Discover more from Forza...for Education
Just Under One Week Away…
By this time next week you will be in the know!
CER Turns 30, The Yass Prize Unveils Its 32 New Semis and..
…and, well, I’m not going to tell you what else is happening but hope you’ll be pumped to join the hundreds that will be gathered in Cleveland next week to watch the big reveal - virtually! So get dressed up, grab a cocktail and tune in to YassPrize.org at 7:58 EST on October 10, 2023. Can’t wait to ‘see’ you there!
Lessons from Barbie
I thought the movie was hysterical, irreverent and quite interestingly strikes a parallel to what’s happening with students all across the country. So I wrote about it. It’s about averages, and stereotypes and how neither helps our kids succeed, even though they suffer through an education that is shaped that way.
Are Microschools the Answer to the Teacher Shortage?
Amar Kumar of Kaipod thinks so. He’s one of the 2022 Yass Prize Semifinalists and his growing organization has proven the point that parents and students want what’s unique and fitting for their kids. But it turns out their microschool solution may also be the solution to the teacher crisis.
“Teachers have not vanished into thin air; they just don’t want the job anymore,” argues Kumar.
He and dozens of other microschool groups like his are feeling the shifts as they are able to hire teachers who want something different and better than a system hog-tied by rules and regulations.
I wrote something similar a few years ago for The 74 about allowing teachers to be entrepreneurs if we want to solve the lack of quality educators available to our students. We’re on a parallel track - and mission. Let’s solve this together!
More Education Freedom…
In case you missed it, North Carolina joined the pack of states enacting widespread, universally available vouchers to students across the state, something leaders there started years ago and for which they have incrementally built support with the full backing of parents teachers. I always like to brag about CER’s very first intern from 1994, Rob Bryan, who went on to become a lawyer, and a State Lawmaker and led the charge with people from both parties to enact the first, more
modest program in 2014. Rob is pictured above - all the way to the right, next to Governor McCrory and former Democratic Representative Edward Hanes, Jr. to my left. Together they bridged divides and drove change. Incredible. So proud!
Reviewing that event took us down a little memory lane when we held several forums in partnership with the Jack Kemp Foundation, run by Jack's son Jimmy Kemp. Our stars included not only NC’s Governor but U.S. Senator Tim Scott, now a presidential candidate growing in popularity for his balanced and passionate approach to the issues, particularly his support for equity and opportunity for all students. Everything old is new again - it’s exciting to see traction on ideas we once just talked about!
Texas Governor Greg Abbott just called his normally part-time legislature back to work again starting October 9th to hammer out undecided issues, including the importance of education opportunity for students in a state where only 38% of 4th graders can do math at grade level and only 30% can read at grade level - and that’s the average. Low income kids fare far worse.
While Abbott is resolute about the idea of at least giving low income families a choice, many of his Rural compatriots disagree, and have launched a massive media campaign to scare voters into fighting the effort. Their argument? Football and Friday Night Lights will go away. All because poor kids are taught to read. Go figure. Meanwhile parents like those pictured below are gathering in droves to learn how they can turn around mis-information and start thinking differently about things. Parent Power won the day in so many states and it will make the difference in Texas.
Remember The GOP Debate?
For many it was forgettable. Lots of soundbites, not many solutions but nevertheless it marks a milestone in making education a primary issue in a Republican presidential debate. Hats off to the moderators, including Martha MacCallum in the first and Dana Perino in the most recent, who hit the education issues that matter most to voters—failing student achievement, parental rights and universal school choice.
All that said, the softball questions should have led to great answers. The candidates missed an opportunity to give the public a real lesson on why most students can't read, write or do basic math at grade level. My two cents - they could have said:
“Students need to be in schools that are personalized and meet them where they are. The barrier to that are the habits and operations practiced by traditional school districts. Yes, teacher unions defy reason, delay good education and back failure, but it's traditional school districts that keep them in power - and prolong bad policies - like school closings, for example. Education freedom is the foundational piece that can drive change, but it's time to take on districts which have long outlived their usefulness.”
Anyway, that’s what I think they should say. You?
Next week we will be sending you the big news from the Summit, and can’t wait to share pictures of our awardees and attendees rocking with The Spinners who open the Summit, and of course The Beach Boys who will help us close it out!
Most of all, I know I will be sharing out the gratitude I feel every time I’m in the presence of exceptional educators, advocates, thought leaders and fighters.
My cup is full.
Have a beautiful week. “See” you soon! -Jeanne