GGF recently hosted the third installment of the “Spark Change, Ignite Impact” conversation series in memory of Hooks Johnston; the series centers on the five interconnected social issues that GGF addresses: education, health, financial inclusion, the environment, and economic mobility. Jide Ayegbusi, along with alumni Karim Abouelnaga, Margo Jordan, and Makeda Ricketts delved into the vital intersection of entrepreneurship and education.
Panelists discussed the need for schools to balance excellence and equity, the recognition that real change in education requires time for measurement and observation, and the indispensable role local community partners play in scaling positive, sustainable changes in education.
Karim, the CEO of PRACTICE Benefit Corp. shared, “The conversation around equity and excellence is getting a lot of heat because it’s hard to do both. Equity says that we need to put our resources towards the kids that didn’t traditionally have them, but with limited resources that means we have to take away resources from the gifted and talented kids who need to be accelerated and pushed.” PRACTICE tackles both issues by partnering with principals, teachers, and parents to close the opportunity gap in urban public schools at the classroom level.
Real change takes time, Karim cautioned the group. He went on to say, “Remember, it takes almost 16 years to go from kindergarten to 12th grade, so you might not see the impact of the things you are implementing today until much later. We must continue to focus on enhancing the classroom environment, and the focus on the kids and educators in them right now.”
Jide, CEO of Edusko, piggybacked on Karim’s thoughts around measuring impact. “Where in Karim’s case he’s focused on improving education environments to improve outcomes and impact, in Africa we have to get more and more kids out of the streets and into the schools and that’s how we’re measuring impact.”
The discussion underscored the importance of opportunities inside and outside the classroom. Makeda Ricketts shared, “no one can understand what the community needs better than grassroots partners, local organizations, and schools. Personalization is huge for kids in technology, so we’ve integrated with local after-school programs, local Girl Scouts, local chapters of YWCA, and the benefits are enormous.” Her organization, PinkThink provides STEM education tailored to girls today, so they can work in those fields tomorrow. “By understanding why kids are dropping out of certain subjects within the systems we’re in right now, we can teach to the pain points and increase retention.”
A heartfelt thank you to our panelists and everyone who participated in this last installment. For those who missed it, you can catch the complete event recording here.
We invite you to join us on Wednesday, 10/18 at 11 am ET for our next “Spark Change, Ignite Impact” discussion facilitated by 2021 Fellow Jeff Kirschner, Founder and CEO of Litterati. This conversation will focus on the roles GGF social entrepreneurs are playing in creating a sustainable and clean planet for all.