Education Growth Summit, NYC

This week I had the opportunity to spend an eye opening couple of days at the Education Growth Summit in New York City.  This is the fourth year of the EdGrowth Summit, but the first time I have attended.  I am glad I did.

This invitation-only event is unique in the education industry.  It is a gathering of many participants in the P-20 education industry, from educators, to education service providers to providers of funding, from both foundations and for-profit investors.   With the many viewpoints represented, all the ingredients were there for a lively discussion.

Education Growth Partners does more than just provide the ingredients; they combine them in ways that deliver insights.  There were excellent panels that represented different viewpoints and moderators that made sure the important (and controversial) debates were had.  The panelists were all experienced industry veterans with plenty of facts to back up their positions.  These were not the kind of discussions where everyone politely ignores the elephant in the room!

There were also a number of short sessions where entrepreneurs presented their most innovative ideas.  There were some exciting, thought provoking ideas.  It was great to see that despite some of the structural inhibitors to change in our industry, smart people continue to bet their careers on innovative ideas.  Some will certainly succeed.

There was a lot of discussion about the positive impact that personalizing the education experience to each individual can have on the overall performance of the system, from early childhood and throughout post-secondary.  There was broad agreement on the value and many examples were cited.  There was less agreement on how these approaches could scale.  The exciting thing for me was that most people agreed that leveraging clean student level data is essential to delivering personalization in a large scale.  A number of our most progressive customer partners have begun pursuing these strategies over the past few years.  It was gratifying to see industry participants beginning to see the same opportunities.  This should help us build the momentum to deliver the results on an even bigger scale.

It was also an eye-opener to see some startups aiming to unseat this entrenched industry player called eScholar!  I don’t think any of us here feel the least bit “entrenched.”  We bust our butts every day to make sure we are delivering value to our customers and see a long list of valuable things we still want to do, but it’s probably good to know folks are chasing us.  It will keep us running.  ….so much for the days of being “under the radar”….





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