Calling all teachers who want to start their own schools! Mike McShane has CEO and founder of Primer, Ryan Delk on the podcast to talk about the work Primer microschools is achieving. Primer gives the top 1% of teachers the tools and preparation needed to launch their own schools, while also allowing their students to set their own pace and pursue their passions.
Mike McShane: Hello and welcome back to another edition of EdChoice Chats. This is Mike McShane, director of National Research at EdChoice, and this is part of my series, What’s Up with Mike McShane? Today on the podcast we have Ryan Delk, co-founder and CEO of Primer, where he will be helping me answer the question, What’s up with Primer? If you go to their website, primer.com and pull up their mission statement, it reads, “Our goal is simple: free the next generation of kids to be more ambitious, more creative, and to think for themselves. We are building a new education system that takes kids seriously. Kids are remarkable, and our current system is underestimating them. We need a new system, one where we value what kids learn both outside and inside the classroom, where they learn how to solve real problems, not pass tests, and where they learn how to think instead of what to think.”
It’s a really interesting conversation. We dive into a little bit of educational entrepreneurship. We talk a little bit about regulations. We talk a little bit about what specifically they’re doing, how they find their teachers, which is an interesting process, trying to identify what makes a great teacher and who you want to work with because they have a sort of bumper crop of people who are interested in working with them and how they sort of sort through all those folks is interesting. And we just talk about schools in general and what they’re for and what they’re trying to do. So I think it’s a really interesting conversation that a lot of people would benefit. If you’re interested in the policy side and trying to have more new innovative schools exist, what Ryan has to say is really important because he’s someone who’s trying to do that and is learning those lessons and is willing to share them, thankfully.
And if you’re interested in entrepreneurship in general, I think it’s another interesting conversation to talk to someone who’s in the midst of it as well. Well, look, I could keep doing this, but I won’t. So without further ado, here’s my conversation with Ryan Delk, co-founder and CEO of Primer. Ryan Delk, welcome to the podcast.
Ryan Delk: Thanks for having me, Mike.
Mike McShane: Yeah, no problem. Just before we started talking here, one thought. I was like, we’ll dive into exactly what Primer is doing, but you started to tell a story about how your mother had actually been at the forefront of alternative education models, and so I was like, we got to hit record. Let’s do this. So let me know. I would love to hear this sort of story of how you came to this and if it needs to start 30 years ago, that’s A-OK.
Ryan Delk: Yeah, so I grew up in Florida actually where a lot of our schools are located, and we were zoned for a pretty bad school when it was time for me to go to kindergarten. My mom was a public school teacher and she was actually previously very anti-alternative education. She wrote this paper that she’s told me about many times about how homeschooling should be illegal or something, some pretty extreme view on that front.
And so she took me to kindergarten orientation and sort of had this freakout moment of I can’t. Like most teachers, she had taught me some reading and math and different things at home, and so she sort of had this moment of, “I can’t leave you here.” And so I think her and my dad had some conversations and my dad ended up working a couple extra jobs and she basically stayed home and decided to homeschool me and then also my two younger siblings, all kindergarten through eighth grade.
And she kind of organized this community. Back then you would’ve called it a co-op or something with other families that are in our neighborhood, that’s not that different than a microschool in a lot of ways. And it was a group of families that were kind of like-minded that wanted a better alternative education opportunity for their families and were kind of dissatisfied with the status quo.
And so I had this very personal experience for kindergarten through eighth grade of alternative education, and I didn’t really think much of it. I just knew at a conceptual level early on that it was different than what other kids were doing. But it was amazing, and in retrospect, it’s the greatest gift my parents could have ever given me. And I think I didn’t realize until getting married and having kids how much I kind of longed for my kids to have that kind of experience as well. And it was just in retrospect, every year, even while I was in it, I was more and more thankful for the sacrifices my parents made to give us that opportunity.
