20 Years of Impact

K–12 Education

In 2003, HBS launched an MBA elective course focused on entrepreneurship in education reform and cofounded the Public Education Leadership Project (PELP) in collaboration with the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This multiyear research project focuses on the management levers needed to create and sustain high-performing K–12 public school districts in the United States.

Over the last decade, these efforts have resulted in vast research output, including more than 30 case studies focused on adapting and applying management concepts within urban school systems to drive improved performance and on using entrepreneurial strategies to effect systemic change in K–12 education.

MBA Course Spotlight: Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovations in Education

Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovations in Education (formerly Entrepreneurship in Education Reform (EER)) explores how entrepreneurs are applying business practices and technology innovations to transform K-12 education in ways that can lead to higher performance. Prosperity and competitiveness of nations are closely linked to the educational outcomes of its citizens; individual educational performance, as early as third grade, can predict life outcomes. Despite ranking in the top tier in per pupil spending, the US continues to lag by virtually every international measure of proficiency. Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovations in Education looks at ways in which the entrepreneurs are attempting to transform the future by 1) introducing technology and other innovative approaches to reimagining the classroom school model, and 2) applying market and business principles such as school choices for customers to force change on the public system and lead to higher performance.

“EER It exposed me to an entirely different sector of business and operations that I had not previously studied. This was very influential in how I approached other classes thereafter”

Michael Kerin Director of Facilities, Achievement First IncMBA 2009

John JH Kim Senior Lecturer

“Business practices and technology innovations have not yet been introduced in public education in a way that brings about sustainable performance.”
 
 
 

Alumni Making an Impact

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Shannah Varon Executive Director, Boston Collegiate Charter SchoolGoldsmith Fellow, Summer FellowMBA 2009

“I knew I wanted to be a school superintendent one day, and that I'd need good management and problem-solving skills. That's what brought me here.”

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Katie Cunningham Managing Director of Recruitment, Teach for AmericaSummer Fellow, Leadership FellowMBA 2003

“...where I'm at right now is a great intersection of management, strategy, and marketing, and it's very concrete in terms of goals.”

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Stig Leschly CEO, Match EducationMBA 1997, JD 1998

“Over the next 15 years, the goal in our schools is to really break through to a situation where we can truly prepare kids for high-level college education and, eventually, livelihoods ... because then you can break the cycle of poverty.”

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Featured Research

Note

2003

Leschly, Stig. Note on Organized Labor in U.S. Public Education Harvard Business Publishing Note, July 2003. Subjects covered include: labor unions.
Note

2003

Leschly, Stig. Note on School Choice in U.S. Public Education Harvard Business Publishing Note, November 2003. Subjects covered include: government policy.
Note

2004

Childress, Stacey, Richard Elmore, Allen Grossman, and Caroline King. Note on the PELP Coherence Framework Harvard Business Publishing Note, November 2004. Subjects covered include: implementing strategy and improving performance.
Working Paper

2005

Childress, Stacey, Richard Elmore, and Allen Grossman. "Promoting a Management Revolution in Public Education," Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 06-004, September 2005.
Note

2006

Leschly, Stig and Stacey Childress. Note on Student Outcomes in U.S. Public Education Harvard Business Publishing Note, October 2006. Subjects covered include: entrepreneurship and social enterprise.
Note

2006

Leschly, Stig and Stacey Childress. Note on U.S. Public Education Finance (A): Revenues Harvard Business Publishing Note, October 2006. Subjects covered include: entrepreneurial finance, financial analysis, government policy, and models.
Note

2006

Leschly, Stig and Stacey Childress. Note on U.S. Public Education Finance (B): Expenditures Harvard Business Publishing Note, November 2006. Subjects covered include: entrepreneurial finance, entrepreneurship, financial analysis, government policy, leadership, and models.
Article

2006

Childress, Stacey, Richard Elmore, and Allen Grossman. "How to Manage Urban School Districts," Harvard Business Review 84, No. 11 (November 2006).
Book

2007

Childress, Stacey, Richard F. Elmore, Allen S. Grossman, and Susan Moore Johnson, eds. Managing School Districts for High Performance: Cases in Public Education Leadership. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press, 2007.
Book

2008

Michael B. Horn, and Curtis W. Johnson. Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. Christensen, Clayton M., McGraw-Hill, 2008.
Book

2009

Childress, Stacey M., Denis P. Doyle, and David A. Thomas, with a foreword by David Gergen. Leading for Equity: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Montgomery County Public Schools. Harvard Education Press, 2009.
Working Paper

2010

Investing in Improvement: Strategy and Resource Allocation in Public School Districts (Stacey Childress, 2010) Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 10-057, January 2010.
Book

2010

Childress, Stacey M. (ed.). Transforming Public Education: Cases in Education Entrepreneurship. Harvard Education Press, 2010.
Note

2013

Kim, John J-H, Geoff Marietta, and Annie Wheeler. Note on Charter Schools Harvard Business Publishing Note No. 313-104, February 2013. Subjects covered include: education and industry.

