The Bottom Line

man stuck in the mud
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Stuck in Time

The workforce is changing. But K12 schools are not keeping up with the times. As conveyed in EducationWeek, a recent study by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization based in Santa Monica, California, concludes that the workforce is transforming from technological changes, but K-12 schools are stuck in the mud. The article confirms what we have been asserting and is at the heart of our transformation efforts: “K-12 schools are preparing students for jobs using essentially the same set of strategies they’ve been relying on for decades.” Someone once said, “If Rip Van Winkle had gone to sleep January 1, 1900, and woke up on January 1, 2000, the only aspect of our society that would be familiar would Read More ›

What if question on napkin
What if question - handwriting on napkin with a yellow cup of espresso coffee against rustic wood
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The Status Quo is Failing

“So why does a guy who seemingly did ok in the academic world think there should be more alternative routes through high school? That’s simple: to give a voice to the millions who in the rear view mirror were marginalized and to advocate for the millions ahead who will benefit by an opening of paths that hold academic integrity and which meet the realities of today.” – John M. McLaughlin in The Appeal of Alternative Education. In other words, education should provide a preparation for life for all children, not just those in the traditional public schools.  This is why we must transform our public education system. ACTE program chair, Don Nielsen, summarizes the broad objectives of education in his Read More ›

Unclear business
Young businessman looking at glasses
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Lucidity is Lacking

As reported on IdahoEdNews, the Bonneville School District pushed out an emergency levy worth $2 million. The issue with this emergency levy is that it does not require voter approval. The levy falls on the taxpayers’ property, and yet they have no say in the matter. Transparency is described as something that can be seen through. When it comes to transparency in government, we mean that citizens must be able to “see through” its mechanisms, to understand exactly what goes on when public officials manage public business. A government or government officials that are not transparent are more prone to corruption because there is no public oversight of their decisions. The spokeswoman of D93 Citizens, a group outspoken on this Read More ›

Washington State Capitol Olympics Seattle Washington
Washington State Capitol Olympics Seattle Washington USA
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Start with States

We previously wrote on the low standard, our nation’s latest C grade, on Education Week‘s annual “Quality Counts” report. We have a lot of work to do to become one of the top countries in education standards. However, change cannot come from the top.  As rightly stated by David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center, “There’s beginning to be an awakening that Washington [D.C.] isn’t going to come in and help on this issue.” This is what we at ACTE have been promoting from the beginning–one state has to be the model for the nation. As Don Nielsen states “Educating all our children will only occur if we fundamentally change our present system of public education. That can Read More ›

Red apple and orange on a white background.
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Comparing Education Stats of States is Meaningless

EducationWeek reports that New Jersey now tops the national education rankings. But these rankings have little meaning, for several reasons:   Statewide scores are not reflective of local school districts. Funding methods are different for each state. Every state has a different economy and other conditions. It is nearly impossible to get current, precise school funding information. The report states “money matters” and “location matters.” True enough. But again, comparing the money from one state to another doesn’t provide for sound analysis. Every state has unique characteristics and provides school funding within their economic limits. A more meaningful (and alarming!) statistic from the report shows that as a nation we earned a total grade of “C” compared to other countries. Read More ›

small schoolchildren with colorful school bags and backpacks run to school. Back to schoo
small schoolchildren with colorful school bags and backpacks run to school. Back to school, education, elementary school.
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Back to School

As children head back to school, it’s a good time to assess the current state of education in America. Over the decades, we have expanded the number of voters and we have expanded the access to education. How are we doing in producing an “educated electorate?” Don Nielsen, program chair of ACTE says, “Not well. In fact, we are putting our way of life at risk by our continuing failure to effectively educate our citizens. For decades, our education system has failed at its mission. We have consistently seen 20-25 percent of our students drop out of school prior to graduation and of those who do graduate, more than half have not achieved a level of learning to allow them Read More ›

Flipped Classroom Concept
Flipped Classroom Concept On Blackboard With Apple And Digital Tablet On Wooden Table
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Flipped Classrooms Are Not the Problem

EducationWeek recently opined that “flipped classrooms may exacerbate student achievement gaps.”  The notion of a “flipped” classroom is one in which the “traditional rhythm of class time” is flipped by “introducing teacher lectures online so that students can view them at home, while using class time for projects and group activities that might traditionally be consigned to homework.” Here’s where they missed the mark: A flipped classroom does not give the student any more required time to fully grasp the material at hand. So the notion that flipped classrooms may exacerbate the student achievement gaps isn’t the issue. The crux of the matter is how long these students have access to learning. In order for educators to meet the needs Read More ›

money cant solve it all
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Sometimes You Don’t Get what You Pay For

A scan of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), “the nations report card,” makes it clear that revenues have increased significantly from 1996 to 2016 (the most recent data compiled). However, has that changed the overall outcomes for our children’s education? The data suggest it has not. According to The Hill, “Six of the top 10 states that improved their average test scores on the NAEP the most were among the 11 states with the smallest funding growth.” As our program chair, Don Nielsen, writes in his book Every School, “Spending has grown at ten times the rate of enrollment. Thus, we are now spending almost three times more per child, in inflation-adjusted dollars, to educate our children than in 1970. Most Read More ›

Hand of a businessman writing a business concept text of feedback idea on a blue background.
Hand of a businessman writing a business concept text of feedback idea on a blue background for design in your work Presentation.
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For Educational Success Focus On the Outputs

In Education Next, Orly Friedman, founder of Red Bridge Education, makes the argument that there are many “reasons for measuring inputs in addition to outputs.” The problem with this statement is that the system traditionally has focused on inputs rather than outputs, with poor results. Friedman uses the example that if a person hoping to lose weight focuses only on the numerical goal rather than the entire process (i.e. maintaining a healthy diet and workout routine), weight loss tends to be short-lived. She compares this with cramming for tests which is “incentivized by a system whose sole concern is on outputs.” However, there’s another side of the coin.  Friedman claims that “measur[ing] inputs along with outputs is to facilitate learning Read More ›

Young woman with stack pile of books and piggy bank full of debt rethinking future career path
Student loan concept. Young woman with stack pile of books and piggy bank full of debt rethinking future career path
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Teachers Miffed About Pay

“I am a fool to do this job.” So states one teacher in the PDK Poll as reported by EducationWeek. The comment reflects the fact that teacher compensation is the number one complaint of the teachers polled.  In fact, of the 556 teachers polled, 55% of teachers said they would strike for higher compensation. As we reported on this issue previously, most of the angst comes from unfulfilled promises by strong arm teacher union politics.  Because of unions’ unrelenting support on seniority pay raises and lifetime job security, hundreds of new teachers and central office staff are laid off, class sizes increase, and after-school programs fail. This is bad for everyone, including taxpayers, new teachers who are in dire need Read More ›