Opinion
Education Opinion

Following Up on John Doerr: The Private Sector in Space

March 05, 2008 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Last week I noted venture capitalist John Doer’s presentation to the National Governors Association on Green Technology as a paradigm for the school improvement industry. Doer described the problem – part of which is an entrenched petroleum industry, the technology potential, and what government needs to do to make investment attractive to the private sector.

I heard Doerr’s presentation on CSPAN radio. As I was driving into town for the first day of the Education Industry Association’s annual Washington policy meeting that station delivered up something else worth listening to – The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Space Aeronautics and Related Sciences hearing on NASA’s FY 2009 budget proposal.
My advice is to listen to the hearing as background while you do your desk work. Roughly 24 minutes into the session, Dr. Michael Griffin, NASA Administrator and the committee members begin to discuss the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Project, known as COTS. “The key objectives of the program are to facilitate U.S. private industry development of reliable, cost effective access to low Earth orbit and to create a market environment in which commercial space transportation services are available to government and private sector customers.” (NASA). The exchange lasts about an hour.

What’s to be learned from listening to this? Government-funded NASA is on the verge of loosing our capacity to transport men and cargo back and forth from earth to space. (We already depend on Russia for critical transportation - including emergency and escape activities for the International Space Station.) NASA is managing the contracts with what are in effect, private sector competitors to perform that function. Politics plays a big role in this field. Investor interest depends on what the Congress legislates, the White House makes a priority, and the Agency’s day–to–day decision making. Sound familiar?

As with the Doerr presentation, edbizbuzz readers should listen to this hearing 1) for its pattern rather than its content, and 2) to appreciate that politicians are quite familiar with the class of problem school improvement providers are bringing to the table. The industry’s task is to frame its challenge as a problem like Green Technology or COTS, rather than allowing it to be cast as “when will you stop taking money from the mouths of babes?” But as I’ve noted many times before, it’s much easier to use the former frame if you’ve got the evaluation data to back it up.

The opinions expressed in edbizbuzz are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: July 13, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 15, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 8, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 1, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read