United States Lags on 2015 PISA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC — The US ranks 35th in math, 15th in reading, and 18th in science according to the 2015 PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) released today. Scores indicate a decline for the first time in several years in math, while reading and science remain stagnant.

The PISA assessment, administered every three years to 15-year-olds across the globe by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), is widely considered the most valid worldwide assessment of student performance across almost 70 countries. Its results should guide how countries address potentially needed improvements.

In 2012, for example, only nine percent of US “15-year-old students scored at proficiency level 5 or above, which was lower than the OECD average of 13 percent.” In Science and Reading the proficiency is not dramatically different. The US typically ranks similar to the average of all OECD’s 27 participating countries. Keep in mind that includes countries like Estonia and Ireland, both of which score better than the world’s most advanced country, the United States of America. On the 2015 results, Singapore ranked top, with countries like Estonia, Ireland, and Canada again ranking ahead of the US.

“This is a rallying cry for anyone concerned about this country, and evidence once again that we must put Opportunity and Innovation on the front end of all education policy initiatives,” said CER Founder and CEO Jeanne Allen. “The lagging indicators of US education will be a critical challenge for the new Administration.”

About the Center for Education Reform

Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that the conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education.

School Choice: Will Trump Help or Hurt The Cause?

by Arianna Prothero
Education Week
November 30, 2016

School choice advocates are waffling between excitement for potentially unprecedented new opportunities under a Donald Trump administration, and concern that the president-elect could also dramatically undermine the school choice movement.

Trump’s promise on the campaign trail to spend $20 billion on school vouchers for low-income students could herald a massive expansion of school choice—especially with his selection of an ardent school choice activist as his new education secretary. But the election’s polarizing outcome and Trump’s comments on race could also prove corrosive to the school choice movement’s increasingly tenuous claim to bipartisan support—in particular for charter schools.

[…]

‘Unprecedented’ Support

In addition to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who oversaw aggressive expansion of Indiana’s school voucher program during his tenure as governor there, Trump has also tapped experts from right-leaning think tanks to advise his transition team on education policy.

“It’s kind of unprecedented to have this many people from the top on down who not only embrace school choice, but understand it,” said Jeanne Allen, the founder and chief executive officer of the Center for Education Reform, a longtime proponent of school choice.

 

Read the full article at Education Week. 

Newswire: November 29, 2016 — TIMSS Test Shows US Students Lag Internationally — An Amazing Charter School Example in New Mexico — Innovation in Career Education

HOW THE US STACKS UP INTERNATIONALLY. The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) results are out today, and fourth and eighth graders in the US remain dramatically behind other countries. For high school seniors taking advanced math and science courses, achievement remains stagnant, and a 30 point gap exists between males and females. These results are a call for greater Innovation and Opportunity in US education.screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-11-55-32-am

A MODEL TO EMULATE. Everyone is always asking about great models to emulate, and this independent New Mexico charter school came into our view. Albuquerque’s Mission Achievement and Success (MAS) Charter School, a rigorous college prep school, consistently gets “A” grades and has a 4 star rating on Great Schools. But because it’s not part of a larger network, it’s not the kind of school we hear about often. Speaking of independent schools, don’t forget to check out our video library of amazing charter schools.

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INNOVATION AT WORK. Organizations like GiftedHire —one of CER’s newest partners in innovation — are making a difference in US education by guiding students during their school years to make decisions that will help them secure better jobs sooner. This unique career education tool has amazing potential to help kids now, particularly in charter school environments which are less burdened by bureaucracy and more focused on results for kids, meaning they can implement tools and methods more quickly than a traditional school might be able to.

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GIVE THE GIFT OF OPPORTUNITY. If you’ve looked at social media or your inbox today, I’m sure you’re fully aware that today is #GivingTuesday — a day dedicated to giving back after the days of holiday sales and deals. We’ve strategically designed a 100-day campaign that will lay the groundwork for how we mobilize our network in 2017 — but we need your help to pull this off! Will you help us raise $25,000 by the end of 2016 to lay the foundation for true innovation and opportunity in 2017?

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MAJOR EVENTS. It’s a busy week in DC, with the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s national summit happening simultaneously with ALEC’s policy summit. The Next Generation Charter Schools Act — a collaboration with CER to inform state legislators and leaders working in education — is an important topic of discussion as new leaders prepare to take office. We will be on the ground at both, so make sure you say hello!

And in less than a month is New York EdTech Week, the must-attend event in December for the EdTech community. This global education innovation festival focused on how edtech can drive and advance learning is produced by StartED (of which CER’s Jeanne Allen is a managing director), and provides access to the industry’s largest and most influential network of leaders in education and technology.

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This New Mexico Charter School is a Model to Emulate

In places throughout New Mexico, and across the nation, there is a desperate need for new opportunities for children to receive a quality education – opportunities that are not offered within the confines of the existing education establishment.

