Education

We work with school systems and high-impact education nonprofits to transform education and help students from traditionally underserved communities have the chance to lead lives of choice and opportunity. We focus on career-connected learning, human capital, school systems, child and youth outreach, and education technology.
Our Clients’ Impact

1 million

students served by schools annually

60,000-plus
teachers added by teacher pipelines
2-4 times
higher college graduation rates compared with peers
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Pioneering career-connected learning models

Rapid advances in technology are changing the nature of work. While many jobs are going away, our research has found that good jobs are still plentiful. Yet our education system is not adequately preparing students to get these jobs and succeed in them. To do that, we need to move past the traditional construct of study-then-work to a study-and-work, career-connected learning (CCL) model that combines classroom instruction with relevant, real-world experience. Bain partners with education providers, businesses, government and others to make clear the good jobs such programs should target, to highlight best practices and to bring successful CCL programs to scale.

“It was that spirit that infused the room today—of getting something big, powerful, meaningful and impactful done for young people in our state.”
Maud Daudon, Executive Leader, Career Connect Washington, describing the kickoff of the new strategic approach
Video courtesy of Denver Public Schools

Denver Public Schools

Early to recognize the value of career-connected learning, Denver Public Schools (DPS) offers high school juniors and seniors the option of a three-year paid apprenticeship. Students in the program learn from meaningful work experience and aligned classroom instruction, and graduate with both a high school diploma and either an industry-valued post-secondary credential or substantial progress toward a college degree. Bain worked with DPS on the launch of this program, called the CareerConnect Apprenticeship Program. We drew inspiration from similar systems in Switzerland and elsewhere, helping DPS define their vision for career-connected learning and understand how to take it from a promising pilot to a program that will ultimately serve many DPS graduates in a financially sustainable way.

Video courtesy of Career Connect Washington

State of Washington

Seventy percent of jobs in the state of Washington require post-secondary credentials, but fewer than 40% of students earn those degrees. The state and its largest employers, including Amazon and Boeing, have joined with educators and social sector organizations to address this mismatch. Bain partnered with Career Connect Washington, a public-private partnership charged with accelerating career-connected learning, to design a statewide CCL system. Its aim: to provide every young adult with multiple paths to opportunity and economic self-sufficiency.

Uplift

Uplift

Uplift is one of the largest charter school networks in the US, with 19,000 students, 81% of whom are low-income, and a track record of helping more than half of their students graduate from college (vs. a national average of approximately 14% for low-income students). Bain research helped identify challenges alumni faced in accessing good jobs and ways Uplift could help. As a result, Uplift is expanding career exposure and experiences for students, creating a career office to help alumni build career skills and find jobs, and launching a Bain-designed app that helps students and families set goals and track progress.

Magic School Bus
Photo courtesy of Magic Bus

Magic Bus

Magic Bus works in poor communities in India to create poverty-free futures for children across the country. Since 2015, we have helped build their “Childhood to Livelihood” approach to helping students complete their secondary education and attain the skills necessary for stable employment. In 2018, we helped create the model for a program to connect 14- to 17-year-olds who will soon begin working with better, higher-paying jobs. We identified the best future job opportunities and the skills required, and looked at how school systems can best prepare students to succeed in those jobs. The program aims to help seven million young people obtain sustainable livelihoods over the next decade.

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Nurturing high-quality school systems from government-run to alternative models

Bain works with leading alternative school networks in the US and innovative schools around the world to create new ways to equip students, particularly those from traditionally underserved populations, with the skills to lead positive and prosperous lives.

“Bain brings rigor. They bring insight and analytics. But they also have a healthy respect for our organization and how we need to evolve. It’s been absolutely game-changing.”
Richard Barth, CEO, KIPP
Richard Barth, CEO of KIPP, discusses the Bain partnership.

KIPP

The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) is the largest nonprofit public charter school network, with 224 schools across the US. It is focused on helping nearly 100,000 students from educationally underserved communities develop the knowledge, skills, character and habits needed to have choices in life and be economically self-sufficient. KIPP students complete college at a rate comparable to the national average for all students and three times higher than that of students from similar backgrounds. Since 2010 Bain has donated around 140,000 hours of consulting time to KIPP, working on nearly 30 distinct projects. Five years ago, Bain helped develop the network’s vision for 2020 and subsequently worked on regional strategies to achieve it. That vision includes strengthening instruction, academic rigor and student achievement; helping more students attend and succeed in college; and growing the network of KIPP schools to educate more students. We are currently working with KIPP on their next five-year plan: a 2025 vision and strategy for the network.

Partner since 2010

More than 30 projects throughout the US

ARK

Ark

Bain has worked with Ark, an education charity that serves 26,000 students in 38 schools in areas of the United Kingdom with a history of underachievement, on many projects over the years. Most recently we helped their social enterprise incubator, Ark Ventures, develop a new venture extending its English Mastery and Mathematics Mastery curricula outside its own schools. Bain helped develop a sustainable economic model and strategy, drawing upon survey data from the organization’s main clients—teachers—that emphasized the importance of ease of use and impact.

