There is something rather unusual about the “30 Under 30” in education for 2018 just published by Forbes magazine.
The list, published as part of a number of lists of people younger than 30 whom Forbes deems prominent in their fields, is almost exclusively populated by people who are in the education business rather than in the classroom, or even in the principal’s office. There is one person who works directly for a school district, Jonathan Garcia, 28, the senior director for strategic partnerships and external affairs in the Portland School District. The rest, well, don’t.
There is, for example, Emily Graslie, 28, “chief curiosity correspondent” for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. She is actually the creator and host of “The Brain Scoop,” an educational YouTube channel about natural history museums.
There’s Shiv Gaglani, 28, co-founder of Osmosis, a health and medical education company that produces animated videos on a ream of health topics that reach, Forbes said, half-a-million health professionals, patients and family members.
And there’s Tony Weaver, 23, founder of Weird Enough Productions, an education technology company that works to combat “media misrepresentation through original content and media literacy education.”
The others on the list are also involved in enterprises that aim at educating people through some sort of organization, as opposed to a school, which in itself is not something to be scorned. The work they do may be incredibly valuable to many people.
The problem isn’t who is on the list. It’s who isn’t. Yes, Forbes is a business magazine, but the 30 Under 30 list in education doesn’t say it’s a 30 Under 30 in education technology, or education entrepreneurship, or education business. It just says education.
Without even a single representative of the several million teachers whose job it is to educate some 50 million kids in America every school day, the list could be read as an indictment of traditional education and a complete disregard if not rebuke of the teaching profession. It is right in line with the “reform” movement seeking to “disrupt” traditional education with technology and big data, which critics say is intent on privatizing the public school system.
Given the judges of the list, however, the 30 winners are hardly a surprise.
The judges, who worked from a list of nominations by Forbes readers, were Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose.org; Stacey Childress, chief executive for the NewSchools Venture Fund; Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America who is actually listed by the magazine as co-founder of Teach For All, a global version of TFA; and Joe Vasquez, co-director of a technology innovation hub called Runway Incubator who was part of the Under 30 class of 2017.