Albuquerque’s Mission Achievement and Success (MAS) Charter School stands as an incredible example of the opportunities for quality education and personal growth that charter schools can create for students and for the greater good of our communities.

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MAS ACADEMIC HIGHLIGHTS

  • A on School Grading 2015-2016 School Year
    • One of only 14% of schools in the entire State of New Mexico to earn this grade
    • One of the ONLY schools in the entire State of New Mexico to serve our demographic to earn this grade 
  • A on School Grading 2014-2015 School Year
    • One of only 14% of schools in the state to earn this grade
    • One of the ONLY schools in the state to serve our demographic to earn this grade
  • Comparative Demographics Chart (see below) indicates a higher percentage of minority students, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged students. This is compared to the local public school district in the city in which we are located AND the state averages for the State of New Mexico.

 

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  • Similar schools data from our school report card indicates that we are Number 1 in the State of New Mexico when looking at “similar schools” as established by the State of New Mexico. The information provided below is taken directly from the State of New Mexico’s School Report Card for MAS Charter School for the 2015-2016 school year, the second chart was taken from the 2014-2015 school year. Full versions of the report card are attached to the email for reference purposes.

2015-2016 Similar Schools Report from NMPED Report Card

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2015-2016 Similar Schools Report from NMPED Report Card

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MAS “OTHER” HIGHLIGHTS

2016-2017 School Year

  • New Mexico Coalition of Charter Schools Teacher of the Year Award, Alison Garcia. See home page link here.
  • Currently working directly with Scarlett Lewis to implement the Choose Love Curriculum to support Social and Emotional Learning. Among the first schools in the nation to pilot this curriculum.
  • Increased enrollment from our opening year in 2012-2013 from approximately 100 students to nearly 800 students in our fifth year of operation.

2015-2016 School Year

  • Houghlin Mifflin Harcourt Read 180 Student of the Year Award – Awarded to Carlos Gallegos.
  • New Mexico Coalition of Charter Schools School of the Year Award.
  • MAS Charter School Founder/Principal entered the Tedx Community by presenting her first Ted Talk on Bridging the Gap from High School to College.
  • MAS Charter School contributed in our fourth annual community service event, sending every secondary school student at MAS to a local community organization to perform community service throughout the community. This involved placement for nearly 500 students at over a dozen community service locations within our local community.
  • All MAS students visited at least ONE college including our kindergarten and first grade students!
  • Major contributors to the Roadrunner Food Bank, the largest food bank in the State of New Mexico. MAS Charter school is one of the largest contributors in the State of Mexico.  Below are our contribution totals to date.  Over the four years we have been in operation, we have collected 47,571 pounds of food…this does not include our contributions for 2016-2017 as we are in the process of completing our fall food drive.

School Year Totals:

School Year Fall Spring Total
2012-2013 456 3684 4,140
2013-2014 8,081 1,813 9,894
2014-2015 8,237 3,437 11,674
2015-2016 12,338 9,525 21,863

 

2014-2015 School Year

  • New Mexico Coalition of Charter Schools Governing Board of the Year Award.
  • MAS Charter School contributed in our third annual community service event, sending every secondary school student at MAS to a local community organization to perform community service throughout the community. This involved placement for nearly 350 students at various sites throughout Albuquerque.
  • All MAS students visited at least two colleges. This included in state college trips, out of state college trips.
  • Major contributors to the Roadrunner Food Bank, the largest food bank in the State of New Mexico. MAS Charter school is one of the largest contributors in the State of Mexico.  Totals are listed above.
  • MAS was approved to amend our charter school and open elementary school starting with grades K-1 for the 2015-2016 school year.

2013-2014 School Year

  • New Mexico Coalition of Charter Schools Principal of the Year Award.
  • MAS Charter School contributed in our second annual community service event, sending every secondary school student at MAS to a local community organization to perform community service throughout the community. This involved placement for nearly 250 students at various sites throughout Albuquerque.
  • All MAS students visited at least two colleges. This included in state college trips, out of state college trips.
  • Major contributors to the Roadrunner Food Bank, the largest food bank in the State of New Mexico. MAS Charter school is one of the largest contributors in the State of Mexico.  Totals are listed above.
  • Tripled student enrollment from our inaugural year of operation…increased from approximately 100 students to 300 students.

2012-2013 School Year

  • MAS Charter School contributed in our first annual community service event, sending every secondary school student at MAS to a local community organization to perform community service throughout the community. This involved placement for just over 100 students at various sites throughout Albuquerque.
  • All MAS students visited at least two colleges. This included in state college trips, out of state college trips.
  • Major contributors to the Roadrunner Food Bank, the largest food bank in the State of New Mexico. MAS Charter school is one of the largest contributors in the State of Mexico.  Totals are listed above.

