There’s a New World Coming
And it’s just around the bend..
There’s a New Day Dawning…That belongs to you and me…
The words of the inimitable Mama Cass Elliott could not be more on point for this week, of this new year.
If you read what’s happening in the world very carefully, there is such great reason to hope - hope that we achieve a new world in education, a world where students engage in their learning in dramatically different ways, using the vast stores of information available to us now while being guided in the learning approach of their choice, rather than be subject to what someone else dictates.
You hear it - that new day dawning - in some of the Governors’ Inauguration speeches
It’s time for the tough conversations to address what’s working and what is not.
It’s time to teach kids how to think, not what to think.
And that means, we must give students more access to learning methods that fit their unique needs. We need MORE schools - not less schools like the fear mongers claimed when we called for change (and mentioned several new models in his remarks).
We have examples of this emerging all across our state, like the Aviation Academy in Norman which is preparing today’s youth to become pilots and airline mechanics.
Former Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo became Nevada’s 31st governor Monday, taking office on a vow to become America’s 'education governor,’ and promising to make education freedom a reality for all parents.
Hats off to two-state, two-term Governor Dan McKee, who, while short on details, actually talked about making things better, a huge thing considering many simply sweep the details of failing education under the run. “We must be all-in on improving education because that is the key to the long-term economic future of our state.”
No surprise that Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the new Arkansas governor, promoted education freedom, having hired a Florida official who contributed to making Florida’s model a reality. “Let's give parents a greater role in education, including the right to choose the school that's best for their child, whether it's public, private or parochial,” she said.
Breaking from the “new day dawning” theme, we hoped that the normally progressive Jared Polis, Governor of Colorado, who is considered an out-of-the-box thinker, would be all in on transformation in his second term. Instead, he’d focus on ensuring public schools are supported and teachers respected, rather than cast any vision of what transformational learning - and teaching - could look like. Could portend interest in a future, bigger run where he doesn’t upset the status quo.
Will be tracking the bright spots, and the low points, as the inaugurations continue.
You see it in the sobering news reports about enrollment
Traditional public schools have 1.2 million fewer students this year than in 2020, which may actually create a seismic change in the way schools work. I talked about this with CBS correspondent Allison Keyes last week, and what that could mean on her news podcast and on CBS Radio Weekend Roundup.
We know why this is - parents and families looked under the hood during Covid and didn’t like what they saw, not to mention the options they found when schools remained closed for so long. And new and improved education options are evolving even more to meet their needs. This is a great time for education entrepreneurs, thoughtful leaders and teachers who can think differently about how students learn and are taught.
You see the hope for a new day in the new tools and technology available to help students learn
Crazy new AI tools are driving a new world of engagement for students - and all of us. As Ryan Craig says in his always informative newsletter, “2023 is the first year it will be impossible to imagine education without education technology.” ChatGPT, an OpenAI’s third-generation large language model, gives every student the capacity to create “passable paragraphs". So spring semester 2023 marks the start of a new era for education. Instructors will no longer be able to assign generic topics – “read the book and write about it.” GPT adds urgency to project-based learning or learning-by-doing,” says Craig. We’ll see. It’s a scary new world. But a balanced use of all available to us can only make the learning process better.
Just look at how Yass Prize finalist and STOP Award winner STEMuli gives students AI-driven, personalized learning paths to help them accelerate education that aligns to achieve their career of choice. Through game-based learning, students' journeys evolve in response to performance, allowing both student and teacher to further customize their pathways, and coaches, mentors or recruiters to help them advance their career paths.
Then there’s the new platform Learneo, which houses six cloud-based learning programs that millions of students use to help them find resources, write, do math, and edit their papers, among a whole host of other things. To be sure these are not new endeavors, but with a new parent company it does beg the question, why are we not changing how all levels of education are structured, and led, as long as there is technology that can enhance student learning?
With all this and more, there should be a new world coming, as Mama Cass says, indeed. And our kids need it - urgently.
With all we’ve seen and learned about how many different ways students learn and how many different approaches that education can be delivered, like those celebrated Yass Prize winners among so many others, there is just no reason schools should be not designed differently. None.
What are the best redesigns you’ve seen? Write me at Jeanne@edreform.com. I promise to respond!
To a New Day! Jeanne