Last year, Jamie Herre and Kate Blumberg were confronted by a dilemma. Their young son, Benno, had reached kindergarten age, and it was time to pick a school for him. Yet like many other members of San Francisco’s affluent class of technologists and entrepreneurs, Jamie and Kate could not purchase for Benno the one thing they wanted more than anything else: a good public education.
In most parts of the country, this transaction takes place through the real estate market: You find a good school and buy a home nearby. The better the school, the more expensive the home. But the San Francisco public school system, which includes high-performing and struggling schools, uses a complicated lottery system for admissions that doesn’t guarantee spots in neighborhood schools. Chance, not your address, determines where your children go.
Jamie and Kate wanted to raise Benno in the city. Aware that the lottery might not go their way, they started to explore alternatives to public school. Like any city, San Francisco has a complement of traditional private schools that cater to the local elite. But they, too, can be hard to get into. So Jamie and Kate began exploring the host of education-related start-ups and experiments in the Bay Area that are based on the idea of transforming schools through the use of “disruptive” new technologies. Among them is a company called AltSchool, founded in 2013 by a former Google executive named Max Ventilla. Kate stumbled across a link to the company one day and sent it to Jamie, who was intrigued. Read more: click on title or image.
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Via Ian Harris