Granite Staters for Education Reform – Education opportunity will bring our school system into the 21st century.
It’s amazing to think how many parts of our society have changed in the last 100 years. The internet and other modern technologies have completely transformed our world so much that many things that were commonplace for centuries have been made obsolete in the modern Digital Age. Every day we’re presented with many choices and customizations for nearly every product or service or product we use.
One thing that hasn’t changed much in the last 100+ years is our nation’s education system. We’re still using the same model to educate our children that we did in 1850. In a world filled with choices and options, we’re still assigning students to a school based on the location of their parents’ home in most cases.
In comparison to the realities of doing job interviews via video conference calls and telecommuting to work, this one-size-fits-all school district system is shamefully outdated. While many people take online college classes to fit their needs, schedule, and budget, online primary education seems like Jetsons’ technology!
The Department of Education under Governor Chris Sununu’s administration has proposed some innovative and exciting opportunities for education reform in the Granite State. From the Career Academy, a new public charter school that allows students to receive an associate’s degree or certificate at no cost to them, to the Learn Everywhere program, which allows for more and more opportunities to learn outside the traditional classroom setting, opportunity for students abounds.
It could be a very exciting time to have young learners growing up in this world. Parents could have more choices today in education than ever before. The opportunities have just started arriving. With a little courage to embrace change, our education system can be overhauled to deliver better results than ever before.
New Hampshire has comparatively good traditional public schools, but is that really good enough to educate the next generation? Considering that recent international assessments rank America 31st among 35 industrialized nations, we can certainly strive to do better.
Public Charter Schools and other options are seen as tough competition for our traditional public schools, but that shouldn’t be the case. Innovation in one area of education can be to the benefit of all areas of education. Investing resources in one does not mean drawing resources off of the other.
In most corporations there exists a research and development team. They use resources allocated by the corporation to come up with solutions to improve the product provided by the company. We can replicate this in the public education sphere by investing in new opportunities, and by allowing educators to get innovative.
Investing tax dollars into research and development will help all future students, as new solutions will be embraced for the betterment of education on the whole.
To that end, Granite Staters for Education Reform will promote and encourage innovative solutions in our public, private, home, and even non-schooling arenas. All students deserve an education that fits their needs. All educators deserve the opportunity to innovate and teach.
We can work cooperatively with traditional public school models and encourage their support while simultaneously supporting innovative ideas coming from outside those walls. Local control can be preserved while affording universal opportunity.
All of these things are possible, if we have the courage to look at our education system through a lens of optimistic criticism. If we have the courage to say it’s good, but it certainly can be a lot better. If we have the courage to say it doesn’t work for everyone, all the time, but it can.
Christopher Maidment is a founding member of Granite Staters for Education Reform and a father of two in Peterborough.