Announcements, Press Releases
Pedal to the Metal in Miami
November 28 - December 1, 2022
Florida is known as the Sunshine State, but it was 32 STOP-enabled semifinalists who truly shined during our fast-paced and jam-packed Accelerator to the $1 million Yass Prize this past week. From California to Vermont and everywhere in between, education innovators said they “learned how we can do even MORE for our students” with “insight on how we can all continue our journey to change the world.” Another said: “Enlightening doesn’t even come close.”
Jeb Bush reminded everyone to focus on literacy and that parents are students’ “first teachers.” Bitcoin backer and education entrepreneur Michael Saylor encouraged semifinalists to be intentional about equipping students with techniques for what’s in-demand and to inspire students to create what can be automated so it can be spread further and faster. “If you have a brilliant teacher or classroom experience that is performing for students they care about,” Saylor said, “put a camera on them and the class”—and make it available to the world. Saylor’s own free Academy serves more than 1.5 million students of all ages, and thousands more enroll each quarter. Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College—America’s oldest historically black college west of the Mississippi River—shared what he learned from his family: “You can do anything you set your mind to. And you have an obligation to do something about it.”
Yass Prize semifinalists clearly set their mind to their students’ success. And in Miami, they learned how to say as much. Before they each made their pitch, they were encouraged to “Look at every slide and say, ‘So what?’” Yass Prize judges evaluated the “what” of every pitch and we look forward to announcing what comes next.
We didn’t take our foot off the gas at our Accelerator, however. Yass Prize founder, and what one semifinalist called the “Education Oprah who is literally transforming education,” Janine Yass indicated things are just getting started. Yass announced the six runners-up award to $1 million Yass Prize will now be doubled to $500,000 each! “We need you to grow more rapidly to give more students the education they deserve,” Yass said. Look for more here soon on who’s accelerating to the prestigious $1 million Yass Prize to be announced in New York City on December 14!
The Yass Foundation advances the four core STOP principles: Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding, and Permissionless education. Each year, the Foundation will reward dozens of organizations, building a growing network of innovative providers that
demonstrate these qualities in their commitment to new ideas, technologies, and approaches to learning that bring education into
the 21st century. The Foundation is powered by the Center for Education Reform (CER) in partnership with Forbes.
Entrepreneurs are people who teach us about needs we don’t know we need.
This is the fundamental basis of what we are doing.
We may not agree on much of anything, but one thing that is a uniting force that we all agree on is that education opens doors, it’s the great equalizer.
When you are trying to advance and think beyond the status quo, this can be a lonely place, because our systems are structured to do the same thing.
It is important to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who foster innovation.
You are in a moment in history that we have never seen before.
Any of us with a disruptive idea have a shot at trying to prove something.
The pandemic didn’t stop our families, scholars and educators from learning, growing and thriving.
The fact that education has become partisan is upsetting, and I just hope that this award will encourage more states to view this as a bipartisan issue.
We see the Pulitzer prizes, we see the MacArthur Genius Grants, we see the Pritzker prize for architecture.
But for the one field that drives everything, education, there is no definitive prize. The Yass Prize has filled that vacuum -- it's more than just the money. It's about spurring ideas, it's about spurring innovation. We are very very proud to be a part of it.
We often jump to the what, without thinking with the community about the why.
Unfortunately, the bureaucracy that’s behind the school system is more interested in perpetuating jobs and keeping the system in place, rather than giving children the freedom they deserve.
We realized long ago that there’s a lot of money in the system, and it’s just not directed to the children.
Remember, you are doing the work of civilization.
You are planting the seeds of a better world, despite any bad news, you’re doing great things.
If you get to the accelerator after the application process, go in knowing you already won.
The fact that you are now with a group of your peers you really get to see how world class the education profession is.
What has been created here at the accelerator is truly incredible.
We may never know how pivotal this really is for education in America right here, right now. This group of people will work together to force real change permissionlessly.
I am still processing the magnitude of this experience and so grateful for meeting each and everyone of you.
I look forward to continuing our transformative work in our communities and together.
What is good for families is good for the school because families want great schools.
I hope you all think about the fact that the impact you are having, you will never even know how widespread it is.
That’s the beauty of education, you impact lives in such a deep way.
Success happens after many pivots and changes.
The real source of wealth in society is the human mind, not material things, because with the human mind, great wealth can be created.
I'm deeply humbled and grateful to be part of this group.
The last month has been a tremendous experience and I'm so inspired and motivated by the amazing work this group is doing. Collectively, we’re working towards a real-world goal and it’s leaving me empowered and motivated to apply what we learn.