Elisabeth Stock

Ashoka Fellow
New York, NY, United States
Fellow Since 2008
My work: leveraging technology to enhance the interactions between students, teachers, and parents.

Check out this video of Elisabeth Stock's work

Related TopicsEducation / Learning, Children & Youth, Social Entrepreneurship

Citation

This profile was prepared when Elisabeth Stock was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Elisabeth imagines a nation that helps children succeed by supporting them in all the places where they learn, particularly in their homes. Her idea is to create a home learning environment sector to break the cycle of educational deficits in disadvantaged families by engaging low-income parents as their children’s learning partners, connecting classroom learning with the home, and creating educational opportunities for the entire family. She co-founded Computers for Youth (CFY) to improve middle-school children’s home learning environment through computer-based education. Since 1999, CFY has provided a free home learning center (a refurbished computer equipped with award-winning educational software and tailored web content), training for parents and teachers in how to use the computer to strengthen children’s math and reading skills, Internet access, and technical support. In its first decade of operation, CFY served 15,000 high-poverty families in 45 schools in three U.S. cities.

Elisabeth’s idea and CFY’s work are based on three principles. First, all families want their children to succeed. Low-income parents value their children’s academic achievement just as much as high-income parents. Second, all families can play a role in their children’s success. The factor in the home that most strongly influences a child’s intellectual development is cognitive stimulation—not the education or income of the child’s parents, as is commonly assumed. Finally, all parents can be powerful contributors to their children’s education. Families can harness the power of technology to improve their children’s lives. When provided with a computer designed as a simple yet dynamic home learning center, children can become self-directed learners, avid readers and mathematicians, and informed community members. Parents are drawn in to what their children are learning and become true partners in the process.

Across the U.S. approximately 2 million low-income families have a middle-school-age child. Elisabeth recognized that these children spend most of their time at home, the place where they interact with the adults most interested in their success (their parents), and where they have perfect attendance. Based on the demonstrated impact of CFY, Elisabeth is moving forward to build a home learning environment sector—increasing the “supply” of organizations doing this work while also increasing “demand” for this work from governments, foundations, corporations, and individuals. Having developed and replicated a model that works, Elisabeth and CFY are now poised to institutionalize the home learning environment as the third leg of the nation’s education system.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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