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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard talk with Amar Kumar, founder and CEO of KaiPod Learning, a network of in-person education centers for online learners and homeschoolers, based in Massachusetts. They discuss how the pandemic dramatically changed parents’ sentiments about their traditional public schools, opening the door to wider private school choice options, including homeschooling, micro schools, and pods. Mr. Kumar explains how his experiences in teaching, school leadership, and business drove him to launch KaiPod, and how he is navigating the Bay State’s regulatory obstacles to educational entrepreneurship. He distinguishes between “Zoom school” and the poor-quality remote learning that took place during the pandemic, and high-quality online and hybrid learning. Mr. Kumar shares thoughts on the notable uptick in demand among parents of color for wider private and public-school choice options, and how KaiPod is working to serve at-risk student populations.
Stories of the Week: How much learning loss occurred among college students during the pandemic? We don’t know, because higher education institutions don’t invest in the tools to measure it. In North Carolina, the state’s highest court ruled that state must provide sufficient school funding to fulfill the constitutional mandate that all children have access to an equitable public education.
Amar Kumar is the founder and CEO of KaiPod Learning and has been working to improve education for students around the world for over 15 years. In addition to having been a teacher, a school principal, and a consultant in McKinsey’s Education practice, Amar was the Chief Product Officer for Pearson Online & Blended Learning for seven years. In that role, Amar designed and built the technology and curriculum that served more than 400,000 students in Connections Academy schools and school districts around the country. During the pandemic and through KaiPod Learning, Amar transitioned into an education entrepreneur, creating a new learning environment to support families that are seeking individualized and flexible learning options through online learning and homeschooling. Amar earned a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Purdue University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
The next episode will air on Weds., November 16th, with Alisha Thomas Searcy, the Democratic nominee for Georgia state school superintendent.
Tweet of the Week:
Many states have stepped forward with a range of education savings accounts (#ESAs) 💰 and #microgrant programs to enable families to afford different choices – https://t.co/KjGeiN0Lnu @Forbes pic.twitter.com/IRMtEdmu5P
— Michael B. Horn (@michaelbhorn) November 8, 2022
Higher education’s ‘biggest scandal’ may not be what you think
North Carolina Supreme Court Issues Emphatic Ruling, Demanding that the State of North Carolina Provide a Right to a Quality Education In Leandro v. North Carolina
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