This year’s most innovative education companies are doing their part to level the playing field, from SV Academy’s tuition-free technology training for job seekers, to Saga Education’s free tutors in underserved public schools, to EdNavigator’s educational counseling and planning. At a time when student debt has passed $1.6 trillion (and solutions still feel far off), these companies are offering low- or no-cost assistance to teachers, students, and parents, in the form of planning, resources, and advice.
For letting anyone produce their own master class
Teachable enables experts in any subject to share their knowledge via paid online video courses. The platform helps them set up digital storefronts and handles payments and other logistics. In 2019, Teachable’s 20,000 instructors made $250 million.
Read more about why Teachable is one of the Most Innovative Companies of 2020.
2. SV Academy
For turning 1,200 overlooked job seekers per year into a high-tech sales force, at no cost to them
SV Academy trains and places job seekers into full-time technology sales roles, with an average starting offer of $79,000. Employers pay, so it’s tuition-free for students. In 2019, SV Academy raised $9.5 million in Series A funding. The 3-year-old venture is helping over 1,200 per year land jobs at leading tech companies.
For creating Aida, a mobile AI calculus tutor
This year Pearson launched the first mobile AI calculus tutor, an app called Aida. It doesn’t just show the answers to students—it teaches them how to solve and understand the problems, providing targeted feedback and adapting to individual needs.
For teaching students in grades 2-4 how to resolve conflicts with compassion, empathy, and resilience
In 2019, this leading SaaS provider of corporate HR training partnered with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner to launch a no-cost online curriculum called “The Compassion Project.” The program, aimed at students in grades 2-4, teaches empathy, conflict resolution, and resilience. It was used by more than 13,000 mostly low- to moderate-income schools in the last two years.
5. Saga Education
For closing the achievement gap in math—students learned 2.5 years’ worth in a year—by funding full-time tutors in public schools
Saga’s tutors work alongside teachers in Chicago, D.C., and New York public schools to help students in ninth-grade algebra, a course where a kid’s failure means they’re less likely to graduate from high school. Using a mix of in-person and digital methods, Saga reduces math-course failures by 63%.
For keeping online test-takers honest
Examity is an innovative AI proctoring service for online testing, which assists with verifying test takers’ IDs and uses artificial intelligence to detect signs of cheating. One of the country’s fastest-growing education technology companies, Examity raised a $90 million VC round in 2019. It currently works with Texas A&M, Penn State, Northeastern University, Yale, and the College Board, along with enterprise clients such as Amazon and Cousera.
For helping working families plot their education path
This workplace benefit program, focused on service industry employees, provides personal education advisers to families, helping them meet short- and long-term learning goals. Currently, 21 employer partners support 6,500 working families in New Orleans and Boston.
For educating immigrants on their rights and helping schools draft pro-immigrant policies
Cofounded by Vanessa Luna, Viridiana Carrizales and Lorena Tule- Romain, ImmSchools partners with K-12 schools and educators to support undocumented students and families through services such as professional trainings and know-your-rights workshops, and it organizes for the adoption of immigrant-friendly policies. In its first 12 months, 960 students and their families participated in ImmSchools’ programs.
For cracking the international market on training government workers in such countries as the UAE and Colombia
Coursera allows anyone to pay to take accredited classes from universities such as Duke, Stanford, and University of Pennsylvania, and work through certificate programs with companies such as Google and IBM. Through its Coursera Business vertical it’s moving into government contracts, conducting assessments and upskilling workers in the UAE, Colombia, and more.
For taking on Gaelic and Arabic, two of the most difficult-to-learn languages
After a $30 million investment by Alphabet’s CapitalG in December, the company making the world’s most-downloaded and top-grossing education app is valued at $1.5 billion. In November, it released a Gaelic app eight months ahead of schedule, to coordinate with the UN’s Year of Indigenous Languages, and in July it added Arabic.
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