personal recommendations from other educators vs. evidence of effectiveness. Educators need better tools and knowledge on how to conduct rapid cycle, rigorous, evidence-based evaluations of their curricula.
Personalized Learning: The Whole Child. The majority of content, curricula, and the pedagogy of instruction is designed for “one-size-fits-all” when we all know that each student is highly unique, both in their interests and in effective learning styles. Personalized learning software can provide students with real-time learning feedback and guidance by continually assessing their knowledge in each course, assessing their mastery of key concepts and providing that insight to educators, allowing them to customize the learning process in a way that optimizes their cognitive capacity and education outcomes.
Life-Long Learning. Education is front-loaded, but learning is a life-long endeavor. The workplace is changing more rapidly today than ever before, and employers are in need of highly-developed talent. Meanwhile, college graduates want to advance professionally, but are realizing they do not have the career-relevant skills that the modern workplace demands. People need access to timely, relevant forms of knowledge, outside of the traditional university setting, that provides them with knowledge on-demand to advance their careers in a flexible, accelerated and affordable way. The advancements in technology, globalization and the reshaping of industries are both a threat and opportunity to fundamentally change how the modern professional continues to succeed in a fast-paced, ever-changing economy.
Public-private partnerships as well as innovations in technology, curricula, and instruction that are student-centric, grounded in science, and business-led could transform the industry, student achievement, the economy, and ultimately society.