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The Coming Paradigm Shift in Education Reform

Instead of ignoring the role poverty plays in hindering student achievement, the next wave of reformers might tackle it head on.

If you hang out with people in the education world long enough you'll quickly find that bringing up the connection between poverty and poor student achievement can start a heated debate. While researchers, wonks, and politicians tacitly acknowledge the effect of poverty on students, the reform conversation usually focuses on school-centered solutions—modifying teacher tenure or creating common education standards, for example. But a national working group, the “Futures of School Reform,” a three-year-old collaboration of 20 prominent education experts brought together by Harvard's School of Education, says the era of reformers discounting poverty could be coming to an close.

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Enterprising Teacher Is Crowdsourcing the Cost of Harvard Grad School

Donors who chip in to send Philadelphia English teacher Zac Chase to Harvard will get access to his educational experience.


After the thrill of college acceptance letters comes the reality of figuring out how to pay the cost to actually attend the school of your choice. One Philadelphia English teacher, 30-year-old Zac Chase, has a creative solution to funding his master's in education policy and management program at Harvard: He's crowdsourcing the cost.

Chase told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the idea came to him because the school he's taught at for the past four years, Science Leadership Academy, has such a strong entrepreneurship and social media focus. He estimates the cost of tuition, room and board at $60,000, so when a merit scholarship fell through and he found that he could only afford to borrow $20,000, the lessons he'd been teaching students inspired his plan to come up with the other $40,000. Chase doesn't want a handout. Instead, he wants funders to consider their donation an investment that they'll get something out of—access to his educational experience. On his "Chasing Harvard" project site, he writes

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