By Mike Klein
Matt Candler tinkers. His current tinkering includes building an electric motorcycle. So when Candler discusses public schools it should not be a surprise when he says traditional schools are so far outdated that reform should be bypassed for complete reinvention.
“We are riding a horse and we are having arguments about whether we should change the color of the saddle or whether we should use a different type of leather for the harness,” says Candler, who has worked to help New Orleans reinvent public education after Hurricane Katrina. “Every other country is building rockets and cars and things that move much faster. This to me is an argument for not talking about reforming our schools but reinventing them.”
Using charts and citing several studies, Candler said American students no longer lead the world in achievement when he spoke to our Education Leadership Breakfast on Friday, April 25, at The Georgian Club in Atlanta. The video below is an excerpt from his presentation.
Candler is a man of many hats including former 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games operations center official. After the ATL Games he earned a degree at Northwestern University’s Kellogg business school in Chicago. His education resume includes COO at the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence. He also helped start a K-8 charter school in North Carolina.
Now based primarily in New Orleans, Candler discussed options such as non-school education start-ups, education skunk works, micro-schools, projects with significant private investment and student-led schools. He noted, wryly, “Kids statistically are spot on when you ask them about efficiencies in schools. Go figure! Because they are the consumer they know what’s wrong.”
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 destroyed New Orleans’ education infrastructure. Candler was CEO at New Schools for New Orleans before he became founder and CEO of 4.0 Schools in New Orleans. About 90 percent of New Orleans students attend charter schools and performance has improved. New Orleans students now outperform statewide students in several categories.
Click here to watch a video about Candler and his electric motorcycle!
The Foundation should take a lot of pride in your influence on Georgia governmental policy over the past several years. If you look back on several things that you were crying in the wilderness about several years ago, you will find that Governor Miller adopted them…your influence and your pressure on that process has been a major factor in governmental policy in Georgia. You should be congratulated.