Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity Tour Stops in Phoenix to Rally Thought Leaders in Education, Government, and Business, and Address Local Education Issues
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Three weeks ago, another education reformer was dismissed from his post by protectors of the status quo. This time, it happened in Wake County, North Carolina when a 5-4 vote of the Board of Education dismissed former Broad Academy graduate and Army General, Anthony “Tony” Tata as district superintendent. At a time when district scores are going up, dropouts are going down, and their accreditation status recently upgraded, why did the Board of Education let the superintendent of 20-months go?
When unionized teachers in Chicago took to the picket lines in September, leaving classrooms empty in the first weeks of the new school year, it caught America’s attention. Now that the debate over education has been reignited, let’s put the focus back where it belongs—on the students. Many Americans are deeply concerned about the state of public K–12 education—and others are downright mad. A new Hollywood film features the fight of one mother and one teacher who are fed up with the low standards, union control, and bureaucratic bungling that contribute to chronically failing schools.
High-tech manufacturing companies like Boeing are concerned about the United States’ ability to sustain its leadership role in technology and innovation. The state of American education—and even the academic rigor required to earn an engineering degree—has become a frequent talking point at the national level. Some even mistakenly theorize that our students are not up to the challenge of studying engineering, math, and science because it’s just too hard. The answer to this national crisis lies not in changing the engineering, math, and science curriculum but in changing learning environments and how these subjects are taught.
MOOCs—or massive open online courses—have been getting quite a bit of attention lately, and rightfully so. At their core, MOOCs provide people from all walks of life the chance to learn something for nothing. All you need is an Internet connection, and you’re ready to go. Essentially, think Khan Academy on steroids and some kind of science-fiction genetic engineering that doesn’t yet exist, and you’ve got a MOOC. Most of the current offerings don’t lead to a credential, but some of them do offer pathways to apply what you’ve learned towards some sort of certification.
We hear it every day: ‘The success or failure of our education system directly correlates to the success or failure of the U.S. economy.’ We know that learning and mastering essential skills, such as writing and mathematics, in K–12 and postsecondary schooling is crucial to landing a job and excelling in the workforce. Yet, it’s also known that American public schools are failing across the board.
Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity Aims to Rally Thought Leaders in Education, Government, and Business to Improve Education Across the Nation
This week, as leaders gather in New York City for the third annual Education Nation summit to talk about education solutions, out in the trenches, the battle continues over education basics. The first teachers' strike in 25 years in the Windy City garnered national headlines as union leaders fought to minimize school accountability. In a district where only one in nine African American students are meeting state standards in reading and math and only half graduate from high school, educators vigorously resisted measuring teacher effectiveness in the classroom and giving students more instructional time.
Sandra Westlund-Deenihan’s biggest work worry isn’t making payroll or increasing international sales of her metal float balls, valves and assemblies. It’s teaching her entry-level employees how to use a simple ruler. Westlund-Deenihan, president and design engineer of Illinois-based Quality Float Works, spoke during a roundtable discussion on the skills gap at the U.S. Chamber Institute for Competitive Workforce’s (ICW's) Help Wanted event on September 20. The event brought together business leaders, policy makers, and innovative education leaders to discuss what businesses can do to better align the nation’s workforce needs with higher education.
As someone who trained as a professional boxer, Overstock.com Chairman and CEO Patrick Byrne can certainly take some punches. He started his speech at the U.S. Chamber by noting that he is public enemy number one, according to the National Education Association. It’s a distinction that the outspoken supporter of school vouchers and education reform is quite proud of.