CKI is now Stand Together Trust
New name, same vision
On January 1st, the grantmaking of the Charles Koch Institute became Stand Together Trust - where we will continue to invest in social entrepreneurs developing solutions to America’s most pressing problems through public policy, research, and new programs. (Educational programs like KAP and KIP will happen through Stand Together Fellowships). You can see this LinkedIn post from Stand Together Trust Executive Director, Derek Johnson, for more information.
We’ll be doing most of our writing and updates on this new Substack – Permissionless Education. If you’re receiving this in your inbox, it’s because you’ve already been receiving our updates or you recently signed up. Stay subscribed to keep tabs on the work that Stand Together Trust and our partners are doing in education.
Our priorities remain the same
While our name has changed, our vision and priorities remain the same. For K-12 education that revolves around four areas of work:
standardized to individualized
We want to move away from the factory model of education, which was designed for a different time and to serve a different purpose. Don’t believe me? It is clear from historic records that early architects and advocates of the American education system envisioned the system as a way to train young people to fill roles in factories and other manual, repetitive tasks that have long been automated. (More on this in a future post).
Instead, we want to move towards an individualized model of education that’s tailored to help every learner thrive. Not an education that deems the most successful students those who can parrot back what they have been told or read, but one that deems success as a student who has learned to be, learned to know, and learned to do. Accordingly, we invest in:
Influencers articulating an individualized vision for education.
Problem-solvers working on the barriers preventing an individualized system (competency-based education, credentialing, etc.)
Normalizing unconventional models
Parent appetite for individualized education models grew to record levels during the pandemic. Many of these started outside of conventional education systems: as microschools, learning pods, community centers, online platforms, and many other approaches. Many of them were the embodiment of “permissionless education:” families and educators coming together to solve education challenges and innovate at a scale not seen in decades.
We hope to see this spirit grow well beyond the pandemic, so that every family, learner, and educator are driven by a passion for learning and teaching. To do that, we continue to fund unconventional models that:
Are transformative models that reimage the when, where, what, how, and from whom of education delivery,
Have an ability to scale to reach thousands of families, and
Tell a compelling story that can expose new audiences to individualized education.
Ending residential assignment
In American education, there are few barriers as prevalent and unjust as the practice of assigning students to public schools based solely on their home address. This practice – “residential assignment” – is an intentional public policy decision that results in opportunities for some kids, and barriers for others. Stand Together Trust is focusing on this issue through investments into:
Research into the history, practice, and policy that has defined residential assignment
Social entrepreneurs who are focused on breaking down these zones through coalition building and innovative solutions
Communications campaigns that elevate the root causes of the problem - not fixes that workaround the unjust zones
Modernizing education funding
Spend any amount of time studying education and you will inevitably find that the way we fund it is an enormous part of the problem. If you’re skeptical, ask any parent what is spent to educate their child in a public school. Not only will they not know the answer, the administrators likely will not be able to come up with a clear answer. The problem is that funding in all 50 states is far from “per pupil,” it is a complicated amalgamation of formulas that - at most - a handful of people in a state can actually walk you through.
We need a system that funds families - not school buildings - and is:
Based on student characteristics (with students with greater needs getting more funds),
Portable and not tied to one specific school, and
Customizable to meet individualized needs.
We at Stand Together Trust believe that America’s challenges are best addressed by bottom-up solutions and we partner with social entrepreneurs with passion and personal knowledge in their subject area and deep belief in the dignity of all people. We seek out partners who share our vision of a society based on equal rights, mutual benefit, openness, and self-actualization.
If that’s you, let’s connect.