Jobs and Stimulus

I enjoy living near Washington, DC. However, there are a few things the city has way too much of:

  1. Traffic
  2. Tourists
  3. Humidity
  4. Policy events (otherwise known as forums, panels, roundtables, or any number of other wonky terms)

Regarding #4, I’ve gone to many of these over the course of my professional life working in the political and public policy arena in DC. Some have been stellar; others are stab-your-eyes-out boring. And when the topic is education policy, well, it’s always a gamble.

Fortunately, the policy event I attended recently at American Enterprise Institute (AEI) was well worth fighting the terrible traffic and camera-flashing tourists to attend (mercifully, there is no humidity in January).

The event was titled, Education Reform: Reviewing the Obama Administration’s First Year. At the center of the debate was the question of whether the primary goal of the approximately $100 billion of federal funding for education in the massive stimulus bill (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) was intended to 1) protect and/or create jobs, 2) promote immediate and significant reforms in public education, or 3) a mixture of both; and whether the education stimulus has been a success or failure to date.

I won’t summarize all of the arguments. But it struck me that while there remains honest questions of whether the federal government’s investment (stimulus) dollars has accomplished either of the goals stated above, there is no doubt that K¹² has nailed both through its investments.

After just ten years, during which the company leveraged more than $95 million of private investment capital, K¹² has created jobs for hundreds of talented individuals; recruited, hired and trained more than 2,000 professional online school teachers across the countrymany of whom may not be teaching today were it not for K¹²; and has unquestionably made a significant and lasting impact on education reform and innovation. K¹² has driven the emerging field of online schooling as the leader in the industry and, most importantly, helped give tens of thousands of children a high quality public school option they never had before.

It’s one of the many reasons I love working here… even though the traffic is horrible.

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