The GSV Big 10: Dead Poets and Farm Animals
Here's your weekly coverage corner for the top 10 stories, insights, and major plays in learning and skilling.
Amen Brother Ben & Brother Marc! From the idea that people shouldn’t become farm animals due to the consequences of Universal Basic Income, to our need for “purpose” in our lives to bringing market forces into education, we’re glad a16z is bringing their big brains into the game.
As profound as it is entertaining, Maher goes scorched-Earth on the loudest, most entitled members of America’s Ivy League (and Ivy-adjacent) campuses. He eviscerates the hypocritical students who have simultaneously decided that words are violence but terrorist attacks are justified. Elite needs to mean excellence, not exclusivity – if you ask Bill Maher, “Elite schools should no longer be called elite. Just say expensive.”
We love businesses that are addictive but don’t cause cancer, and invisible learning is more effective than drilling and killing. Luis Von Ahn and Duolingo have made learning as engaging and addictive as social media. They have 3 million daily active users with a streak longer than 365 days, and there are more people learning languages on Duolingo in the United States than there are across all US high schools.
Superstar performers in sports and the arts often have the same coach for years and years…the coach knows the student intimately, and the student has trust with the coach. Patrick Mahomes has worked with the same trainer since 4th grade. We should give students the same opportunity through “looping”...the process where teachers move up a grade or more with their students.
The thing the SAT predicts best is how wealthy your parents are, not your intelligence. Kids in the top 20% income quartile are 7X more likely to score 1300 or higher on the test than those in the bottom 20%...kids in the top 1% are 13X more likely. What’s the fix? It’s neither tweaking tests nor eliminating them…it’s ensuring every child gets the attention, affection, and education required to thrive.
There are 4,500 US universities, but there’s only 1 point of view. Universities’ mission is to pursue the truth and teach critical thinking, but that mission has become increasingly under threat over the past decade. It’s time to find a fix.
The world is evolving fast, and so is the way we grade students on what they’ve learned and what they know. There’s no central Ministry Of Education directing what happens in schools, and yet assessment looks the same almost everywhere. We’re not saying we need to give everyone a gold medal, but there’s a big opportunity to assess what students know beyond A’s and F’s.
Spotify flips the script on storytelling. By empowering authors through one of the world's most powerful distribution engines, its audiobook platform could reshape literary culture. Shared playlists can make “virtual book clubs” happen and serialized stories can get paid per episode rather than per book.
Texas' battle for school choice rages on, but concessions may turn victory to defeat. Lawmakers throw billions to appease district interests, while a fraction of students get meager funds. Like the Alamo's defenders, true reform requires courage to aid the disadvantaged majority.
The Free Press
A professor at Spelman College was fired after refusing to inflate grades, despite administrators secretly doing so (Harvard College’s average GPA is 3.8). The school touts "black excellence," but caved to entitled students demanding better marks. Pretty soon, college will become AYSO Soccer where everyone is a champion. Where’s the reward for excellence?