John Heintz, the founder of Chicago-based management consulting firm Lydian, Inc., is an attorney and educator with wide-ranging interests in education and the law. John Heintz, a Chicago resident, applies his 25 years of experience to advocacy for educational transformation through Second Rail Education, an organization he founded to mitigate inequalities in education funding, particularly as they affect students in low-income school districts.
Second Rail Education seeks to improve education across geographic, demographic, national, and political boundaries. The organization plans to do this by disseminating information relevant to educators and lawmakers, and linking entrepreneurs, educators, and other leaders to comprehensive solutions devised by the Second Rail Education team, which includes educators, attorneys, economists, and other experts from both for-profit and nonprofit sectors.
Second Rail and other education organizations may play an important role in the changing face of public education resulting from the recent appointment of Betsy DeVos as head of the US Department of Education. Mrs. DeVos has said she favors school choice for parents and students. School choice would allow parents to enroll their children in charter schools, possibly outside of their school districts.
Arguments for and against this anticipated change center on the effectiveness of public education, addressed in the past two presidential administrations’ “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top” initiatives. An article recently published in the Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ), “School Transformation Hasn’t Worked – Isn’t That Reason Enough to Stop?” says that these initiatives were informed by the belief that schools failed because they were poorly run or poorly staffed. NPQ says that the proven impact of poverty on learning has been ignored.