Classic Cases

Aligning Resources to Improve Student Achievement: San Diego City Schools (A), (Honan, James P., Stacey Childress, and Caroline King, 2004). Subjects covered include: change management, implementing strategy, leadership, and resource management.

KIPP National (A), (Leschly, Stig, 2004). Subjects covered include: business ethics, entrepreneurship, expansion, leadership, and social enterprise.

Learning to Manage with Data in Duval County Public Schools: Lake Shore Middle School (A), (Grossman, Allen, James P. Honan, and Caroline King, 2005). Subjects covered include: decision making, leadership, and performance measurement.

Teach for America 2005, (Childress, Stacey, 2005). Subjects covered include: entrepreneurship and strategic planning.

Long Beach Unified School District (A): Change That Leads to Improvement (1992—2002), (Austin, James E., Robert B. Schwartz, and Jennifer M. Suesse, 2006). Subjects covered include: change management, corporate governance, leadership, organizational change, and succession planning.

Frederick Douglass Charter School: The Renewal Decision, (Childress, Stacey and Debbie Kozar, 2006). Subjects covered include: accountability, corporate governance, entrepreneurship, leadership, performance appraisals, social enterprise.

Race, Accountability, and the Achievement Gap (A), (Karen L. Mapp, David A. Thomas, and Tonika Cheek Clayton, 2006). Subjects covered include: accountability, African Americans, diversity, Hispanic Americans, minority and ethnic groups, and organizational structure.

Wireless Generation, (Childress, Stacey, 2006). Subjects covered include: product development and strategy.

Compensation Reform at Denver Public Schools, (Grossman, Allen, Nancy Dean Beaulieu, Susan Moore Johnson, and Jennifer M. Suesse, 2007). Subjects covered include: accountability, compensation, leadership, organizational change, and unionization.

Managing the Chicago Public Schools, (Elmore, Richard, Allen Grossman, and Caroline King, 2007). Subjects covered include: change management, improving performance, price differentiation, strategic alignment, and strategy.

St. HOPE Academy: The Expansion Decision, (Childress, Stacey and Alison Berkley Wagonfeld, 2007). Subjects covered include: business growth and entrepreneurship.

A Problem-Solving Approach to Designing and Implementing a Strategy to Improve Performance, (Childress, Stacey and Geoff Marietta, 2008). Subjects covered include: continuous improvement and problem solving.

Focusing on Results at the New York City Department of Education, (Childress, Stacey and Tonika Cheek Clayton, 2008). Subjects covered include: implementing strategy, organizational learning, and price differentiation.

Pursuing Educational Equity at San Francisco Unified School District, (Childress, Stacey and Robert Peterkin, 2008). Subjects covered include: implementing strategy, improving performance, and resource management.

Taking Human Resources Seriously in Minneapolis, (Johnson, Susan Moore and Geoff Marietta, 2009). Subjects covered include: change management, education and industry, human resource management, implementing strategy, organizational culture, and organizational learning.

Investing in Early Learning as Economic Development at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, (Childress, Stacey and Geoff Marietta, 2009). Subjects covered include: children & youth, cost analysis, demand analysis, economic development, economics, entrepreneurship, and nonprofit organizations.

Meeting New Challenges at the Aldine Independent School District, (Childress, Stacey, Allen Grossman, and Caroline King, 2011). Subjects covered include: leadership, performance management, strategic alignment, and strategy.

Baltimore City Public Schools: Implementing Bounded Autonomy, (Grossman, Allen, Susan Moore Johnson, Elisha Brookover, 2011). Subjects covered include: organizational change and organizational culture.

Career Pathways, Performance Pay, and Peer-review Promotion in Baltimore City Public Schools, (Johnson, Susan Moore, John J-H Kim, Geoff Marietta, S. Elisabeth Faller and James Noonan, 2013).