Week One in NOLA.
So I’m the guy that didn’t go to Washington D.C. for the summer. That’s right it was just me.
That’s not really true. But guess what, I think I lucked out with my internship by not going the typical policy route (i.e., north on I-95).
I work for 4.0 Schools, an education start-up incubator based in New Orleans and New York City. The Education Pioneers program hooked me up with the gig in New Orleans in an effort to give me management experience in the education policy sector. I’m thrilled to be here.
My first week was non-stop learning. I’ve been in multiple meetings during each work day. 4.0 Schools asked me to analyze some data for them, but I needed to get up to speed on exactly what they did first. See, NOLA is unique in the country for its education system. They actually don’t have a school district in the traditional sense. By next year it will be the only major city in America with 100 percent public charter schools. There’s a lot of good that comes with this setup. There’s also many challenges. Not everyone agrees on the best way forward and many feel left out of important conversations. This article on the Newark public schools frames the larger education reform debate pretty well.
This is the place for education innovation in America. Everyone does agree on that. That’s where my company comes in. 4.0 Schools takes folks with budding ideas about how to improve education—say, a plan for a unique school model, or an innovative curriculum for improved teacher training—and gives them the support to transform their ideas into functional prototypes.
Our team is small and we encourage each other to innovate. The office is filled with aspiring entrepreneurs. It kind of feels like I work at the Google of education companies.
And I won’t even start on the education I’m getting in the city…