Reimagining Education

Freedom in, and through, education

American history is filled with stories of innovation, individualism and the power of offering people the chance to choose their path in life.

In fact, the opportunity for success and prosperity through innovation and hard work is the very definition of the American Dream.

In a country that is filled with choices and innovation, a country with disrupters like Netflix or Uber that have transformed entire industries overnight, why are parents still stuck with the same educational system they went through as children?

Why do parents and students not have more choices in where they go to school and how they learn?

Our current, one-size-fits-all education system still works for many students and should be championed when innovative teachers create new ways of learning that lead to greater student success.

However, the sad reality is that there also many students across this country, both urban and rural, who are trapped in low-performing schools simply because of the zip code they live in.

They are trapped in schools where they do not have access to high-level courses, in schools that do not have the capability to help students with special needs,  in schools that have not even been able to produce proficiency in key core subjects like reading and math for decades.

And over those decades those same schools have graduated generations of students who do not have the key skills needed to succeed in this modern world of innovation and technology, generations of students who do not have the educational grounding to earn a living wage, generations of students who cannot help transform the economic realities of their communities eventually improve the quality of their school districts.

The history of these failing schools does not have to be the future of education.

At the end of the day, the success of our country, the innovation which has made America the leader of the world time after time, has always stemmed from the ability of our citizens to choose their own destiny.

And there are choices in education.

Charter schools can offer students smaller classes, programs that are more focused on science and math or arts or languages, and provide teachers and administrators the freedom to develop new innovative ideas.

Web-based, virtual courses can offer students access to high-level courses that may not be available in their home district and competency-based learning structures that allow students to learn at their own pace.

Educational Savings Accounts can provide parents and students with funding to help them choose the support they need to succeed, whether it be helping to buy textbooks, paying for additional tutoring, or providing access to a private school.

All of these educational innovations exist right now. Some may work for some students and others may work for other students, but in a nation founded on freedom and choice, shouldn’t we give every parent and student the chance to choose the educational model that works best for them?

So as we celebrate our country with cook-outs and fireworks, as we fill our streets with flags and choose our best red, white and blue outfits, please take a moment stand with CEAM and help us fight for more choices in education no matter what your income is and no matter what zip code you live in.

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