July 26, 2022
Hi, again. Hope your July is rounding out with some much-needed relaxation and a desire to explore a little more Forza…for Education.
I don’t know about you, but do you ever wonder why so many current or aspiring policymakers are tone deaf to the growing frustration of parents and the general public when it comes to our kids? You need only read the first two entries here to begin to see what I mean. There are, of course, more reasons than ever for parental frustration, concern and investment in walking away from the status quo. And that includes walking to new and expanding educational opportunities that put families in the driver's seat and students' needs first. Take a look.
You can’t make this stuff up…
As an independent news source offers, “if there was one lesson Democrats should have taken from being swept by the GOP in Virginia's 2021 elections, it's to be very careful what they say about parents, children and schools.” Lesson not learned here.
Parents are vultures? Whatever makes you sleep at night.
Four-day School Week?
Another mind-boggling Texas news report fresh off the press - more districts announcing a move to a four-day school week, reportedly to help retain teachers, without much regard for whether it works for students, and giving parents yet another reason to get frustrated with systems that put adult needs over that of kids. Here’s my take on this (though I’m hardly alone):
Educating kids is not about time, it’s about learning. (I know, that was big. 😉) Districts that don’t have the resources to ensure that every student succeeds should give the funds to the families and let them decide if they want to buy a 4-day public school district “education” or use the funds to obtain an education that might more fully meet their needs. It could be a private, a micro-school, a homeschool or another public school. But it’s not right to give families no option in the matter and potentially shortchange student lives. That’s what needs to be said to those who would insist the kids lose yet another month, or year, or two of learning.
Gold Standard of Opportunity
On the other hand, Arizona is on a roll leading the way for parents to make those decisions. You might remember back in May we spoke with Governor Doug Ducey about policies intended to give parents control. When asked by reporter Dana Bash in a CNN interview last week why he thought education freedom was the right approach, Ducey pointed out the nation’s history of discriminatory education practices that are still in play in too many places today:
“Fifty years ago politicians stood in the schoolhouse door and wouldn’t let minorities in. Today, union backed politicians stand in the schoolhouse door and won’t let minorities out…Now they will have a way out and will be able to learn, grow, and climb the economic ladder in the United States of America and Arizona is the first.”
And They’re Off!
Nope, not another horse race, but an impressive and extraordinary array of education innovators are now officially in the running for the prestigious $1 million Yass Prize for Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless education, and more than $10 million in STOP Awards to another 69 organizations, including 6 special awards to help Arizona parents access more options with their new found ESAs. Nearly 2,700 applications were logged and a sneak peek tells this observer that the nation is going to see the proliferation of exceptional learning opportunities for students, thanks to educators, entrepreneurs and leaders who are working to meet both demand (like our highest ranking Parent Power states) - and supply.
You can follow along here on milestones of The Yass Prize and STOP Awards, like when the 64 quarterfinalists and 6 Arizona prize winners are chosen in early October, when the 32 semifinalists start the accelerator later on in October, and when the awards’ respective finalists and grand prize winner are announced at a special Forbes Media event in NYC on December 14.
Reason to Believe it will be a Bright September
There is good news elsewhere, too. In cities across the country, innovators across all education sectors are breaking china. Read Yass Prize Director Caroline Allen’s piece in Forbes this week about how groups like Transcend Education, Engaged Detroit, and the Shields Center for Innovation are paving the way for exceptional, 21st century education that constantly moves the needle to meet the needs of our future.
Book Review: Whether you picked up Collective Illusions at my urging in the last Forza or not, here’s another to add to your list. Educator and thought leader Ian Rowe takes us on a very difficult journey through our educational past, present and future with this challenging and incredibly timely book called Agency, The Four Point Plan (F.R.E.E.) for ALL Children to Overcome the Victimhood Narrative and Discover Their Pathway to Power.
Let me know what you think!
Had an extraordinary albeit brief (and hot) visit to the infamous and beautiful Donner Pass this week. Remembered a bit of what I learned in high school about the tragedy of those ill-fated pioneers and wondered if anyone even teaches about such things anymore, let alone the glorious terrain they tried to scale. I do hope so. History is a marvelous thing.
Please Stay Cool - Jeanne