And so this whole thing is very personal for me, Primer. I’m trying to build primer what I want to exist for my kids. It’s very similar to the education that I had growing up. And so this is all a very personal thing for me.
Mike McShane: So how do you get from, you finished being homeschooled in eighth grade, I assume high school, college, the sort of story there up to, and maybe when you’re out of that, do you immediately go into entrepreneurship or what’s the trajectory from there to now being the co-founder of an institution like Primer?
Ryan Delk: Yeah, so went to the University of Florida, dropped out, moved to San Francisco, basically just started getting involved in tech companies and startups. And so spent about 10 years building tech companies of various different roles, growth, products, operations, and really just I think for me, I was always interested in very hard problems that technology could solve, and specifically ones that would shape some sort of large market in some meaningful way.
And I think as I thought about Primer, I actually spent some time trying to convince other people to build this instead of me, because I sort of felt like this is a really good idea, it was a really good opportunity, but I wasn’t sure that I was going to be the one to do it. And the timing kind of lined up. We were going through an acquisition of my previous company and it was kind a perfect storm, and I just feel like the opportunity to work on something hopefully for decades, if I’m lucky enough to be able to do that, that has I think sort of existential importance to the next generation, certainly in the US.
It’s basically, I think, the greatest honor you could have in technology is to feel like you’re using technology and building a startup for something that is that important. It’s just rare that you get to work on a problem that’s that important. And so I feel super lucky to work on it every day and it just became clear that it was the thing that I wanted to hopefully spend a good chunk of my adult life on.
Mike McShane: So let’s talk about it. So what is it that Primer does?
Ryan Delk: So our goal is to empower the top 1% teachers to be able to launch their own schools, specifically microschools. So we spend an insane amount of time and energy basically building technology and regulatory compliance. Everything that’s complicated about launching a school, we basically take that on for the teacher and allow she or he to basically focus on what they’re excited about, which is usually recruiting kids, interacting with families, teaching kids, helping kids grow and develop. We basically take on all the complexity so they don’t have to think about it.
So most schools take between a year and five years to get off the ground depending on scale, size, city, regulatory environment, et cetera. And we can compress that down into weeks or months for future microschool leaders. So if you’re an amazing teacher that’s sort of frustrated with the incumbent system, but you want to still serve kids in your community, in your neighborhood, you can partner with Primer to launch a school. And we basically allow you to do that within a few weeks or a few months, depending on the time of the year, and you can sort of be off to the base doing what you love. And it’s not just the startup process, it’s all the monthly and annual regulatory complexity. We’re taking that on for you and making sure that you can focus on what you love.
Mike McShane: That’s fascinating. There’s so many different angles you can take that. So maybe one from just sort of a practical perspective, because I know a fair number of people who listen to this podcast are, I think, the very people you’re kind of talking about that are passionate educators. They’re frustrated with the existing system. They want to strike out on their own, but they’re worried about many of these issues. So I’m wondering. Let’s just say I am one of these teachers. What does the process look like? I reach out to your website, and then maybe the next whatever, three months of my life, what does that partnership look like?
Ryan Delk: Typically how it works is we’ve identified the markets that we feel like are the best for us to expand to. And often it’s in existing markets that we just want to add more microschools. And so we have sort of a steady stream of inbound teachers that sometimes they’re administrators, sometimes they’re private school teachers, sometimes public school teachers. Sometimes they are people that were teachers that switched careers and want to get back into teaching. We have a lot of people that said that they quit teaching and never wanted to teach again, and then found Primer and actually sort of started teaching again. And so they reach out to us and “Hey, I’m excited about launching a school in Miami or Fort Lauderdale or Phoenix or Jacksonville,” or wherever.
And then basically when we have a school ready, so when we have a critical mass of students, locations, et cetera, and oftentimes they’ll go start finding locations and students themselves, then we basically partner with them to launch a school. So there’s a few sort of dating factors around locations and student recruiting and these things. But the basic idea is that if you’re an exceptional teacher and you want to launch your own school, we give you all the tools that you need to do that.
