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Knowledge From the Field

Steering Capital: Optimizing Financial Support for Innovation in Public Education

Published: April 2011

Publisher(s): Bellwether Education Partners

Author(s): Smith, Kim; Julie Petersen

Funder(s): Rockefeller Foundation

View Report (68 pages; 905KB; PDF)

Steering Capital: Optimizing Financial Support for Innovation in Public Education

Area of Focus: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act


The report examines how to improve the provision of capital for entrepreneurial change in public education, emphasizing the innovation ecosystem that surrounds the capital markets. The report defines innovation, describes trends in social change, examines elements necessary to support innovation, and offers recommendations.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

=Innovation is a cycle of continuous learning and improvement that allows ideas to feed off each other and multiply.

=Three trends hold great promise for fueling education innovation: 1) the rise of social entrepreneurs; 2) a corresponding increase in social purpose investing; and 3) intentional market-steering by the government to harness the private sector in social purpose activities.

=The current public education ecosystem lacks many of the components necessary to support innovation: 1) clarity and agreement on the problems, goals, and metrics for success; 2) an effective research and development system; 3) a culture that is evidence-based, with incentives and infrastructure aligned for continuous improvement; 4) data that are transparent, available, comparable, and useful; and 5) robust, diverse, and aligned investment capital.

Focus: National

Subjects/Keywords: Innovation; Productivity; Public Education; Research and Development

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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