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#AskExcelinEd: How My Mom and Dad Inspire My Work in K-12 Education Reform

My parents immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia almost 40 years ago. They raised my five younger siblings and me to understand and appreciate the possibilities that stem from being well educated. I am grateful for the unrepayable sacrifices they have made to help us realize our potential, and I admire their efforts to create opportunities for many other children to do the same. I often reflect on their example and continually strive to emulate it both personally and professionally.

#AskExcelinEd: Why I work to give all students the same educational opportunity I had

I received my education via multiple avenues across multiple state lines: traditional public school, online charter school, private parochial school, homeschool and a private university. Through these experiences, I realized how important flexibility and choices are when it comes to education. At different points in my education, I had different needs. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to have those needs met. As a policy analyst at ExcelinEd, my work focuses on making sure other students have that same opportunity.

What role does state policy play in the portfolio model?

What role does state policy play in the portfolio model? The short answer: you won’t have great portfolio cities without supportive state policy. But first, let’s set the context. Neerav Kingsland announced last week the formation of an education supergroup called The City Fund. The City Fund’s mission is to expand educational opportunity for all […]

What is the portfolio model?

Last week, Neerav Kingsland announced the formation of The City Fund, a $200 million fund to support cities “to increase educational opportunity for all children.” Though Neerav doesn’t mention the “portfolio model” in his announcement, Chalkbeat speculates that The City Fund will fund portfolio models across the country. I think their work will be a […]

Funding What Really Matters: New Education Financial Modeling Tool for Policymakers

When you want to get results, you measure outcomes instead of inputs. And education is no exception. Across states, there is a growing interest in funding the outcomes of education, as opposed to the inputs. For many, it is more sensible to pay for what really matters: outcomes in terms of student performance and success, […]

#AskExcelinEd: What I’ve Learned about Humility, Innovation and Education Reform

This summer, I have been looking at the various ways innovation is defined and the many ways the word is used or framed. Simultaneously, I have been reflecting on our nation’s journey toward education reform. Both of these efforts have lead me to one conclusion—we all need greater humility.

Research Shows Middle Class Needs School Choice Too

This blog originally appeared in Education Next on August 2, 2018. New research just published by Education Next indicates that enrollment in private schools is falling among middle-income students, while high-income and low-income student enrollment in private schools is holding steady. A closer look reveals that private school choice programs are keeping the private school […]

#AskExcelinEd: Why I Aim to Lose at Least Once Every Day

My goal every day is to lose at least once. Days spent only compiling wins are days we didn’t do anything daring. And as education reformers, we are warriors for daring disruption and detangling what stands in the way of students reaching their greatest potential.

Recommended Reading – Better Together: How to Leverage School Networks for Smarter Personalized and Project-Based Learning

Two minds are better than one. A tried and true adage that reminds us challenges are easier faced when working together. In their new book, Better Together: How to Leverage School Networks for Smarter Personalized and Project-Based Learning, authors Tom VanderArk and Lydia Dobyns spotlight the growing expansion of networks as a support mechanism to expand […]

#AskExcelinEd: Why I Work to Expand Access and Equity for Students

I’m based in D.C., but I claim Florida as my home state. I work on Course Access for ExcelinEd’s Innovation policy team, and believe that it is critical to provide student’s with access to the opportunities they need to be successful.