There’s work that obviously you have to do on recruiting students and launching the actual school itself. So it’s definitely a partnership. It’s not like we do all the heavy lifting. But we so far have had a lot of success with teachers that have a little bit more of the entrepreneurial side of them, and it’s been going quite well.
Mike McShane: So we’ve used this term, and I am guilty of this as well in our conversation, these exceptional teachers. I’m curious, how do you identify exceptional teachers? Is there some sort of vetting process on your side that maybe a teacher would come to you and you’re like, “This isn’t necessarily someone that we want to work with.” So sort of on one level, how do you define this exceptional teacher? And yeah, is there some sort of process, of selection basically, that some folks you’re going to work with, maybe some folks you aren’t?
Ryan Delk: I will say it’s extremely hard. So anyone who has interviewed teachers, launched their own school, knows how hard this is. So we had, I think, 1400 teachers apply to the 23 microschools we launched or are launching next week. And so it’s been quite a process to figure out. You have to compress down this process of evaluation to some very short period, hours or days, and there’s all sorts of reasons why someone might be exceptional, but in whatever filters you set up, you don’t catch that.
So we look for three things, and I don’t want to act like this is the perfect system because it’s constantly evolving, but this is what we do today. So we look for the base level standard is academic excellence. So if we say, “Hey, send us some lessons of things that you taught,” or “Here’s a lesson, teach this and record it,” we need to feel very confident this person is world-class at just basic academic instruction so that we know and we have confidence that the students that are going to be in their microschool are going to make progress academically, which is sort of the most important foundational thing. And we take that somewhat as table stakes. That’s something that we would never move forward with someone if they didn’t have that. A lot of the teachers that apply already have that.
The second piece is we’re looking for someone who really thinks outside the box. So if you ask a teacher in an interview process, if you say, “Hey, you have a student that’s really interested in sports statistics and they’re really excited about NBA or NFL statistics and analyzing player stats.” Every student at primer has two hours a day in the afternoon. They get to work on things they’re passionate about. And so you’d say, “What would you do with that time when they have this pursuits time in the afternoon? How would you encourage them to structure that time?” 90% of teachers will say, “Oh, I would get a trifold board,” or “I would have them do a report and then present to the class about statistics.”
Which I’m not trying to villainize that idea, but what we’re looking for is the five or 10% of teachers that say, “Oh, I would go email the local NFL team, or the minor league baseball team and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a student who’s really excited about sports statistics, is there any way that she could come intern with you for a week or a day and come shadow your stats team and learn more about how this works? Or if she prepared a report, could you give her feedback on it?'” They think outside of the constraints of the traditional system, because we don’t operate in the traditional system. The sky’s the limit for what students can do at Primer, and so we’re looking for that spark of someone who kind of thinks outside the box.
And the third piece is we’re looking for someone who is a true entrepreneur. So we ask them to put together a pitch deck for how they would launch their school, how they would recruit students, how they would talk about their school, the messaging, the positioning, and their marketing strategies, all these things. It’s really like a pitch deck for their school. And that’s sort of like the last filter of someone who really can operate like a small business owner or an entrepreneur because they really are launching these schools. They’re kind of the CEOs of these schools, and it’s not something that everyone can do and succeed at.
Mike McShane: So then does Primer, quote-unquote, “own” or operate the schools or is this they sort of own and operate the school and you provide support for them?
Ryan Delk: Yeah, it’s a little inside baseball. So right now they’re all full stack Primer schools. So teachers are W2 employees. We operate the schools and own the schools. Long-term our goal is to ensure that the incentives are as aligned as possible. So there’s a lot of different structures from a corporate perspective, from an individual school perspective that you can imagine that would better align those incentives.
