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Today’s schools confront significant challenges. Erected haphazardly over the course of two centuries, our system of schooling has been configured to process large numbers of students for lives in an industrial nation, and inertia has largely prevailed despite reform efforts of the past two decades.

In sectors with functioning marketplaces, entrepreneurs can transform the status quo by diversifying consumers' options and introducing innovative ideas that can produce much-needed results. Entrepreneurs are flexible and responsive to the consumer experience, and entrepreneurship done right and cultivated in a supportive environment can produce great rewards not only for the entrepreneurs themselves, but for society as a whole. In an education marketplace, this includes the parents, teachers, and students who will ultimately benefit.

Over the past decade, a small number of remarkable organizations have cropped up in K-12 education that have helped to shape twenty-first century education reform. Despite these early successes, however, very little has been done to draw from the lessons of these early education pioneers to catalyze and cultivate the next wave of entrepreneurship and innovation. Instead, funders, school leaders, and policymakers have turned too often to replicating these aging models without considering how to adapt or improve upon them for future success.

AEI's education team, led by Frederick M. Hess, proposes a comprehensive new initiative, "Edupreneurship: Opening Up The Education Marketplace," that will examine the current state of education entrepreneurship--from promising new ventures (non-profit and for-profit) to challenges of policy design and implementation to future possibilities. Through commissioned research, public convening, and publication of an edited volume, AEI seeks to foster and promote a more innovative and productive education landscape for high-quality entrepreneurial opportunities to survive and flourish.