Sal Khan Could Easily Be the Bill Gates of Public Education


Theme:–The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (Old-School Flava)

To be profiled on CBS’ 60 Minutes is a big deal. But for Sal Khan it came across as another day at the office. He’s bringing needed innovation to public education. With the help of a few tools, Khan creates user-friendly subject lessons on the Internet. Sal Khan could easily be the Bill Gates of public education.

It all started as a family service. His relative was having trouble in math, so Khan developed tutorials that she could review online. He later quit his job as a hedge fund analyst to focus on this idea full-time. Tech pioneer Bill Gates is so impressed that he’s pouring lots of money into Khan’s social-capital venture.

Khan’s vision holds lessons beyond the classroom. There’re opportunities for more ‘social-preneurship’ around the country. With so many unmet needs and untapped benefits of reversing joblessness and gun violence in the community, we can move beyond select success to help shake broader urban distress.

Sometimes it takes an outside face (or voice) for starters. Khan says “too many people are forced to learn through a system that doesn’t meet them individually.” Sometimes it takes a shift in the user space. It’s like going from 4-way stop signs to traffic lights. The technology creates greater flow at the intersection.

In a way it takes a sense of calling. Soledad O’Brien shows it in her new role after CNN. Some workplace assignments are meant for the right training. There are others meant for the right following. But many of the social or market challenges today require a sense of calling based on service to the human family.


The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (New-School Flava)

Getting on CBS 60 Minutes a big deal. A smart, savvy and larger-than-life feel. With a spotlight on Indian-American Sal Khan. Wonder if Bollywood’s in his plan? With help from a team and some tools. Khan creates subject-lesson study pools. Could easily be the Bill Gates of online-ed rules.

Starting on a family path. His kin was having trouble in math. Building Youtube tutorials she could see. Then others began tuning-in for free. Quitting his hedge fund analyst gig. To do something he really did dig. Landing support from Tech pioneer Bill Gates. Pouring in lots of money to fill his plates.

Khan’s vision for the classroom. Might even apply to the boardroom. Where public education so needs a makeover. And Main Street could use a do-over. Social-preneurship as another way to go. With unmet needs and benefits to grow. Ideas for moving past select success. Dealing with broader urban distress.

From outside face (or voice) on the scene. Working with red, yellow & green. Too many learning through a system. That doesn’t meet the student’s rhythm. Making a shift in the user space. Thinking beyond the 9 to 5 rat-race. Like going from 4-way stop to traffic light. Technology speeds-up the flow and flight.

It’s having a sense of calling. That’s what Soledad O’Brien is showing. Some workplace assignments based on training. A matter of applying formal learning. Others meant for the right following. A matter of what it is you’re selling. But social and market challenges today. Need a sense of calling at work and play.

Tip: Upping your game can mean applying formal learning or directing your social following to pursue a greater sense of calling.

Talkback: How did 60 Minutes or Soledad O’Brien’s CNN Special do justice on innovation in education?

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