"I would use the $100 million to improve coordination among different education services. The majority of schools do not have direct access to all of the kinds of support their students need — whether it's social, like mentoring, or a health check for asthma or vision — all of the things we know affect a student's academic performance. Those resources are not always talking to each other. I would pull together a panel with representatives from each of those agencies and task them with developing a structure to channel their resources. For example, now kids who get in trouble get a probationary officer who ends up being a mentor for that child. But if we just match a student to a mentor the minute he starts to fall behind — before he gets in trouble — it'd be a lot less expensive. Today we're spending more on the students who have already fallen off the track than we do on keeping students on track."
— John Jackson, CEO of the Schott Foundation for Public Education
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A version of this article appeared in the February 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.