It is no secret that education in this country is in a state of flux. Scores are low, dropout rates are high, and standards are constantly being changed. There’s constant discussion about what education should even mean in this century. More and more people are homeschooling, not out of religious belief but simply to bring sanity to their children’s education.
Pearson is a big name in education. They produce many of the textbooks and mulitmedia materials used in our schools. The company has been publishing educational materials for more than 100 years. 100+ year old companies aren’t typically the first ones to jump on the startup bandwagon, but Pearson is leading the way.
Yesterday, they announced a partnership with DC incubator 1776. Through the partnership, Pearson will support and collaborate with edtech startups associated with 1776.
In a statement, 1776’s Evan Burfield said:
America’s education system is at a crossroads and a forward-thinking approach is needed to solve many challenges. Pearson is using technology to invent new ways of learning; and by working with organizations like 1776 and our startups, Pearson’s experts not only provide insights around data and technical integration strategies, they can advise startups on effectively penetrating and scaling in the education market.
Edtech is a rocky field, at best. With perhaps thousands of individual school systems across the country, mass adoption can be difficult. Each system has its own way of deciding which tools to use, teachers are often worn out with all the new systems to learn, and there’s always something new to consider. The one thing every edtech startup can guarantee: schools have no money.
Bureaucracy within the school systems rivals only the bureaucracy found in Washington, DC. That makes 1776, located in the heart of the capital, the perfect place to incubate. The folks in and around the campus know about bureaucracy, and they specialize in startups that may have institutional difficulties: energy, healthcare, government, and education.
This isn’t Pearson’s first dip in the startup pool, though. They’ve already partnered with 1776 to identify good candidates for their own accelerator, Pearson Catalyst. With their experience in education and 1776’s experience in startups, there’s a good chance we could see some great things happen in edtech.