Can Student Startups Solve the Education Crisis?

Could middle and high school students come up with better solutions than pricey consultants and policymakers?

How do schools ensure that more students graduate from high school and go on to college? School districts usually hire pricey consultants or rely on high-powered policymakers to figure out how to solve education's challenges. Even President Obama has offered his perspective, suggesting that states should raise the age students can legally drop out of school. Now the United States Department of Education’s new National Education Startup Challenge hopes to get some innovative and entrepreneurial help from a previously untapped resource that knows exactly what modern students are going through—students themselves.

Indeed, the challenge wants both nonprofit and for-profit startup ideas from middle and high school students that address four key areas: helping middle schoolers successfully transition to high school and graduate; helping students develop skills for success in college; helping students "choose affordable colleges that best suit student needs, consistent with their education and career goals; and increasing "the likelihood students complete their college degrees on time or early."

In order to participate, students have to choose which of the four areas they want to address through an innovative strategy, product, or service. Next, students must submit a business plan and one-minute video clip of their startup idea. Submissions are due May 1 and will be judged by a panel of prominent educators and entrepreneurs. The winning ideas will be announced June 1. The winners will be recognized by officials from both the White House and ED, and could see their ideas brought to life.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user hectorir


Some beauty pageants, like the Miss America competition, have done away with the swimsuit portions of the competitions, thus dipping their toes in the 21st century. Other aspects of beauty pageants remain stuck in the 1950s, and we're not even talking about the whole "judging women mostly on their looks" thing. One beauty pageant winner was disqualified for being a mom, as if you can't be beautiful after you've had a kid. Now she's trying to get the Miss World competition to update their rules.

Veronika Didusenko won the Miss Ukraine pageant in 2018. After four days, she was disqualified because pageant officials found out she was a mom to 5-year-old son Alex, and had been married. Didusenko said she had been aware of Miss World's rule barring mother from competing, but was encouraged to compete anyways by pageant organizers.

Keep Reading Show less

One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.

It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

Keep Reading Show less
via Sportstreambest / Flickr

Since the mid '90s the phrase "God Forgives, Brothers Don't" has been part of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's football team's lexicon.

Over the past few years, the team has taken the field flying a black skull-and-crossbones flag with an acronym for the phrase, "GFBD" on the skull's upper lip. Supporters of the team also use it on social media as #GFBD.

Keep Reading Show less