The GOOD Company Project visits Revolution Prep, a company creating next-generation learning tools for standardized test prep and the classroom.
Why do Revolution Prep's founders care so much about education? Because a college degree is a key to economic success. Americans with a bachelor's degree and higher have a 4.2 percent unemployment rate, compared to 8.4 percent unemployment for people with some college and 9.7 percent for people with only a high school diploma.
Education is about more than personal achievement, however. It's also a key indicator of a successful economy, in which workers are more productive and earn more money. But the United States is falling behind the average education levels of developed countries and failing to increase the proportion of citizens with higher education credentials, which independent analysts say will lead to a deficit in college educated workers as soon as 2018.
Revolution Prep is making a business out of changing that. The company specializes in test prep for the SATs and ACTs—key hurdles in the college admissions process—but with an aim toward inculcating problem-solving skills, not gaming the test. Their innovative curriculum includes online and in-person learning.
Also key is the company's decision to allow students who can't afford the program to pay what they can afford. With college access problems much worse among low-income students, this socially-responsible decision helps level the playing field in college admissions.
The company's founders are now taking the lessons they learned in test prep to develop educational software for classrooms, which have long struggled to integrate technology in a way that augments teaching. Revolution Prep's software analyzes students' performance to identify their personal learning obstacles and shares that information with the teacher, who can then focus on teaching the right skills to the right students while spending less time grading.
That's important not just because of the need to use limited resources to provide higher quality elementary education, but also because our college problem starts in the K-12 grades: Even students who gain access to higher education can fail if they aren't adequately prepared for the task at hand.
With the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness warning that problems in education "pose fundamental threats to our future prosperity," there's no time like the present for a GOOD Company like Revolution Prep to start solving this problem.