What would happen if we invested $1 billion or more in bold education R & D initiatives designed to generate fresh but evidence-backed solutions to some of education’s toughest challenges?
The Center for American Progress (CAP) and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute hosted a “Shark-Tank” style competition, where ten early-round finalists presented their “billion-dollar Moonshot ideas” to a panel of tough judges, all for a chance to win $10,000 and have their idea propelled to widespread attention and potential major investment. Each finalist’s proposal addressed one of these urgent issues:
- Reducing by half the number of fourth graders reading below the Basic level.
- Doubling the amount of high-quality feedback middle school students receive.
- Achieving universal college and career counseling for all students before the ninth grade.
- Doubling the number of eighth graders who can write an effective persuasive essay.
- Doubling the number of young women majoring in STEM fields.
Our “sharks” were:
- Kumar Garg, Senior Director for Technology and Society at Schmidt Futures
- Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds, Vice President of Policy at ExcelinEd
- Michael Simmon, U.S. history teacher at IN-Tech Academy, NYC
- Sara Allan, K–12 Education Strategy Leadership at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Takeru Nagayoshi, English teacher in the New Bedford Public Schools, MA
Congratulations to our two winners, Jayda Batchelder and Ogden Morse, each of whom took home the $10,000 prize!
- Jayda Batchelder, Founding Executive Director of Education Opens Doors
- Read Jayda's winning proposal here.
- Ogden Morse, Founder & Chief Academic Officer of FineTune
- Read Ogden's winning proposal here.
We were very impressed with each of our finalists' innovative ideas, and think their ideas are worth talking about. Want to know what they had to say? Click on the links below to access each full proposal.
- Anna Utgoff, Founder of Bibliomatic: Speech Recognition for Early Literacy
- Ginger Young, Founder & Executive Director of Book Harvest: Book Babies
- Kareem Farah, Founder & Executive Director of The Modern Classrooms Project: The Modern Classrooms Project
- Lavanya Mohan & Anna Steinbrecher, Harvard Graduate School of Education: Campus Connector
- Lindsey Tropf, Founder & CEO of Immersed Games: Tyto Online
- Michelle Brown, Founder & CEO of Common Lit: CommonLit.org
- Ryan Torbey, University of Texas at Austin: National Robot Library
- Tom Neumark, Founder of Frederick Classical Charter School: Project MARS
A very special thanks to Schmidt Futures for their generous support of this project and for supporting both of our competition winners.
Follow the conversation on social media with #MoonshotforKids.
If you were unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. A full video will can be found on our YouTube channel.
*For more information on the judges and finalists, see this supplemental document.