The Moonshot Moment Eblast
Issue: # 5 June 19, 2013 

"For too long we have made the school systems responsible for solving society's ills. It is time for the community to get into the trenches with the educators and solve this problem together. We as a nation can't afford not to."


 -Ray Oglethorpe

Past President of AOL and Chairman of the Board of The Learning Alliance

Moonshot Moment: Commencement Address
Excerpts from Ray Oglethorpe's Addresses to George Washington University School of Education's Class of 2013

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The Learning Alliance Board Chairman, Ray Oglethorpe


Ray Oglethorpe, Board Chairman of The Learning Alliance and former President of America Online, recently gave the commencement address to G.W.U. School of Education's graduating class of 2013.   Here are a few excerpts from his speech:


  • "My father was the youngest of 13 children and my mother the youngest of 11 children born into abject poverty in a coal patch town in Pennsylvania.  By taking a chance, my parents were the only ones of their siblings to escape the grinding poverty of the coal mines. Because I was lucky enough to have public school teachers who instilled in me a love of learning, a world of opportunities opened up to me."
  • "As I approached retirement, I wanted to give back to education.  More than just being on college boards and raising endowments for private schools, I desired to effect education in a more profound way.  So, I got in the trenches with the teachers and focused on how to teach 90% of children in my school district to read at grade level by 2018. I would like to see these changes adopted across the country."
  • "Here is my vision for the future of education: by 2038, I see a United States that has regained its spot as the most educated country in the world. I see the U.S. booming again because of  higher levels of educational attainment that have pumped an added $80 trillion in the economy during these 25 years.  Due to higher education levels, high school dropouts, juvenile delinquency, crime, the prison population, drug abuse, mental health issues and teenage pregnancies, which all used to be related to low educational attainment and low literacy, are all down. Taxes for social services are also down."
  • "Reflecting on the billions we've spent on so-called educational reforms since 1983, we have gone down multiple paths that didn't address the core issues of leadership development, teacher professionalism, mastery learning and community involvement. They focused on restructuring, negative incentives and a culture of blame. Are we going to continue to tinker, blow more billions and continue to slip into mediocrity?"


Don't forget to save the dates of July 31 (5:00-8:00 p.m.) and August 1 (8:00 a.m. to noon) to attend Indian River County's Emergent Learning Days. You will learn about our community's amazing literacy accomplishments during the past year and see how your can be involved in goals for the upcoming year as we collectively pursue 90% literacy.  For more information, email me at or visit:



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The Guide to Achieving 90% Literacy:



1.  Develop principals and superintendents as leaders instead of administrators because no school or district outperforms its leadership.



2.  Make teaching a true profession on par with medicine, law and the like through a carefully-designed knowledge base that develops teacher expertise. Pay our teachers on levels similar to what they earn in South Korea, Japan and Finland to attract the top 25% of the class. 



3.  Move from the time-based agricultural and factory public school model that has been in place since 1781 to one based on student mastery regardless of time.  This will build quality learning all along a student's path.



4.  Understand that schools can't do this alone and that it will take the whole community's involvement to achieve this vision.