Thursday AM January 20th, 2011

Reed Hastings is best known as the founder and CEO of Netflix. Fortune magazine named him its 2010 Businessperson of the Year. But before Hastings conquered the home video market, he taught high school math in Swaziland with the Peace Corps. He spoke at Rice University last night on the challenges facing public education. KUHF business reporter Andrew Schneider has the story.

HastingsHastings addressed the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program, or REEP, on the issue of how to maintain high standards in public schools. He says part of the problem lies in a lack of institutional memory.

“The fundamental issue is the school board continues to change, and that naturally creates a role for new superintendents to come in who then want to change direction. And so what we get is going left, going right, going up, going down, over say two decades, without any sustained progress.”

The Netflix chief points to the corporate world, non-profits, churches and the military as examples of organizations that do a better job of focusing on long term goals.

“All of them have self-perpetuating governance — that is, the board members get to pick the new board members.”

Hastings considers the use of charter schools as one solution, holding up New Orleans as an example.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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