Every teacher today gets equity in Primer, so they have stock options in Primer, the corporate entity. So our incentives are very aligned from that perspective. I also think that there’s a huge benefit to being full stack early on because you earn so much more. And then as you learn those things, you can figure out what the different abstraction layers are. You have very high confidence to work across every single microschool, and you can go productize that and ship that in the product in a way that can be standardized and operate everywhere, versus these 10 things we want to be customized on a microschool level and the microschool leader should have control over those. And it’s very difficult to learn that in my opinion if you aren’t doing a full stack for the first 20, 30, hundred schools and then you’re figuring out where you dial that up and down as you scale.
Mike McShane: I’m so glad you brought that up because you had mentioned earlier Primer students have two hours a day of time. So I’m curious. We’ve been talking somewhat from the teacher perspective, but maybe if we look from the student perspective. So is there a lot of flexibility in the model of what it’s going to look like from day to day? Is it relatively more standardized? Maybe the easier question would be simply like if I’m a student… As you said, these schools that are launching in a couple of weeks… When I walk in the morning, what’s going to happen?
Ryan Delk: Yeah. So from a day-to-day basis, we want it to look and feel to a parent perspective. We’re not asking them to take some risky leap on some novel pedagogy. So we’re not saying, “Hey, we’ve invented this totally new approach to school and you need to buy into that in order for you to feel comfortable sending your kid to Primer.” Intentionally Primer schools are fairly legible to the outside world.
The big distinctions are we have a huge neon sign in our office saying “Take kids seriously.” And so we are looking for places to inject student agency into the experience wherever we can. And so one example about that is afternoon time, which for younger kids might look more like an interest-based course. For older kids, it might be them working on something that looks more like an independent study that you might do in high school or college, where they’re setting the direction and deciding they want to write a book, or launch a podcast, or go do some six-month research project or whatever.
So the basic framework is academics matter. We don’t shy away from that. We’re not a school or an organization that says, “Hey, it’s totally self-paced. Kids can move at their own pace. We don’t push any academic practice.” We reject that as a model. And so we are very intentional about, specifically for math, reading and writing, academic progress. So we know exactly where kids are. They have an internal system that logs basically exactly where kids are against state standards, against math standards, understanding how they’re progressing on a day-by-day, weekly basis, and if they need remedial support.
So a lot of kids that were in kindergarten and first grade during Covid need a lot of support to get to grade level. So we have ways that they get remedial one-on-one or very small group support from expert tutors that can help get them up to speed faster. And then also, one of the things that’s really cool, is we allow kids to decide how fast they want to move. So they could set a goal. Every five weeks they set a goal, and in the product, the Primer product, they can see, “Okay, here’s the math things that are on my plate for the next five weeks. If I wanted to work 20% harder or I work for 20% longer on math each day, where would I be in five weeks?”
And we actually show them five weeks from now, you would be here instead of here. If you want to commit to that goal, you can lock it in, click here. And then every day the product will hold you accountable to that goal. We’ll tell your parents the goal, the teacher the goal, but we sort of leave it up to them. And so there’s these ways that we try to inject agency while still having a culture that academics do matter, and it’s not a laissez faire approach to academics.
And then in the afternoon, as you mentioned, kids have time to go deep on these things that they’re excited about, and we call those courses or pursuits depending on the grades.
Mike McShane: I’m so glad you brought up that taking kids seriously. It’s something that I’d seen on your website that really stood out to me as an interesting idea. Where did that idea come from? How does it influence the work that you do?
Ryan Delk: Yeah, so there’s a kind of philosophical movement called Taking Kids Seriously that’s been around for a while. It’s actually not rooted closely in that. It was really a kind of an internal saying that we came up with very early on at Primer. It was kind of a very basic just sort of quick thing that we would say often in meetings. It was just like, “How do we take kids seriously?”, or “Let’s make sure we’re taking kids seriously.”
The basic idea was just that the education system strips almost all agency away from kids in the traditional education system. And my experience with my own kids and with other people’s kids and the experience that I want my kids to have and what I wanted as a kid, kids are actually, if you take them seriously, they often rise to the occasion and they often actually surprise you to the upside on what they’re capable of.
