Oracle Opens New Charter School on its Campus in California!

Dear Commons Community,

As another indication of Silicon Valley’s interest and involvement with public education, Oracle is putting the “finishing touches” on its new $43 million Design Tech High School, a charter school with 550 students. As reported by the New York Times:

“Tech companies ship all kinds of products to public schools: laptops, online writing programs, learn-to-code lessons and more.

Now Oracle, the business software services giant, is trying the opposite tack: bringing a public charter school to the company.

At its lush campus with a man-made lake here, Oracle is putting the finishing touches on a $43 million building that will house Design Tech High School, an existing charter school with 550 students. The sleek new school building has a two-story workshop space, called the Design Realization Garage, where students can create product prototypes. It has nooks in the hallways to foster student collaboration.

And when the school moves here in early January, Oracle employees will be available to mentor students in skills like business plan development and user-experience design.

“It’s really cool that Oracle is doing this,” said Matthew Silverman, 16, a junior at the school. “We can have more opportunities to learn from experience.”

Putting a charter school — that is, a publicly funded school that has its own school board and operates independently — on the campus of a tech giant is a new twist on the evolving relationship between big tech companies and schools.

Big Silicon Valley companies have been in a race to shape students’ education and use schools to train their next generation of workers. And companies like Ford Motor Company, in 1916, and more recently, SpaceX, have had trade or private schools on their premises. But until now, none has put public school students a short walk from the chief executive.

Ken Montgomery, a co-founder and the executive director of Design Tech High School, said that early on some parents and school board members asked him: “Is Oracle going to run the school?”

Mindful of such concerns, Oracle and school executives said they had carefully worked out policies governing their relationship in advance. The school will continue to operate independently, they said, with Oracle playing no role in decisions like curriculum or faculty hiring.”

We have begun to see more corporations make education and social services available at their facilities.  We will see much more of these types of arrangements in the future.

Tony

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