kuhf houston public radio
public radio news & information twenty four hours a day from houston, tx
Thursday AM January 20th, 2011
January 19, 2011
by: Andrew Schneider
Reed Hastings is best known as the founder and CEO of Netflix. Fortune magazine named him its 2010 Businessperson of the Year. But before Hastings conquered the home video market, he taught high school math in Swaziland with the Peace Corps. He spoke at Rice University last night on the challenges facing public education. KUHF business reporter Andrew Schneider has the story.
Hastings addressed the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program, or REEP, on the issue of how to maintain high standards in public schools. He says part of the problem lies in a lack of institutional memory.
“The fundamental issue is the school board continues to change, and that naturally creates a role for new superintendents to come in who then want to change direction. And so what we get is going left, going right, going up, going down, over say two decades, without any sustained progress.”
The Netflix chief points to the corporate world, non-profits, churches and the military as examples of organizations that do a better job of focusing on long term goals.
“All of them have self-perpetuating governance — that is, the board members get to pick the new board members.”
Hastings considers the use of charter schools as one solution, holding up New Orleans as an example.