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The Theme is Innovation

This country has been built on innovation and ingenuity. When it comes to American education however, we are far too cautious. For us to succeed as a nation, and for our students to achieve, we need to be vigilant, constantly reevaluating progress and challenging the status-quo, calling into question existing systems and the opinions of the majority.

We need to examine the fundamentals that are the basis for end results; what is the rationale for the existing academic calendar structure and school schedule? We should be calling into question issues such as standards of student-teacher ratio and class size, and examine learning methodology and teacher preparedness—and awareness. Implementing new education technologies in the classroom can help young educators struggling to connect with students innovate in their lessons, understand their role and communicate more effectively in school and beyond. Charter schools and the unique freedom and flexibility they enjoy have brought about enormous leaps in the quality of students’ education, immense rises in academic achievement across the states, and brighter futures for the nation’s most needy children.

Gone are the days when a school in a community would be limited by distance and cost from availing its students of every imaginable lesson that exists in the world to enhance their learning. First and foremost, it requires listening to the students and directing their educational experience in totally new ways – and then talking about it!

Every effort must be made to bring innovative technologies to our schools. The traditional systems of pre-K, K-12 and higher education should not shackle our approach to improving education. Government should prioritize and expand support for innovative education by partnering with agencies that oversee telecommunications and transportation to drive the digital super highway further into rural communities and thus permit them to access the best of education that currently escapes their remote areas, via technology.

Innovation in and of itself is meant to be “disruptive.” Merely introducing devices in the classroom or breaking ground on a new building focuses solely on inputs, and doesn’t consider the most important component to learning—the outputs and results.

Charter schools have since their genesis been brilliant laboratories of innovation, born themselves in states’ efforts to disrupt districts’ exclusive franchise over education. Since the first charter school law was passed in Minnesota a quarter-century ago, the schools of choice have united people from diverse backgrounds and lifestyles seeking more personalized and innovative public education to meet student needs in ways that traditional public schools have often failed to do.

Check out these videos from charters who venture beyond the norm to innovate in their schools; hand-picked from the video submissions to CER’s “Hey John Oliver, Back Off My Charter School!” Video Contest held last Fall.

 

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