Fantastic analysis! I’m so glad you chose to write about UP – I have really been inspired by their work over the last few years. I’m so happy to see students that have been underserved for so long get the opportunity for a top notch education. I know several teachers and members of the recruitment team, and definitely agree with your views on the importance of a focus on human capital at UP. I also think you hit the nail on the head with your mention of the residency programs – creating and mentoring a pool of high quality internal candidates with institutional knowledge is critical for UP’s success.
A couple of concerns I have for UP going forward are:
1. Teacher burnout. This is an issue at nearly all high-performing turnaround schools, and I hope that UP is putting the necessary resources behind addressing this potential problem. Since Scott Given is a former teacher, I assume he is taking steps to combat burnout.
2. Public resistance to “no excuses” education. There is no question that UP is demanding of its students, standing behind the “no excuses” system that has become popular in recent years. While I think this is critical to maintaining a positive and productive school culture, it has led to some public backlash in some cases. My hope is that the school’s fantastic student performance data is enough to preempt resistance to the behavioral system.
Nice analysis, Sagar! I used Tableau fairly extensively a couple of years ago and was quite pleased with its functionality. Compared to other BI tools I have used, its ease-of-use is clearly near the top of the pack. Although I used some SQL in conjunction with the product, this was by no means required depending on the datasource. In particular, I enjoyed the intuitive drag-and-drop interface, as well as the easy-to-use location-based graphing functions. Additionally, the speed with which it crunches data is quite impressive. I was also impressed by Tableau’s efforts on mobile functionality. I began using Tableau Public (which is free), and eventually lobbied my manager for a desktop license.
I do share Kathy’s concern about custom data needs, however – in some cases we found it a little to inflexible to consider implementing more broadly across the company. Additionally, although prices of some of their products are quite low, I have heard that Tableau Server can get very expensive very quickly. Finally, I have read a few concerns about their approach to data security. I imagine that as the company grows, this will be an increasing area of focus.