Episode 043: Dean Florez, President of 20 Million Minds Foundation

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In this episode of MEP, Dean Florez, President of 20 Million Minds Foundation and former Senate Majority Leader in the state of California,  talks about the role of government in education, and what the 20 Million Minds Foundation is doing to improve access and increase quality in education. I also ask him about what he thinks the future of education is, what the role of institution will be and what informal learning will do to the credential as we know it. Don’t miss this!

Guest Bio:

Dean FlorezDean Florez is leading The Twenty Million Minds Foundation after 20 years of legislative policy making in the higher education field. As a past Assemblyman and Senator, Dean Florez was elevated to the position of Senate Majority Leader in November 2008.

During his tenure in the State Legislature, Dean Florez was an outspoken leader in the areas of clean air, higher education, policy, food safety, animal rights, government accountability and infrastructure financing and development. His emphasis during his tenure in the Legislature was overseeing high technology implementation and educational reform. Specifically, Dean Florez chaired the Senate Select Committee on Wireless Technology and Consumer Driven Programming and the Senate Governmental Organization Committee that oversaw major technology purchases and implementation.

Prior to his election to the Legislature in 1998, Dean Florez worked in higher education policy as the Senate’s Chief consultant to the Senate Committee on University of California Admissions and staffed the California Joint Master Plan of Higher Education Review.

Dean Florez is a past investment banker, having received his MBA from Harvard in 1993. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from UCLA where he also served as Student Body President.

Show Notes:

(2:00)  Dean’s background

(9:07) What was it that made things click for you, what made you curious, what started to drive you?

(10:25) The outlier effect

(12:40) Let’s talk about 20 Million Minds Foundation. What is it, and how are you taking action towards your goals?

(16:18) Do you have any results or metrics that you’ve been able to ascertain from that first  project? How many students have you affected, how have you affected affordability in the state and nationwide?  Do you have any numbers for us?

(19:24) What are the main barriers that you’re running into, with faculty and institutions, in adopting this open source textbook project?

(23:55) What do you think we’re doing right with education policy? Where do you think government fits in this conversation? What do we need to do to improve it to move learning forward in the right way?

(27:00) I’m just fascinated by how regulators could look at these [California’s coding boot camps] as negative things. I’d like to get your perspective on what’s happening there.

(34:40) If you could have dinner with one person, past or present, who would it be and why?

*Barack Obama

*Kevin Spacey




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