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

English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
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
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

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 Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Education Civil Rights Groups Sue Tennessee Over Law Against Transgender Student Athletes
The state law bars transgender athletes from playing public high school or middle school sports aligned with their gender identity.
3 min read
Amy Allen, the mother of an 8th grade transgender son, speaks after a Human Rights Campaign round table discussion on anti-transgender laws in Nashville, Tenn. on May 21, 2021.
Amy Allen, the mother of an 8th grade transgender son, speaks after a Human Rights Campaign round table discussion on anti-transgender laws in Nashville, Tenn. on May 21, 2021.
Mark Humphrey/AP