Netflix CEO Reed Hastings will be speaking at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre on Friday May 3rd.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings will be speaking at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre on Friday. Credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / PUBLICA / GREGOR FISCHER

About two decades ago and just a few years after he co-founded Netflix, Reed Hastings started philanthropic work in schools. The time he spent in school districts and charters showed him that some schools rise above the rest.

He was particularly impressed with KIPP, a national charter school network that now operates schools in many states and cities across the country, including six in San Antonio. He joined KIPP’s board a little over a decade ago.

“I see this relentless ‘we can do better’ attitude and as great as their early results have been for students, they are never satisfied,” Hastings said Thursday of the charter school network. “As soon as they were good at helping kids into college, they expanded their mission to get kids to and through college.”

Hastings will headline an event hosted by KIPP and technology industry association Tech Bloc on Friday night. In an education landscape that often seems to pit charter schools against traditional public schools, Hastings will discuss what he views as the importance of school choice.

“I think you want to provide some choices and anyone who has multiple kids knows how different they are, and that is just in one family,” Hastings told the Rivard Report in a telephone interview. “We need to get beyond focusing so much on districts versus charters and really just try to look at who is currently doing a great job with serving kids.”

San Antonio has more than 75 open-enrollment charter campuses and 17 traditional school districts. KIPP will open its second San Antonio high school next year, and IDEA Public Schools currently has 22 campuses located at 11 hubs around the city. IDEA plans to add another 17 campuses in the coming five years.

Hastings will speak at the Tech Bloc rally, which will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Charline McCombs Empire Theater downtown. Tickets to the free event are no longer available, but those still wanting to attend can join a waitlist here.

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.