Projects on Seeding Success: Equity, Technology & Policy

San Francisco, CA – It is our pleasure to introduce the third set of projects from our 2020 Fellowship class.

The projects, focused on Seeding Success: Equity, Technology & Policy, provide exciting solutions for inequity in education technologies, political participation, and startup funding. We released the projects at our webinar today; you can watch the video of the event here.

We invite you to read more about the projects below, and to check them out on our website: Aspen Tech Policy Hub Projects. Please also join us by RSVPing for our next webinar, August 5 at 9am PT/12pm ET, on Improving Democracy Through Technology, focused on combating election disinformation, providing scalable legal services, and effectively connecting elected officials with their constituents.

Edtech Equity

Black and Brown students in American public schools battle discrimination in many forms: higher rates of suspension, less advanced academic tracks, and a lack of cultural responsiveness from predominantly white teachers. Edtech products that use AI and machine learning can amplify already existing biases and introduce new ones. Education technologies promise to personalize learning, identify at-risk students, and automate administrative tasks for educators, but many do not take into account the unique challenges facing the Black and Brown students that make up over half of the American K-12 public school population. This project proposes a Racial Equity Toolkit for AI in EdTech to enable companies to uncover and mitigate racial bias at each stage of their product design and development, from ideation to implementation. Additionally, it puts forward procurement guidelines to help schools assess edtech platforms for racial equity before purchasing.

Tech Funding Equity

Current technology startup capitalization policies put under-represented tech startup founders at a disadvantage, and forgo an estimated 9 million jobs and $300 billion in collective national income due to discrimination against minority founders. At the same time, regulations limit over 90 percent of prospective investors from serving as “accredited investors” and supporting these founders. This project recommends that the Securities and Exchange Commission dismantle discriminatory investor criteria. It also recommends that existing institutional investors pledge to create opportunities for diverse and emerging managers to help establish their track records. These solutions can advance equitable tech startup funding.

Learn more about these and other projects here.