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Child and youth outreach: Scaling innovative models of child development

The early years of a child’s life are critical for health and development. We support organizations that fight inequality in child development and help children who are at risk grow up to reach their full potential.

“We have now served our three-billionth meal, and it is important that the organization gear up to meet the challenges of scaling. … We are thankful to Bain and look forward to a long partnership to strengthen Akshaya Patra and make it ready for the future.”
Shridhar Venkat, CEO, Akshaya Patra Foundation
Video courtesy of Akshaya Patra

Akshaya Patra Foundation

By serving 1.7 million midday meals to children each day, Akshaya Patra has improved students’ school attendance, classroom performance and overall health. The NGO hopes to triple that number to five million by 2025. Bain is supporting that mission by helping Akshaya Patra expand its narrow donor base, double its rate of donor retention and significantly lower meal costs. We are also helping the nonprofit pursue other ways of amplifying its impact—expanding services to children in nursery school, streamlining the construction of large centralized kitchens and securing funds to expand into remote areas.

Social Impact Results Award Winner
Restacking The Odds

Restacking the Odds

Restacking the Odds is a four-year collaborative project between the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Social Ventures Australia and Bain aimed at reducing intergenerational disadvantage, as inequities in early childhood can result in low rates of education, poor mental and physical health and low income in later life. The program develops and applies an evidence-based framework to assess the effective delivery of critical services. It focuses on strategies proven to improve child development, using real-world situations in individual communities to establish a clear case for change. Bain has helped analyze large quantities of complex and inconsistent data, and translate social sector research into practical tools.

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Human capital: Strengthening teachers and school leaders

We know from hundreds of examples nationwide that extraordinary student outcomes are possible at the individual school level. These persistent rays of hope shine through even in the most challenging of educational environments. Breakthrough results in student achievement occur when the significant challenges our students face are met with an even greater level of teacher talent and dedication—when talented individuals work together to do extraordinary things. Yet we also know that these kinds of schools don’t develop randomly on their own; an essential ingredient behind each of these success stories is transformational leadership.

“Our growth as an organization has been disproportionately led by regions which have been touched directly by your insights … it is clear that you helped us change our trajectory.”
Elisa Villanueva Beard, CEO, Teach For America
Teach For America

Teach For America /
Teach For All

Since 2009 we have completed almost a dozen cases for Teach For America and partners across the Teach For All global network. Our work includes collaborating on research on what makes school leaders transformational and how current education systems could be improved to recruit and retain these types of leaders. A Bain team recently used teacher survey data to develop a plan to improve dipping US teacher satisfaction, leading to the largest year-over-year gain in satisfaction that Teach For America has ever seen. For recent work with Teach For All’s Chilean partner Enseña Chile on its Schools that Learn program, Bain supported its pilot and subsequent rollout of tools that measure classroom success in a structured way by gathering information from students, teachers and communities. Wendy Kopp, cofounder and CEO of Teach For All, called the results of this project in Chile “truly incredible” and “one of the most inspiring system change efforts I’ve seen.”

Commit

Commit Partnership

Since 2016, Bain has worked with the Commit Partnership, the Communities Foundation of Texas and a number of large school districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to create more equitable access to talented and diverse teachers and principals. A robust teacher and principal pipeline is critical to increasing the number of students on track for college and career success, but high turnover and other challenges have strained district resources and student outcomes. A Bain team built a data-driven case for strengthening teacher and principal pipelines and a roadmap for improving recruitment, preparation, development and retention. By helping create and supporting an annual survey of regional teachers and school leaders and supporting cross-district working groups, the Bain team is ensuring that educators are heard, districts are encouraged to take action and best practices are shared to achieve student success.

Education Insights

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Making the Leap: How to Take the Promise of Career-Connected Learning to Scale

After three years working extensively with providers of career-connected learning (CCL) programs and the builders of CCL systems across the US, in 2019 Bain published a report identifying the good jobs such programs should target, highlighting CCL program best practices and describing how to bring CCL programs to scale.
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Transforming Schools: How Distributed Leadership Can Create More High-Performing Schools

Bain research shows that while many school systems invest to develop principals, assistant principals and teacher leaders, there is rarely a plan to deploy them effectively within their schools. We set out to study the exceptional school systems that are developing distributed leadership models that establish a cadre of leaders with end-to-end responsibility for the development of the teachers on their teams. Their results are promising. Our report explains the leadership challenges most schools face and identifies solutions starting to succeed in systems across the country.
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BUILDING PATHWAYS: HOW TO DEVELOP THE NEXT GENERATION OF TRANSFORMATIONAL SCHOOL LEADERS

We have the opportunity to develop significantly more transformational school leaders and, through their efforts, create a far greater number of extraordinary schools by committing to a model that develops and retains the most promising leaders over time. Our research identified five persistent roadblocks that typically stand in the way of improvement and a set of concrete actions that together offer a roadmap for how school systems can put in place a robust leadership development model.
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