Vesting students as co-owners of schools
In many public schools, learning has been paralyzed by a combination of poor teaching, peer pressures that undercut academic success, and outright disruption of classrooms. More than half of the students entering ninth grade drop out or otherwise fail to graduate from high school in many large North American cities.
Healthier outcomes may emerge in Resilient Communities by engaging students as designers of – and as stakeholders in – a different kind of escape path from under-performing schools.
A new framework for success-sharing
Many states now permit formation of for-profit charter schools, as an alternative to failed or failing public schools.
Although such ventures to date have been typically structured along standard business lines, their equity structures can apply the principles of Open Ventures to vest students and their families with revenue-generating interests.
For students and parents alike, the size of the shareholding and the annual dividends might be linked to criteria such as the following:
- Measurable gains in overall skills during the previous year by the charter school’s students; and
- The success of each student’s chosen peer groups during the year in gaining skills, and/or in staying out of trouble. (Each student annually might make or renew a pact for this with four or five friends.)
Such an approach would help align the near-term, as well as long-term, interests of students and their families with learning success.
Partnering options with virtual charter schools
To meet curriculum requirements, the new actual charter schools could draw upon a growing range of online resources. More than 30 "virtual charter schools" are now offering online solutions to fulfill the standards often lacking in public schools.
Online core courses offered by virtual charter schools could be enhanced, over time, by new material from students versed in new media and the course topics. A growing number of sites such as Connexions and Wiziq enable students to create – and earn revenues from – online learning materials.
These sites, along with similar, downloadable authoring tools, could be used by students to steadily enrich the curriculum offered by the new charter schools and their virtual partners.
As the range of (highly-rated) new learning resources grew, further audiences could also be reached by the interactive online learning system.
Prize-winning content created by students in such new Resilient Community schools could be offered online as a free learning resource for those who remain caught in poorly-performing public schools, and who desire access to higher quality learning opportunities.
Microvoucher donations by Resilient Communities could help public school students in struggling areas to afford after-school internet costs, if they lacked other ways to connect with the new online learning resources.
In this way, new allies of Resilient Communities could emerge in areas that have been shortchanged by poorly-performing incumbent schools.
Awards for the best student-created plans
How can entrepreneurial schools, co-owned by students, emerge?
One option is for Resilient Communities to launch competitions to recognize and reward those who prepare market studies and business plans for schools as Open Ventures.
Outstanding proposals to launch schools that include students and their families as stakeholders – schools featuring results-focused systems to promote peer-learning, and discourage adverse peer pressures – could earn prizes and other rewards for their creators.
The best of the proposals could be the basis for private investors to launch the schools as Open Ventures, with a pre-set equity share for the initial designers as well as for families whose students enroll in the new learning enterprises.
entrepreneurial schools, charter schools, virtual charters, peer learning, eLearning, blended learning, microvouchers, microscholarships, contests, open ventures
This page has been created by the Openworld Team