AltSchool is an organization which has taken it upon itself to try and reimagine and reinvent education in the US in order to make it compatible with the world of the 21st century, as well as competitive in the world market. It was founded in San Francisco in 2013 where it currently operates a number of “microschools”, with plans to expand to Paolo Alto and Brooklyn this fall.
On May 3, the organization kicked off Teacher Appreciation Week with a new funding injection of $100 million, coming from the likes of Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan, Emerson Collective, Learn Capital, First Round Capital, John Doerr, Jonathan Sackler, Harrison Metal, Adrian Aoun and Omidyar Network. This new round of funding also includes a debt facility which will help in funding the expansion of AltSchool schools.
When AltSchool was brought to life in 2013, its founder Max Ventilla and his team of technologists and educators wanted to answer the question about what the schools would look like if we introduced the concept from scratch, today. It lead them to envisioning micro-schools with small numbers of students, increased use of technology and brand new ways in which teachers are allowed to do their job and in which they are rewarded for their good work.
Max Ventilla said it himself:
“Our students are coming to love learning – they’re achieving milestones in a way that they and their parents didn’t imagine possible in traditional school. We’ve created a culture where teachers feel empowered and valued and where students and parents feel heard.”
One of AltSchool teachers, Kate Moriarty has this to say:
“AltSchool is not only changing the future for students, but for the teaching profession as well. We are trusted with the freedom to figure out how to best support our class and understand each student’s needs. And if something isn’t working and we have an idea of how to change it, we have a team of engineers ready to listen and quickly implement solutions based on our feedback.”
We have to say that, even though all of this sounds really great, this type of education may be wishful thinking for any wider implementation. It simply requires too much money and man hours and we fear that it will become yet another one of those education alternatives that will be reserved for only the wealthiest down the line.