Education Next – Matthew M. Chingos and Daniel Kuehn
“The Trump administration has championed private school choice, but critics have pushed back, bolstering their arguments with evidence that such programs can lower student test scores. Our new report on a Florida private school choice program complicates this policy debate. Low-income students who used public dollars to attend private schools through the Florida Tax Credit (FTC) scholarship program enrolled in college at higher rates than their public school counterparts, according to our new study of more than 10,000 FTC participants. The FTC program, which is essentially a voucher program funded by business tax credits, is the largest private school choice program in the country and has been held up as a national model by advocates and policymakers.”(more)
The 74 Million – Carolyn Phenicie
“Private school choice was among the only education pledges made by President Donald Trump on the campaign trail and has been a decades-long focus of advocacy by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Congress reauthorized the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship, the only federally funded program, earlier this year, but like other Trump administration priorities, the odds of any kind of national private school choice program being enacted are looking increasingly slim. The administration proposed a $250 million voucher program in this year’s budget; House Republicans, the caucus that should be most open to the idea, didn’t include the program in its 2018 Education Department spending bill.”(more)
The 74 Million – Carolyn Phenicie
“President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal includes a huge increase for school choice while making big cuts to the Education Department’s overall budget. The budget includes increases for the charter school fund, a new program for private school choice, and incentives for states to make sure some Title I dollars for low-income students follows them as they move among schools. The $1.4 billion in new dollars for school choice eventually will ramp up to $20 billion, the budget says, matching the amount Trump pledged to spend on school choice during his campaign. “We will give our children the right to attend the school of their choice, one where they will be taught to love our country and its values,” Trump pledged at a rally in Nashville Wednesday evening.”(more)
The Miami Herald – Kyra Gurney
” Donald Trump has provided only scant details on his education agenda but the ideas he has pitched make one thing certain: the president-elect’s vision for American schools is very different from that of his predecessor. Trump has said he would shrink the Department of Education — or demolish it altogether — and vowed to be “the nation’s biggest cheerleader for school choice.” On the campaign trail he also called for an end to gun-free school zones, and for changes in the student loan system. His transition website, which devotes just two paragraphs to the subject, identifies a few other priorities including early childhood education and magnet and theme-based programs.”(more)
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing. – Steve Jobs, founder of Apple
Steve Jobs made highly technical machines user-friendly and beautiful by blending mathematics, science, and art. More importantly, he started a wave of innovation that made products that were once only accessible to scientists and engineers readily available to the general public.
During this period of innovation, the education sector was stuck in a time warp. Most primary and secondary students today are educated in about the same way that they were in the 1980s.
Counselors continue to place students into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), humanities, and trade tracks rather than encourage a broad education. Teaching credentials are still more important than an amazing understanding of the subject and schools are still accredited by personnel from other schools rather than by the market. Also, the majority of U.S. students attend schools run by the government.
Regulations and peer review accreditations may have been necessary in the middle of the 20th Century. However, the same regulations and accrediting bodies that protected our kids then are forcing schools to operate in ways that are inconsistent with 21st Century realities. In short, this means kids are wasting years of their lives on things that no longer matter.
For education to keep pace with the times, there must be a complete paradigm shift. Instead of regulating and delaying change, we need to encourage the education sector to innovate.
To make sure new ideas make it into the education system we need to encourage more private schooling options. Then we need to urge these schools to try radical concepts and provide concrete information on what students are learning. Finally, we need to make sure all students have access to these innovative schools.
The easiest way to make all this happen is to issue education vouchers that can be used at any school and require schools to publish third party test results each year.
With this type of competition, all schools should become better. When the schools become better, our kids will be better prepared. When our kids are better prepared, the country will be more vibrant. When the country is more vibrant, the economy will be better. When the economy is stronger, everyone will be better off.
It is time to get rid of the bureaucracy and allow our schools to innovate so our kids’ hearts can sing.
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
“You have probably heard the claim, “If you choose to educate your child online, he/she will be a social misfit.” To analyze this assertion, it is important to understand online education.
There are two basic types of online education: real-time and self-paced. In real-time online courses, students attend class on a computer. Classes are held at specified times and students participate in discussions during class periods. Each real-time online class is slightly different, because students participate in the instruction.
Self-paced courses are prepared in advance. Students progress through the material at their own pace. There is no real-time class interaction. Proficiency is sometimes tested with quizzes or tests that are integrated into the learning material. In this case, students must pass a quiz/test before they move on to future lessons. In other cases, students are required to go to proctored test centers to take exams.
In general, self-paced courses work well for material that requires little discussion. Real-time classes are more effective when most of the student learning occurs during classroom dialog.
Online education is appealing, because there is less wasted time. There is no need to drive to a physical location, worry about disruptions that occur in physical classrooms, or waste time dressing for school. In addition, students and parents have the ability to work school around other things in their lives.
Self-paced instruction is more cost effective than traditional classroom teaching, because lectures are prepared in advance and are used many times. In addition, this type of course delivery can be of higher quality than traditional classroom instruction, because the best teachers can present the content and there are no interruptions.
Some students find self-paced online instruction challenging, because they can procrastinate to the point that it is nearly impossible to learn the material. As a result, there is a reasonable argument that self-paced instruction is only appropriate for highly motivated and disciplined university and high school students.
Also, it is possible for students to succeed in an online environment without learning how to interact with others. As a result, it is imperative that online students have other avenues for developing social, leadership, and team skills.
Online education is not for everyone, but is an attractive alternative for motivated, self-disciplined students who have a strong social network and opportunities to build leadership skills and learn how to work on a team outside of school.