Shelby Joe, publisher of Thesis and Co-Founder of Piqosity.com, announced the launch of edTech Houston today. edTech Houston is a group for education entrepreneurs and educators looking to implement technology into their classrooms and curriculums. As an edtech entrepreneur, Joe was looking for a supportive community but was surprised to find Houston didn’t have a well-organized group. Anyone can join the group on its Meetup page or follow its progress at HoustonEdTech.com.
At almost one trillion dollars, education spending in the United States is equal to nearly 6% of GDP, behind only pensions and healthcare, and the consultancy McKinsey & Company estimates that this spending is growing at nearly three times the rate of GDP.
But what has all of this money bought for us? An increasing divide between rich and poor? In Houston, the most significant indicator of an HISD school’s STAAR results is the percentage of students who are on free and reduced lunch (General Academic).
Surely the diverging trend between education spending and success is not sustainable. We can’t continue to ignore the fact that 77% of America’s wealth is held by the top 10%. Nor can we pretend that 22 students in a classroom isn’t 21 students too many.
Similarly, we can’t just assume that throwing more money at the problem through teacher incentives and higher salaries will deliver the paradigm shift we need. And while there haven’t been any good studies, bigger stadiums probably won’t help either.
Education in America is broken. Too many students are getting left behind, bored, or must pay to get ahead.
An influential Silicon Valley group, GSV Advisors, has recommended a revolution:
“We can choose to accept the status quo of a failing education system or we can opt to embrace the transformative potential of technology, re-conceptualize traditional models and invest in building our nation’s education and knowledge capital. This is our call to arms. Which side of history will we be on?”
If you’re here at edTech Houston, you too probably agree that something must be done, that you want to be on the side of history that makes a difference. Technology has revolutionized almost every other industry in America, and it’s high time education had its turn.
Houstonians are humble. Sure we’re the fourth largest city in the United States, but we’re not exactly the prettiest or the coolest. But size gives us scale and diversity. Diversity especially is to our benefit as we seek to develop solutions that work not just for Houstonians but all Americans and even a global population.
We are edTech Houston. We are educators and entrepreneurs who believe in the power of technology to catalyze a sustainable future where everyone gets the individualized education they need to reach their fullest potential.
We can, should, and will be a leader in this edtech revolution.
*Photo of downtown Houston by Henry Han via Wikipedia