Advancing educational opportunities for everyone.
Governor DeWine, Speaker Cupp, and, most notably, Senate President Huffman, deserve credit for steps taken in the most recent Budget that increased educational opportunity through vouchers. Passage of universal Education Savings Accounts, or even simply making the application process for current voucher/scholarship programs more straightforward, would put more parents in a better position to make the best choices for their kids. Hoosier & Mountaineer families are feeling the benefit of bold reform in the last 12 months while Buckeye families seeking opportunity are currently under attack in our courts.
Our friends at Yes, Every Kid serve as a north star for how we can rethink education. The below ideas are pulled from the YES Education Toolkit.
Opportunity – Each child is different, and all children deserve a menu of options—programs, services, courses, and schools that are designed to address their interests and aptitudes. The goal is not to standardize children: it is to allow every kid to discover, develop, and apply their talents to realize their full potential.
- Provide credit for learning, wherever it occurs.
- The freedom to enroll in a variety of courses, inside and outside of a child’s school.
- Funded accounts that can be used for a variety of educational uses.
- Public schools of choice, with the autonomy to create unique learning environments.
Students – American schools were designed for a world that no longer exists—a standardized model of education that prepared students for a factory economy. To succeed in today’s global economy, young people need different skills and mindsets that the factory model was not designed to foster. A focus on student-centered, innovative approaches is taking root in schools across the country. Below are a few examples of policy approaches adopted in other states and districts.
- Set a vision for what education should be, and where it should go.
- Remove the red tape that prevents innovation from taking root.
- Remove arbitrary seat time rules and focus on content mastery.
- Ensure innovative models are not at a disadvantage in admissions.
- Don’t let a test prevent innovation.
- Think of how school should look, not how it does.
Funding – Instead of a transparent process that evaluates and funds student needs, education funding is an opaque process that few understand, and even fewer find effective. It is time to update unfair and outdated funding systems that focus on everything except what kids need to succeed. Funding systems should provide more funding to students with greater needs, reduce geographic and per-student inequities, and foster innovation so that providers can offer solutions that meet student needs.
- Fair and transparent funding based on student needs.
- Provide school leaders with the freedom to lead.
- Fund students, not schools.
- Earn valuable workplace credentials in high school.
- Career exposure and experience while in high school.
- Focus on hiring on demonstrated skills.
Vision – The purpose of education is to unlock each individual’s unique potential, empowering them to discover their aptitudes and interests, develop skills, and apply that knowledge to benefit themselves and others. Empowering them to self-actualize.