IEI Fall Retreats bring District Leaders and Edtech Companies Together Safely

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By Sara Croll, IEI Director of Marketing

As the pandemic hit last March, we were all lost, confused, and worried. We listened to the experts, tried to make sense of the future of the country, and especially the future of education. We organized our families first by creating homeschool environments and schedules to balance home and work, but then we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

Many of our partners were struggling to keep their businesses afloat, and they were navigating how to appropriately reach out to superintendents during this very challenging time. Their goal was to be helpful and supportive, but not overbearing. We heard their needs and saw their struggle. On the other hand, we also listened to our superintendent members. We took note as they expressed frustration, and we admired them as they continued to lead with enthusiasm, empathy, and transparency during such an unusual time. …

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July 24–25 “Reopen Schools with Equity” Symposium Free Registration for any district leader

The image above surely causes a visceral reaction for any educational leader associated with IEI. Rows of desks designed for students to sit and get, spaced from each other, which looks like fewer and fewer classrooms in American schools each year. An empty classroom that IEI superintendents are being charged with figuring out how to fill while also following the onerous guidelines from the CDC. …

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Educators should be asked to help re-imagine NY Schools.

By Doug Roberts, Institute for Education Innovation Founder/CEO

IEI is based in New York and we have a strong delegation of member superintendents from here. Most New Yorkers I know of all political stripes think that Governor Cuomo has handled this crisis pretty well, all things considered. Then, yesterday, the Gov dropped the “GF” words on us. No, not “Gluten Free”, though I must admit that Gluten has been one of my primary coping mechanisms for the quarantine.

Gates Foundation.

Specifically, the Governor said that he is working with Bill Gates to “reimagine” NY’s public schools. Understandably, this sent shudders throughout all of NY Public Education-dom. The Gates Foundation has brought us all kinds of “reforms” in public education. We had a push for breaking large schools into small ones; we have Common Core; we’ve had efforts to improve Teacher Effectiveness. What have all these had in common? No measurable impact on student outcomes. What else have they had in common? Billions of philanthropic $$ spent that could have been redirected to the school agencies that desperately need those funds. Here we are today, with districts across NY and the nation scrambling to get access to hotspots or LTE-enabled devices so kids who don’t have internet at home can try to keep pace with their wealthier classmates. The idea that there is time and space to spend billions on experiments is kind of crazy, but what’s heartbreaking is that it happens anyway. Why? Human nature. The boss’s jokes are always funny. You always want to be friends with the people who have the money. If the billionaire philanthropist wants to try something out in your district, it’s hard to say “no.” …


Doug Roberts

Doug partnered with some of the nation’s most innovative educational leaders to form IEI as a think tank that solves challenges facing kids in US public schools

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