Risks and Rewards of Education Entrepreneurism with Jack Leonard
America has a long tradition of entrepreneurism, which is admired around the world. The entrepreneurial leadership style is central to our American democratic image as the land of opportunity. And in K-12 schooling, hardly a day goes by without an appeal for entrepreneurial leaders who can "think outside the box." However, there is also widespread skepticism about entrepreneurism in education, which often implies larger-than-life leaders who are willing to take questionable risks in a fiercely competitive market - hardly the ideal environment for children. Large-scale educational challenges, such as college readiness, the achievement gap and serving increasing numbers of English language learners are not technical challenges, which can be addressed with current know-how, but adaptive challenges, which call for out-of-the box thinking - the greatest strength of entrepreneurial leadership. Is there a place for this kind of leadership in public education? This leadership style has many manifestations and a more sophisticated conceptualization will allow more informed judgment on the perils and promises of this leadership style. A review of 100 years of literature from the fields of business and social sciences sheds light on the entrepreneurial leadership style. The spirit of entrepreneurism has an essential place, which must be understood and restored in public education.