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Heterodox Academy

Designing High School for Upward Mobility: A Conversation with Ian Rowe

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March 24, 2022

March 24, 2022 at 7pm ET

Socioeconomic status is a major predictor of student preparedness for higher education. While many affluent students acclimate to higher education through their university-educated families, low-income and first generation students often lack this important support structure. Curriculum design in high school can play a critical role in overcoming these socioeconomic barriers, putting less affluent students on track to enter a university setting, earn a degree, and pursue upward mobility. How do we ensure that high school prepares all students, regardless of socioeconomic status, with the habits of heart and mind necessary to succeed in the university?


Samantha Hedges, HxA’s K-12 Program Manager, will speak with Ian Rowe, co-founder of Vertex Partnership Academies and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, about why he chose a curriculum design for his charter network focused on character development, critical thinking, and knowledge creation — and how this alternative approach can prepare young people, from all backgrounds, for successful academic careers centered on open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement.

Questions? Email Join us in-person for HxA Conference 2022, June 12–14.

About the Speaker:

Ian Rowe Headshot
Ian Rowe is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he focuses on education and upward mobility, family formation, and adoption. Mr. Rowe is also the cofounder of Vertex Partnership Academies, a new network of character-based International Baccalaureate high schools opening in the Bronx in 2022; the chairman of the board of Spence-Chapin, a nonprofit adoption services organization; and the cofounder of the National Summer School Initiative. He concurrently serves as a senior visiting fellow at the Woodson Center and a writer for the 1776 Unites Campaign. Until July 1, 2020, Mr. Rowe was CEO of Public Prep, a nonprofit network of public charter schools based in the South Bronx and Lower East Side of Manhattan. Before joining Public Prep, he was deputy director of postsecondary success at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, senior vice president of strategic partnerships and public affairs at MTV, director of strategy and performance measurement at the USA Freedom Corps office in the White House, and cofounder and president of Third Millennium Media. Mr. Rowe also joined Teach for America in its early days. Mr. Rowe has been widely published in the popular press, including in the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Examiner. He is often interviewed on talk radio programs. He is also the author of a forthcoming book tentatively titled “Agency” (Templeton Press), which seeks to inspire young people of all races to build strong families and become masters of their own destiny. Mr. Rowe has an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was the first black editor-in-chief of The Harbus, the Harvard Business School newspaper; a BS in computer science engineering from Cornell University; and a diploma in electrical engineering from Brooklyn Technical High School (Brooklyn Tech), one of New York City’s elite public schools, which specializes in science, technology, and mathematics.
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