The bravEd Center Business & Small BusinessMemberships

If every business person in America who cares about the future of American public education joined the Center...

...we could get a lot done. The investment of your time and dollars are minimal. Attend the monthly Lunch and Learns, perhaps join us at an in-person event if you can, and engage with fellow business people interested in solving the same problems as you in the Community.

John Tanner's open letter says it all: we have an unprecedented opportunity to fix a decades-old problem and we should.

Thanks for being here.


An open letter from bravEd Founder John Tanner to corporate America

March 2, 2024
The business community has always been one of the more vocal groups when it comes to what is needed from America's educational system. Over the last century the expressed needs have ranged from assembly line workers who show up on time and take pride in their work, to employees with deep and often specialty-driven knowledge, to today, where the new requirements include employees capable of dealing with the uncertainties of AI and anticipating complex problems that cannot yet be articulated. 
What has existed throughout that time is the need for the public to understand the effectiveness of K-12 schools at fulfilling their missions. Which in turn lets the business community fulfill theirs. What has also existed is the sense by many of those outside schools that they don't have what they need to create those very understandings, which makes supporting public schools unnecessarily challenging.
bravEd exists to make sure that never happens again.
The reasons for not letting it happen again are numerous, but one stands out above all others: if an organization cannot be seen to account for where it is now, it will never be able to account for where it needs to go. The risk for any organization that finds itself in that situation is irrelevance or obsolescence, something no organization nor its stakeholders should tolerate.
For decades, the assumption has been that accounting for what matters is easier said than done, especially with an effort as complex as the education of a child. At bravEd we’ve proven that false.
All we had to do was ask. Ask what matters to a parent, a student, and a community. Their answers are predictable. Keep our children safe. Teach them to be noble and fair. Make sure they have friends. Focus on the creative. Teach them perspective and how to deal with uncertainty. They get to academics, but not for a bit.
These things that matter to parents and communities aren’t pie in the sky ideas, or merely aphorisms made by loving parents. They are far more than they might appear to be at first glance.
In a 2021 report, McKinsey and Company outline the skills that students will need to work in high paying, highly satisfying jobs, as identified by the business community and research specific to those skills. What is remarkable is how familiar the bravEd team was with the list having never seen it. Because the McKinsey list and the list compiled by bravEd from what parents and communities all over the country say matters are virtually the same.
It turns out that as a society we share an awareness of the benefits that will best serve a young person, no matter our role.
Where a gap exists—and it is a massive gap—is that what students, parents, communities, and the business community identify as what matters is not what matters in our formal accountability systems. That gap in accounting for what matters can't be allowed to persist. It causes the world to distrust public education, it makes innovation virally impossible, and it leaves schooling rooted in a past that will never again exist.
We, all of us, now have an opportunity to come together around what matters. The fact that what matters now matters the same to all of us is an opportunity we should take advantage of.
Here’s something else: we don’t need permission or a policy change to account for what matters. Which means we can and should do it now. But that doesn't mean we should do nothing about a set of policies that orient the world's gaze to a very narrow piece of what matters. We should.
It is a goal of the Center to one day get to the policy piece, and we will, but to wait for a policy change to do the right thing, when the right thing is doable now, would be foolhardy. Every business member who joins and learns what is possible in accounting for what matters in a school gets us a step closer to a better accountability, as well as a better set of policies.
Please join the bravEd Center as a Business Member. It was designed as a space for productive dialogue among those for whom education is a priority, and your involvement will be key to getting to a better place. We have an opportunity to align our interests that has not existed before and taking advantage of that fact could be transformational for all of us.
John Tanner
Founder, bravEd