Furman Brown

Furman Brown

Founder of Generation Schools

2004 Global Fellow

As student needs grow more diverse, the challenge of one teacher addressing each child’s learning needs becomes nearly impossible. Yet today’s instruction still occurs primarily in a roomful of children taught by a single teacher. Despite decades of reform strategies, reading levels and math proficiency for students have remained alarmingly low within American public schools.

Based on the principle that people learn best in small groups where they can benefit from more individual attention and customized lessons, Generation Schools proposes a new school model that reduces the teacher-to-student ratio to 1:6 without increasing the current per pupil spending levels. Located in New York City, Generation Schools introduces an innovative staffing structure that includes both veteran lead teachers who serve as content experts (e.g., math, social studies) and a corps of new teachers who rotate with their students throughout the day. Proposed to launch in New York City as a charter public school, Generation Schools’ long-term vision is a national network of independently managed schools based on this model.

Furman first conceived of launching a new type of urban public school nearly fifteen years ago as a first-year teacher in the charter corps of Teach for America in South Central, L.A. Subsequently he joined the staff of a startup school in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn where he began to explore alternative scheduling and space planning. He has consulted for many years with conventional and charter public schools, helping them to redesign their schedules and educational programs, integrate technology, and re-allocate resources to maximize student achievement. Furman worked for over ten years on the development of the Generation Schools model and for three years on its evaluation, during which time the model and its articulation have benefited from countless rounds of feedback and advice of experts from a variety of disciplines from both the for-profit and non-profit worlds.More information on the Echoing Green website: click here to read more. Furman earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver.