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Education

American Center for Transforming Education

Sad girl pupil trying to solve an example. Schoolgirl stands with her forehead on the blackboard
Sad girl pupil trying to solve an example. Schoolgirl stands with her forehead on the blackboard.

We Are Failing Our Children

n 1983, the famous report, “A Nation at Risk” concluded that our country was failing to effectively educate our children. The authors were so critical of our schools that the preamble of the report summarized their findings by saying that; “if an unfriendly foreign power had imposed our schools upon us, we would have considered it an act of war.” That was 1983. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush held an education summit, called “Goals 2000.” Bill Clinton was the chair of that summit. After days of deliberation, another report was issued stating that, “by 2000, all children will enter school ready to learn and 90% of our children will graduate from high school.” Many other goals were listed, none of which were achieved. In 2001, President George W. Bush and Congress passed a bill called the, “No Child Left Behind Act.” This legislation was designed improve accountability and to help schools meet the needs of every student. It failed to make any meaningful difference in student performance. Read More ›
School

Why Only One Type of School?

A fascinating new micro school has been making significant strides in Arizona. Prenda is like the Splenda of schooling. An alternative to the traditional government-run school. What’s different about this new method of schooling? For starters it is placed in the homes, offices, or studios of the coaches or mentors. This not only shifts the old classroom setting, desks lined up facing the front of the classroom. It also eliminates the need for specific degrees or credentials for those who are willing to connect with young people. There is a valid concern about the qualifications of those doing the teaching. Not everyone is qualified to teach. However, the elimination of certifications opens the door for very skilled workers in fields outside of education. What else is different? The three-year range in school composition. For example, a child in second grade can work with those in fourth grade. There are no age restrictions. Rather, the learning readiness of the child determines where they are placed. One might extend this principle even further. Why should a third grader not be placed with eight graders if he or she can read at that level? Read More ›
Black Graduation Hats placed on open books
Black Graduation Hats placed on open books

Education System Not Getting Better, Only More Expensive

As Ben Franklin was leaving Independence Hall after the adoption of our Constitution, a lady asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got — a Republic or a Monarchy?” He replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Read More ›

Students and Parents Badly Hurt by the Legislature

The 2019 legislature missed out on a big opportunity this year. Instead of working to reform how our schools operate, the legislature took a step backwards by undoing much of the good work that was done in response to the McCleary court ruling just two years ago. In 2017, Democrats and Republicans approved a bi-partisan school funding bill, reforming state and local property taxes to ensure that the state met its constitutional obligation to fully fund K-12 education. The law reduced inequities by capping local property taxes, so wealthy areas would not have an imbalanced benefit, by providing equitable state funding to all schools on a per-student basis. All parties, including Governor Inslee, lauded and moved forward with the agreement. Read More ›

With Learning, Take the Scenic Route!

The world’s information is literally at our fingertips every hour of the day. Getting info is as easy as pulling out that smartphone or tablet and asking a search engine for the answer. In less than a second, there it is. “How many millimeters are in an inch?” Boom, there it is. “There are 25.4 millimeters in one inch,” the virtual assistant responds. “What’s the capital of Peru?” “Lima is the capital and largest city in Peru.” Done. You are now smarter than you were a few seconds ago. Or are you? It turns out that learning is not as efficient a process as Big Tech would like it to be. The latest research in cognition shows that learning takes time, requires repetition, Read More ›

American Center for Transforming Education: Updates from Washington and Oklahoma

Discovery Institute recently launched its newest program, the American Center for Transforming Education (ACTE), to target one of the nation’s highest priority public policy objectives: improving the performance of the U.S. education system. ACTE blends a focus on increasing parental choice and empowerment with the complementary objectives of reforming certification for teachers and administrators and strengthening teacher preparation programs. ACTE’s work is rooted in the philosophy that the education of the child is a fundamental responsibility of the family. All families, regardless of socioeconomic status, should be able to access the school that they believe will best serve their children. A ZIP code should not be the determining factor in what education a child will be able to receive. In Read More ›

Education Reform Must Begin With the Legislature Says Former Seattle School Board President

This week, the Legislature begins its deliberations during this short session. The top priority will be “education” and the need to comply with the Supreme Court decisions on charter schools and funding. The charter school issue should be the easier of the two according to Don Nielsen, former Seattle School Board President and author of Every School: One Citizen’s Guide To Transforming Education. Read More ›

Tom Alberg Says Schools Need ‘Radical’ Fixes

In a Seattle Times interview, Tom Alberg — co-founder of the Seattle venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group, who also serves on the Advisory Board of Discovery Institute’s new program on education reform — cites K-12 education reform as on of the most important issues of our time, and gives his recommendations on what is necessary to fix education locally in Seattle: Q: What are issues that need to be addressed? Alberg: I think the one place that a lot of tech people are really concerned about is education, K-12 education. I mean, we should have the best public schools (in the country) and we don’t. I think we need some radical steps and my two radical steps are: Transfer Read More ›