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Map maps american book
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Reopen Schools State by State

What’s good for one state may not be good for the next. Authority over schools rests with governors.  They should decide when schools open in their states.   For example, Alaska, having the least amount of coronavirus cases is not comparable to the hot bed of New York, even though both Alaska and New York have shut down schools for the rest of the year. On Tuesday, President Trump publicized an “Opening the Country” council, which will provide counsel regarding social distancing efforts moving forward. Participants include hundreds of leaders from business, technology, health care, agriculture, and sports.  Yet no one from education in on the council. This is a mistake.  An educational leader from each state should be included Read More ›

WA connectivity
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With Schools Closed, How Will Washington Address the Connectivity Gap?

Governor Inslee announced at a press conference on April 6 that Washington State in-person schooling is closed for the rest of the year.  Commenting on the subsequent need for connectivity, Superintendent Reykdal added that “everyone needs connectivity and access,” and that “students have the right to be connected like their right to clean water.” For those schools that have experimented with online learning, this should provide an opportunity to scale up the experience.  But others may be left behind. This is an uneasy time for families. Many will be wondering how their children will be educated for the rest of the year. Surprisingly, when asked about equity, Inslee mentioned that they have made the difficult decision to get most kids Read More ›

Rural road with dramatic clouds in southern Minnesota at sundown
Rural Minnesota road with dramatic clouds at sundown
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Online School and the Possible Rural Fallout

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the country, schools are heading online to stay productive.  But rural communities with meager broadband Internet access are stuck in digital wastelands with no clear path out. The Pew Research Center reported that for 2019, 73% of American adults had a home broadband connection. But access is not evenly distributed.  While 79% of suburban and 75% of urban Americans enjoy a broadband connection, only 63% of rural Americans have broadband internet access. According to Pew, rural areas continue to be stuck far behind urban areas in broadband access: Roughly three-quarters (76%) of adults who live in rural communities say they use the internet on at least a daily basis, compared with more Read More ›

Path way
Path way of Hope and Success The light is on the destination.
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Mississippi Misfortunes and Where to Rebuild

The Magnolia state has had its fair share of woes. Coming in near the bottom of the barrel in education standings, the highest poverty rate in the United States, the lowest labor participation rate (56% to be exact), and one of the lowest median incomes, coming in at $23,121. This is just to name a few. Yet there is hope. My visit to the capitol of Mississippi this past week leads me to believe that in education, we may be on the cusp of a new era of meaningful reform. For example, we have seen a recent uptick in fourth grade reading scores, where Mississippi improved its position from forty-ninth in 2013 to twenty-ninth in 2019 based on National Assessment Read More ›

group of school kids raising hands in classroom
education, elementary school, learning and people concept - group of school kids with teacher sitting in classroom and raising hands
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Government Schools Vs. Independent Schools

Commenting on Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, Corey DeAngelis writes in the Washington Examiner, “Trump is absolutely right to call them government schools instead of public schools.” DeAngelis is correct. Here’s why. “Public” schools are not open to everyone because students are barred based on zip codes. The schools are directly responsible to and directed by the government, whether at the local level (a district school board) or at the state level (through the state board of education). The schools are funded by federal, state, and local taxpayers. This distinction is helpful because correctly characterizing these schools clarifies who should be held accountable. Other forms of schooling, such as charter schools, religious schools, private schools, and certain ESA Read More ›

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36242ccf-bbc8-4e28-81bc-61858f768f98
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Power Politics Trumps Children

Karl Zinsmeister, editor in chief of Philanthropy magazine, recently writes in the Wall Street Journal, “We are now in the midst of a counterrevolution against school reform.” This could not be more true. Both Republicans and Democrats have at times supported school reforms such as school choice, teacher accountability, and more rigorous testing. Now, as Chris Stewart, education expert at a Philanthropy Roundtable conference commented, “School reformers are getting punched in the face.” For example, in Texas, Houston’s Board of Education announced it will no longer allow Teach For America volunteers to serve in the district. And in California a panel appointed by the governor placed new constraints on educational choice, allowing local school-district officials the ability to veto public Read More ›

A Quest for a More Purposeful Education

The Center welcomes a new program coordinator, Bailey Takacs The American Center for Transforming Education (ACTE) is pleased to introduce our newest staff member. Bailey Takacs has multiple years of experience in increasingly responsible roles at the local, state, and federal levels of government. In his most recent position, Bailey managed a campaign for State Representative Paul Graves. His experience is escalated by his Bachelor’s degree, earned from Pacific Lutheran University, with a major in Politics and Government and a minor in Philosophy. Having been a product of public education in Washington State, Bailey has had firsthand experiences with the challenges facing the existing public school system. His experience aligns with that of Don Nielsen, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, Read More ›

Nowhere to Go but Up. A look at Student Achievement

As we contemplate dramatically improving the performance of our education system, the monumental effort this will take, and slow pace, makes many resign themselves to small tweaks to an outdated K12 model. Others, however, are tackling the issue head on. The American Center for Transforming Education recently sat down with Dr. Edward Lee Childress, Superintendent of Corinth, Mississippi School District. Why Lee? Because he is from Mississippi, a state ranked 50/50 on K12 Achievement in Education Week’s Quality Counts 2017 report. The data isn’t good for these students who go to school in the worst performing state in the nation. However, in Corinth, a district with 61% poverty, 43% minority, and thousands less dollars per student than the national average, 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 ›

Career Technical Education

The USA is waking up to the disconnect between jobs available and the lack of American youth with the skills to fill them. Apprenticeships and skills-based learning for students is a big focus of our nation’s educational reform today. Many of these models are crafted from the success of Germany, Switzerland, and other countries who long ago recognized that technically skilled wage earners are the backbone of their country’s economy. Public Private partnerships are leading this innovation. IBM started the P-Tech model as a six-year public school career program for grades 9-14. AJAC (Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee) and other apprenticeship programs are offering high school students paid adult apprenticeship hours, and high school and college credit, during the public school Read More ›