Behind the Headline: ‘Micro Schools’ Could Be New Competition for Private K-12

On Top of the News
‘Micro Schools’ Could Be New Competition for Private K-12
1/27/16 | Education Week

Behind the Headline
The Rise of AltSchool and Other Micro-schools
Summer 2015 | Education Next

In the new issue of Ed Week Arianna Prothero writes about the rise of micro-schools, “tiny schools—sometimes with as few as half a dozen students—that put a heavy emphasis on technology and pushing instructional boundaries in a mash-up of lab schools and home school co-ops.”

She elaborates

The definition of a micro school is still being hammered out, but a consensus seems to be coalescing around a few core details: Schools have no more than 150 students in grades K-12; multiple ages learn together in a single classroom; teachers act more as guides than lecturers; there’s a heavy emphasis on digital and project-based learning; and small class sizes, combined with those other factors, make for a highly personalized education.

Will micro-schools shake up the world of private schools, Prothero wonders.

“This is the first innovation in the private system in the U.S. in a long time,” said Michael Horn, a co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute, a think tank focusing on disruptive innovation. “As a result, I don’t know that we have a great precedent for understanding where it could go or how far-reaching the impact could be if they really drive down costs.”

Michael Horn wrote about micro-schools in the Summer 2015 issue of Education Next.


– Education Next

Last Updated


Notify Me When Education Next

Posts a Big Story

Business + Editorial Office

Program on Education Policy and Governance
Harvard Kennedy School
79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone (617) 496-5488
Fax (617) 496-4428

For subscription service to the printed journal
Phone (617) 496-5488

Copyright © 2024 President & Fellows of Harvard College