And so we just had this very deep belief that the way that we designed the product, so if you look at the Primer product, it doesn’t feel like a kid’s product that’s designed with a bunch of super colorful, annoying animations. It’s interesting and it looks visually appealing, but it doesn’t look like some sort of kids’ game or something. We’re very intentional about that stuff because this sort of ethos of Primer is like, “Hey, these are humans that we think are capable of extraordinary things. And if we have a culture that sort of sets that as the standard of how we communicate and how we build and how we interact, we think amazing things happen.”
And so we’ve had multiple examples of kids that have proactively, without us ever saying that phrase to them, have said like, “Oh, I just feel taken seriously at Primer. I just feel like people take me seriously for the first time.” And that’s not something that we preach to them. It’s like a very internal thing to us. But I think kids notice that, and they notice the difference, and they can feel it. And when they feel like they’re being talked down to or things are being dumbed down for them, a lot of the habits that we’ve built as a society, I think, with respect to kids. When they feel like they aren’t in that environment, it’s very noticeable to them, and so that’s kind of where that ethos comes from.
Mike McShane: So you had mentioned earlier, I wanted to circle back to this. When we were talking about teachers, you talked about these sort of markets that you’ve identified and that’s where you were working. And I’m curious, how do you decide where to operate?
Ryan Delk: One of the challenges has actually been, we’ve had a lot of inbound from families that want to launch primary schools in Salt Lake City, or Austin, Texas, or Dallas, or Denver. And we so far have not allowed outside of our current geos, just random schools to pop up. And that’s something I want to do at some point. But both from a regulatory perspective as well as just operationally, there’s a lot of things that you have to get right to deliver a great school experience. As probably everyone who listens to this podcast knows, schools are extremely hard and complicated and they’re not something that you can just sort of whip up overnight.
And so right now what we do is we have basically growth projections for the year of how fast we want to grow from a top line student perspective, total microschools perspective. And it’s all sort of backed into from a top line student number. And then we decide how much of that we want to be and we believe should come from current microschools. So for example, we had microschools last year that were one microschool in a given neighborhood, and then this year there’ll be six microschools in that neighborhood.
That’s just a function of word of mouth and teachers recruiting other teachers and families, recruiting other families. And so we make a decision about how much of the growth we want to come from same markets versus new markets. And then we make a decision based on where we want those markets to be based on current demand. And so next year, a lot of the other cities in Florida that we’re not in are going to be the things we’re really excited about.
We haven’t announced where those will be, but we have a bias towards going deeper in a smaller number of markets early on versus sort of blitzing a national strategy just because A, geo expansion is really hard for any company, but especially for education. And then too, there’s so much opportunity in existing markets once the word of mouth flywheel gets going. And so if a market goes from one microschool to six microschools in one year, what happens from year two to three? What happens from three to four? And that’s a really powerful thing that takes a lot of focus to get right. And so if time is on your side in those markets, there’s a strong argument for just focusing on same market expansion.
Mike McShane: When you were initially making these decisions, I’m curious, did anything come into on that regulatory side that there are just some states that are more hospitable to private schools and in other states they’re more complicated or more difficult? Or was it mostly a demand thing?
Ryan Delk: Yeah, so I mean, the state’s posture towards private schools varies dramatically from being not impossible, but almost impossible to start a new private school, to being very, very easy and encouraged, as you might imagine. And so from a regulatory perspective, we’re sort of up to the challenge for any state. We’re not going to back down. We’ve fought our regulatory battles and have, I think, moved the needle, not just for us, but for a lot of other education companies as well.
And so right now we’re in Florida and Arizona. There will be other states that we’ll expand to. I think right now there’s probably 20 states that are, I would say in current state today for what Prime is today and where the regulatory environment is today are great fits. And there’s more that if we tweak the model slightly, it could be really good fits. But right now we’re focused on Florida and Arizona and may expand to other states next year, but probably we’ll continue to focus on those markets.
