Education Policy

Tacks On Calendar

Consider Year Round School

The Coronavirus has upended nearly every aspect of our lives—forcing thousands of businesses to close (many permanently), shuttered most schools until next fall, and skyrocketed unemployment. Add to this the social and emotional cost. I can only wonder how the children and families who were already experiencing hard times are now handling this. While this crisis presents a near-term national challenge unlike any other, we need to also think about the future beyond the virus. This leads to an educational concept we should consider: year-round school. While current educational schedules may meet the needs of some, it’s clear that some children need to more hours per day and more days per year in class in order to achieve even today’s Read More ›

drawing-tools-lying-over-blueprint-paper-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpg
Drawing tools lying over blueprint paper
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Preparing to Reopen Schools

The American Enterprise Institute just released its Blueprint for Back to School report, recommending that state and federal leaders be prepared for another atypical school year by offering regulatory flexibility regarding seat time, graduation requirements, and procurement rules to permit schools to remain operational in unprecedented circumstances. Read More ›
Close-up of hand inserting a key to the door
Close-up of hand inserting a key to the door

Equity Concerns for Education Access During COVID-19 Closures

Clearly, closing school doors can bring both positive and negative results.  The obvious positive: closing may slow the peak of the spreading virus.  However, the CDC reports that 19-year-olds and younger appear to have milder COVID-19 illness, with almost no hospitalizations or deaths reported to date in the United States in this age group. However, the fear is that they can still carry and spread the virus. On the flip side, for a large number of children, the best place for them to be is actually in school. Many parents remain working, and some children may lack access to educational materials or even meals at home.  And what is to limit children from contacting others when they’re away from school? Read More ›

Close-up of signing declaration of independence on two dollar banknote. United States, macro
Close-up of signing declaration of independence on two dollar banknote. United States, macro
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Our Way of Life is Worth Preserving

Tradition is under attack in America’s educational system. Dissolving the connections with our history will break society. Edmund Burke argues in Reflections on the Revolution in France that “Men… [are] becom[ing] little better than the flies of a summer,” each generation vanishing and giving nothing but the simple fact of their life on to the next. There are unfortunate, but not surprising, similarities between the French Revolution and the current battleground of education in the United States. Much like the French civilization in the 18th century, we have become deluded with a belief that the only way to change is to abolish what we have come to know. Burke’s commentary is equally fitting for our time as his, when he Read More ›

Woman walking over the edge of the cliff on seaside without looking
Woman walking off of a cliff with the eyes covered
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Progressivism Fails to Clear the Gap

A recent report, The Secret Shame, shows the deleterious effects of progressive policies on education outcomes of minorities. The report concludes that the top 12 progressive cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Detroit have larger educational achievement gaps between whites and minorities than the top 12 conservative cities, such as Fort Worth, Anaheim, Virginia Beach, and Oklahoma City. Specifically, “progressive cities, on average, have achievement gaps in math and reading that are 15 and 13 percentage points higher than in conservative cities.” To determine the progressive and conservative cities, the report relied on independent political scientists Chris Tausanovitch and Christopher Warshaw who “pooled data from seven large surveys of U.S. public opinion to rank the nation’s biggest Read More ›

Welcome to Mississippi sign
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Mississippi Should Take Education Head On

Mississippi’s 2020 legislative session, which started on January 7, will have plenty of bills for lawmakers to sort through.  Let’s hope education is at the top of their priorities. According to a U.S. news report, Mississippi ranks 46th out of 50 in K-12 education standards. Clearly a lot of room for improvement, which is why ACTE is partnering with Empower Mississippi – an independent, nonprofit advocacy organization with the vision for Mississippians to have opportunities to make choices that improve their lives through education – to begin shifting the conversation toward a fundamental transformation of their education system. Don Nielsen, a twenty-five-year school activist and program chair to ACTE, offers innovative solutions to the educational challenges facing our country. He Read More ›

Jackson, Mississippi, USA downtown Cityscape
Jackson, Mississippi, USA downtown cityscape at the capitol.
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Magnolia State Has Opportunity to Soar to the Top

Empower Mississippi, a nonprofit advocacy organization with a focus on education and employability, is helping elevate the state of Mississippi’s education standards. Their emphasis is on freedom and choice, paramount to transforming the education system. Elyse Marcellino, the Vice President of Empower Mississippi writes: “All in all, Mississippians have more opportunities than ever to find the educational program, services, staff, curriculum, and environment their children need.” This is due to their concerted effort on promoting choice in both private and public education. There are more than 4,500 students enrolled in a school choice program in the state of Mississippi and the numbers are increasing due to the passage of new legislation. As Marcellino notes, “after four years of inaction by Read More ›

Over Regulation concept
3D illustration of
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Education Must Be Run Locally

The word education does not occur in the U.S. Constitution—a clear indication that the federal government has no business meddling with education policy. Furthermore, though often ignored, the Tenth Amendment clearly limits the scope of federal power: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Listening to the current crop of presidential candidates, however, one would draw the conclusion that the federal government, and not the states, bear the primary educational responsibility.  In addition, one notes that 70% of the participants attended private schools or sent their own kids to private schools even as they fight against school choice for Read More ›

NO SCHOOL
Hand drawing text
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Warren’s Plan to Ban Effective Schools

Democrat presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, seeks to ruin education if elected president. In a recent announcement she pledges to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on traditional public schools while stripping any federal funding of new charter PUBLIC schools. This is coming from someone who has previously strongly supported public charter schools. Is it possible that she’s not aware that charter schools are, in-fact, public? Like other public schools, charter schools are open to all students, tuition free, publicly funded, staffed by certified teachers, and held accountable to state and national standards. The big difference between traditional public schools and charter public schools is that charter schools are held more accountable for showing improved student achievement. This accountability is “traded” Read More ›

If at first you don't succeed
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Fix Graduation Requirements, Then Track Credentials

Graduation from high school is based on time. After 12-13 years of school, to receive a diploma a student needs to collect a certain number of credits (called Carnegie Units). A credit is generally based on having received a passing grade for one year of class time or 9,900 minutes of instruction (55 minutes x 180 days). What all of this says is that seat time, rather than real learning, is the primary measurement for meeting graduation requirements. As Don Nielsen expresses in another way, “in public education, measuring input is more important than measuring output.” The same can be seen in the industry-recognized credentials (non-degree or certifications) that students are earning. According to ExcelInEd, “nearly half of the 50 Read More ›