Category

System Change

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 ›

cockpit Flight Deck sunset
airplane cockpit Flight Deck in sunset
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The Cockpits of our Economy

In 1952, the United States Air Force came to a realization. Even though good pilots were flying even better fighter jets, they could not figure out why split second decisions were lagging. Pilots were blamed, the technology was blamed, and flight instructors were blamed. The source of the problem though, was the cockpit. They found that that every cockpit was built for the “average” pilot, yet when each pilot was measured, there was no such thing as an average sized pilot.   Director of Harvard’s Mind, Brain, and Education program, Todd Rose, likens the state of our education system to that of United States Air Force fighter pilots. In his 2013 speech for TEDx “The Myth of the Average”, he Read More ›

Scholarship concept
Young man passes from a peak to another on a book. The concept of scholarship and
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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 Read More ›

Father and son at home
Boy hiding behind the back bad test result.
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Nation’s Report Card Shows Decline

The National Assessment of Educational Progress sent home a disappointing report card for our nation’s students. According to the NAEP announcement on October 30th, “Average reading scores for the nation in 2019 were lower for students in both fourth and eighth grade than in 2017, while average mathematics scores were higher by 1 point for fourth graders and lower by 1 point for eighth graders.” It gets worse: “In mathematics and reading for both grades, a little more than one-third of students nationally scored at or above the NAEP Proficient level in 2019.” Not all was lost however. Fortunately two states, Idaho and Mississippi (who we at the ACTE work closely with) bucked the trend and showed upward trajectory. As 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 ›