Mike McShane: So kind of big picture. We at EdChoice have done work on educational entrepreneurship, starting new schools and others. Some people who listen to this podcast, there are policymakers who listen to this podcast. There are advocates who interact with policymakers. I would love to know. Imagine you’re speaking directly to these people right now, are there two or three things that they could do to make the lives of educational entrepreneurs or people who want to start innovative schools, they could make it easier? Are there certain things that it’s just like these things needlessly make people’s lives difficult, or there are supports that could be offered that it would be great to make it easier? What are those? If you could turn two or three, it wouldn’t solve every problem, turn two or three knobs and make it easier for the work that you were doing, the work that school founders are doing, what would you recommend?
Ryan Delk: My sort of contrarian take on that is that there’s a lot of splashy things that get the headlines at the state levels and become big political fights. And I think those often are good battles to fight and they’re warranted. But there’s a lot of just kind of down market, nitty-gritty stuff that makes these types of launching, for example, new schools, very difficult. Things like local land use policy, zoning approvals. These things, often they’re city-by-city or county-by-county. There’s not a lot of state level preemptions for these regulations. And so you kind of have to just figure it out kind of market-by-market.
I think that’s something that gets overlooked in a lot of these big debates. And I think for us, we have funding and lawyers and lobbyists and all sorts of people on our side, and we can navigate these things. But I told a team a couple of months ago, I remember saying, “I cannot imagine being just an independent teacher that wanted to just launch a school because I was passionate about launching a school for my kids.” In some of these markets in Florida, you literally couldn’t do it if you didn’t have either a world-class legal team or hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in figuring it out for the first time, because it’s just so complex when you take into account both the local and state regulations.
And so I think a lot of these regulations, if you want to sort unpack why, a lot of the regulations are built for a 1,700 person school. And so for a 1,700 person school, it totally makes sense that you need to require school bus parking and approved school bus routes and a traffic study and all these things for a school. But there’s some counties where if you want to launch a microschool for 26 kids, they ask you where your school buses are going to park, and they ask you to provide a traffic study so you can show them exactly what the traffic impact is going to be. And there’s no sort of reasoning. It’s not like, “Oh, hey, y’all are just 28 kids here. What’s going on?” It’s like, “Oh, sorry. This is just the process and this is what we need.”
And you got to go pay consultants to go do those things. And you wouldn’t even know that you needed those things until you got rejected the first time if you were just doing this on your own. And these regulations aren’t all ill-targeted. Some of them are well-meaning. It’s just they’re built on the premise that a hundred percent of new schools would be in the exact same footprint as the existing schools that have been built over the last 70 years, which are basically large private and public schools. And there’s a lot of new types of education models that aren’t that.
And so I think there’s a lot of these kind of local nitty-gritty things that are easy to gloss over because they don’t make national headlines and they’re not sort of politically convenient fights to have. But on the ground, that’s actually what makes the biggest impact and things that we’re hopefully excited to move the needle on for teachers through both our technology and the regulatory battles we fight. But I think people listening, that’s probably something that’s sort of underrated relative to the value that it can provide education entrepreneurs.
Mike McShane: I find that so interesting. And all of the folks that I’ve talked to on this podcast and other places who are starting microschools or small schools or any hybrid home schools, co-op type stuff, all of their stories that they tell me are about exactly what you brought up. As much as we want to talk about, “Yeah, that there are these big battles.” Or, “I chose to locate in Florida because there’s no income tax.” No, it was actually because that’s the neighborhood that I live in and I got rejected. Or I got this lovely little storefront because I was going to have eight kids or whatever, and we’re about to start and the fire inspector comes in and they go, “Oh, wait, that’s eighth inch drywall and you need quarter inch drywall because it’s like a child. So we got to rip everything out and put it.” And it’s like money that people don’t have, and knowledge that you would’ve never known until someone comes in and says like, “Oh, nope, you can’t do that.”
