Why is there so little innovation in education?

What I mean by that is why are so many startup concentrating on creating new social networks, rather than addressing existing problems?

Written Sep 12, 2016

Lots of great answers here. I am particularly intrigued with those dealing with bureaucratic inertia, difficulty in achieving decent ROI, etc.


Slightly different perspective …

I (humbly) suggest that a demographic exists which could blaze a trail for innovation in education —→>> homeschooling.

I recognize that the homeschooling population is a (very) small segment of the school-age population. I also recognize that the homeschool population has traditionally been perceived as mostly a religion-based demographic.

However, I believe that we are experiencing a sea change in schooling, that is being led by homeschooling families. The latest estimate from the US Department of Education (2013) is 1.8 million homeschooled students, approximately 3.4% of the school-age population. It is also estimated that the annual growth rate of homeschooling is 7% minimum. U.S. Department of Education: Homeschooling Continues to Grow!

The same report indicates that “fewer parents stated that their number one reason for homeschooling was because of their desire for religious or moral instruction.” It is my belief that more families are voting with their feet, and expressing dissatisfaction with the current school system. I believe the homeschool population will continue to grow, and will eventually become a political force.

As a homeschool dad, I have witnessed some innovative education in action. Our daughter has experimented with several options:

She still requires traditional lessons – piano, violin, Mandarin, art. Deliberate practice guided by an expert instructor is essential in some areas.

Most interestingly, she has followed her own interests into the field of computer graphics and animation. Although I have offered to get her a tutor, or sign her up for courses at a local design university, she has chosen to learn from other artists on their YouTube channels. She now has her own YouTube channel, with dozens of subscribers. They routinely collaborate on projects, and challenge each other in “drawing competitions”. She also routinely collaborates with other artists in multi-user Skype calls.

Recently, we purchased a VR headset. While this area is in its infancy, I was most impressed. I can imagine a time (in the not too distant future) when students can roam around the Roman Forum (possibly conversing in Latin?); or taking a journey through a cell, or possibly an atom, etc. The possibilities are limitless.

So, yes, I am (more than a little) biased, but I believe the homeschool population may provide a laboratory for innovation in education.