The coronavirus pandemic, which brought schools nationwide to a sudden close, half of which have yet to reopen, has shaken up K-12 public education. Yet with this setback, we also have an opportunity to provide meaningful, lasting transformation to our education system to a greater degree. The American Center for Transforming Education is positioned to leverage this unique opportunity to prepare students to live, work, and thrive in tomorrow’s world. It’s time to expand our reach.
Our strategy is two-fold. First, we advocate for parental empowerment — school choice in all forms, including legislative tools such as education savings accounts, vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, and charter schools. Second, we work to make systemic reforms to the operation of our nation’s public schools.
A Stagnant Failing System
As documented in Don Nielsen’s Every School: One Citizen’s Guide to Transforming Education, the public K-12 education system has not changed substantially in the past seventy years. Seventy percent of teachers are disengaged. Seventy percent of students do not receive the education necessary to be successful in the 21st Century. Sure, teacher gradebooks are online versus kept with paper and pen. Students submit their essays typed instead of via longhand. And, schools assign students to e-textbooks as opposed to hardback editions. Yet, the overall system from a bygone era remains — an outdated, one-size-fits-all approach is failing our students and failing our country.
Like most parents, Sarah wants her children to receive a good education. She believes education is the key to a better life than she can provide for them — an opportunity that could change the trajectory of their lives. However, year after year, at the conclusion of each quarter and following spring standardized testing, the school notifies Sarah that both children are below grade level in reading and math.
Sarah asks the school for help, communicates with the teachers, and tries her best to support her children with their homework, although her own education lacks. Despite her efforts, each year Sarah’s children slip further behind grade level proficiencies. Regardless of their learning deficiencies, the school promotes them to the next grade each summer. The pushing of her children through the system, designed for mass production, has failed them. Yet, the family has no other option than their locally assigned public school with a D rating.
The situation has worsened with the closure of school campuses. Regardless of whether Sarah’s children persist in the system and graduate, they will be ill-prepared for either a career or college.
On the other hand, imagine an alternative reality: Sarah having school choice options — strong alternatives to the D rating assigned school and avenues to get her children the needed academic support. Or suppose the public school addressed her children’s pressing educational needs with responsiveness and individualized solutions. What a life-altering positive difference that would make for her children.
Timely Transforming Endeavor
Sarah and her children are not alone. Millions of K-12 families in the U.S. have the same story — no educational option other than their assigned failing public school.
As student learning loss continues to multiply across our nation, the need has never been greater for a K-12 education redesign — true, lasting transformation. At the American Center for Transforming Education, we are growing and expanding our reach to tackle this urgent issue.
With more support, we can do even more, so students leave the system successfully equipped for life. The future of each student depends on it. The future of our nation demands it. Will you join us in this vital work to transform K-12 education? Will you make a one-time or recurring tax-deductible donation? We invite you to participate with us in this timely transforming endeavor for the sake of our nation’s children.