Ryan Delk: The specific problem, the challenge is that all of this opacity in the system and every single one of these speed bumps, it is all an opportunity for people that are against these new models existing to use that to their advantage. And so part of our frustration and what we’ve advocated for is like, “Hey, even if you’re against what we’re doing or you don’t want to make it easy for what we’re doing, that’s fine.” Actually, we’re comfortable operating in an environment, in a city or county where majority of elected officials don’t want us to exist. That’s fine.
But as citizens and people trying to do ethical good work in your county, all we’re asking for is just a transparent list of what needs to be done in order to be compliant. And we have experienced at least that it seems to be that there’s intentional opaqueness in these systems that are sort of advantageous if you want to be a gatekeeper of these things existing.
Mike McShane: So I guess, Ryan, my last question for you would just be sort of if people want to find out more about what you are doing, where can they find out more?
Ryan Delk: Yeah, so we’re at primer.com. And then if you have any questions or are interested in launching your own microschool, interested in attending a microschool, please email me, Ryan, email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you. I love talking to families, love talking to teachers. So yeah, if you’re interested on either side of it, we would love to chat. And yeah, looking forward to hearing from you.
Mike McShane: Well, Ryan Delk, thank you so much for taking the time to be on the podcast today.
Ryan Delk: Awesome. Thanks for having me.
Mike McShane: Well, I hope you enjoyed that conversation as much as I did. I feel like I could have kept talking to Ryan for a long time. We’ll have to have him back on the podcast maybe in a year or two when, who knows? Maybe instead of talking about another set of schools that they have now, we’ll be talking about hundreds. Who knows? I thought Ryan just had so many interesting things to say about the sort of landscape of private schooling, the process of starting up new schools, identifying talented teachers, recruiting families, and locating in specific geographic areas versus spreading out all over the country. I think he struck me as a very thoughtful guy, and I hope that you all benefited as much from the conversation as I did. I think he said there at the end, but I just want to make sure, if you want to find out more about Primer, you can go to www.primer.com.
I didn’t have the chance to ask about, which I feel bad I didn’t ask about, tuition and those things. Luckily on their website, they walk through that whole process. So if you’re curious about it, www.primer.com. It seems to have everything you might need to know about some of those particular questions.
Please subscribe to this podcast. Those of you that are regular listeners know some of this. We do my “What’s Up” series, but we also have legal updates. We do our monthly tracker polling podcast. We interview researchers every time new papers come out. Not long ago, I interviewed our friend Ben Scafidi about his really interesting new paper about the growth in teachers and non-teaching staff in schools compared to other municipal employees. I think potentially touching on some of the issues in a roundabout way that Ryan and I were talking about, but had a chance to talk to folks when we publish stuff.
So maybe you don’t have the chance to read all 10,000 words of a research paper that I or someone else write. Look, I’m not going to take it personally. That’s okay. But what you can do is listen to a half hour podcast to get the gist of it. So I would always encourage you to read every single word that I and all of our authors write, but if you’re unable to always, you can check out this podcast and subscribing gets it right in your feed as soon as that stuff is made available.
You can always go to our website too, www.edchoice.org. We’ve got our new Schooling in America dashboard that’s up, and actually they built a dashboard for Ben’s paper as well, which is super interesting. And I’ll close with the hardy thanks that I always gave to Jacob, our podcast producer, who edits all of the stuff and puts it together.
When Ryan and I were talking, I think there were some technical difficulties in one point or another that Jacob is going to have to iron out, and I always appreciate when he does that because it’s less pressure. Of course, Zoom always works perfectly until you hit record and then suddenly things fall apart. But I know in the back of my mind, Jacob is able to fix this, so I’m under less stress when things like that happen. So thank you very much, Jacob. And I look forward to chatting with all of you again on another edition of What’s Up or broadly on any of our EdChoice Chats. Take care and talk to you soon.