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Title: Startup schools, fast policies, and full-stack education companies: digitizing education reform in Silicon Valley
Author(s): Williamson, Ben
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Editor(s): Saltman, KJ
Means, AJ
Citation: Williamson B (2018) Startup schools, fast policies, and full-stack education companies: digitizing education reform in Silicon Valley. In: Saltman K & Means A (eds.) Wiley Handbook of Global Education Reform. Wiley Handbooks in Education. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 283-306.
Keywords: education technology
education reform
Silicon Valley
policy networks
Issue Date: Sep-2018
Series/Report no.: Wiley Handbooks in Education
Abstract: First paragraph: Silicon Valley technology companies, entrepreneurs, investors and philanthropists are currently engaging in education with considerable enthusiasm. Global technology companies including Facebook and Google have launched major technology platforms for education, and begun investing financial resources in other startup firms. More specifically, Silicon Valley has become the centre for a ‘startup school’ movement which has seen entrepreneurs associated with social media and web companies creating their own private schools as competitive alternatives to state schooling and models for the reinvention of public education at massive scale. In this chapter I analyse the role of Silicon Valley as a major centre of technology-driven global education reform, and focus specifically on ‘startup school’ projects as exemplars of digitized fast policy solutions in action. AltSchool, Summit Public Schools, Khan Lab School, and XQ Super School Project—as well as many other initiatives with which they are networked—exemplify how Silicon Valley’s approach to speeding up education policy involves sprawling networks of technology companies and entrepreneurs, venture capital sources, incubator programs, technology philanthropy, digital apps and platforms, technology evangelists, policy entrepreneurs, and new educational ‘experts’. These actors are creating relational networks of institutions, practices, technologies, money, and marketing, which together function as paradigmatic models of the future of public schooling.
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