State Affairs Associate

POSITION TITLE: State Affairs Associate
POSITION STATUS: Full Time
REPORTS TO: Vice President of Policy and Communications

POSITION SUMMARY:

The Center for Education Reform, a leading national nonprofit research and advocacy group devoted to making schools better for all children.  Our work and approach are quite unique.  We are focused entirely on the outcomes.  As such, we prod and we expect to be reaching the sky and raising expectations of ourselves and others around us.  We are passionate about education and that passion is seen through our work and our accomplishments as an organization.  This is our culture.

The State Affairs Associate will coordinate research and specific state policy efforts under the guidance of the VP of Policy and Communications.  They will work to advance state legislative and regulatory agenda. This will be accomplished by monitoring and analyzing state legislation and regulations and assisting in developing strategies and tactics to support various initiatives.

The State Affairs Associate will be a trusted team member who will play an important role in the operation and growth of our organization.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Research all major reform issues
  • Continuously review, identify, monitor and analyze legislation and proposed regulations
  • Proactively provide updates and awareness to the CER Team
  • Read incoming documents and resources
  • Notify and alert staff and leadership to critical issues
  • Analyze information and articulate key issues in plain language
  • Develop documents for use by communications team
  • Development documents for legislative uses
  • Attend events in area of policy
  • Develop and refine CER’s voice, specifically on choice and charters issues
  • Follow CER internal procedures

DESIRED CHARACTER STRENGTHS

  • Highly organized
  • Proactive
  • Analytical (including strengths with numbers)
  • Commitment to accuracy and excellence
  • Strong communication skills (spoken, written)
  • Hard-working & production oriented
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Deadline oriented

REQUIRED

  • Results driven self-starter, organized project manager, problem solver, professional and genuine communicator, flexible and adaptive but persistent achiever.
  • Background in education policy.
  • Bachelor’s degree required preferably in political science, public policy or related field.
  • State affairs experience, including state legislative and regulatory processes required.
  • Knowledge and understanding of education reform issues is required.
  • Commitment to school choice.
  • Demonstrated communication skills (written, verbal, and presenting).
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Strong legal and legislative research and writing skills.
  • Strong knowledge of MS Office, particularly Word, PowerPoint, and Excel as well as other productivity focused tools.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS AND WORK ENVIRONMENT

  • Must be able to deal with a wide variety of challenges, deadlines, and diverse array of contacts.
  • May work at a desk and computer for extended periods of time.
  • Must be able to occasionally lift up to 30 lbs.
  • Must be able to work primarily in a traditional climate-controlled office environment.
  • Must be able to work evenings and weekends as needed.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

Interested candidates, please e-mail a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references to apply@edreform.com.  In the subject line, please put “Application: State Affairs Associate: YOUR NAME”.  Before any text, please put your full name and contact number.

 

Communications Associate

POSITION TITLE: Communications Associate
POSITION STATUS: Full Time
REPORTS TO: Director of Communications

POSITION SUMMARY:

The Center for Education Reform, a leading national nonprofit research and advocacy group devoted to making schools better for all children.  Our work and approach are quite unique.  We are focused entirely on the outcomes.  As such, we prod and we expect to be reaching the sky and raising expectations of ourselves and others around us.  We are passionate about education and that passion is seen through our work and our accomplishments as an organization.  This is our culture.

The Communications Associate will research, develop, and write communications as well as support the communications strategies by developing target media lists.  Additionally they will assist with the design, build, and maintenance of the website. This individual will also work closely with the communications director on assigned projects and across policy and program initiatives.  In addition to being highly organized, the qualified candidate should be sophisticated in the fundamentals of social media outreach and advocacy and traditional communications strategies. The ideal candidate will be an excellent writer, creative thinker, resourceful problem solver, and highly productive worker.   The Communications Associate will be a trusted team member who will play an important role in the operation and growth of our organization.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Create communications about CER’s efforts to include writing, editing and production of marketing, advocacy and program materials, including social media content development and contributions to e-Newsletters, press releases, talking points, and other communications
  • Create stories about our efforts
  • Write “Newswire” pieces
  • Support the implementation of marketing and communications strategy for organization.
  • Communicate on behalf of CER through twitter and other social media platforms as well as monitor social media
  • Support research and technical assistance efforts.
  • Facilitate communication between organization and target stakeholders.
  • Use project management tools to keep track of team progress toward goals.
  • Support the execution of advocacy and outreach events and campaigns.
  • Participate in organizational strategy conversations and strategy related to program portfolios.
  • Develop design materials such as factsheets, one-pagers, and other supporting materials
  • Research and integrate new communications technologies
  • Maintain relationships with external media agencies and publications
  • Follow CER internal procedures
  • Other duties as assigned

 DESIRED CHARACTER STRENGTHS

  • Strong communication skills (spoken, written)
  • Analytical (including strengths with numbers)
  • Proactive
  • Commitment to accuracy and excellence
  • Hard-working & production oriented
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Deadline oriented

REQUIRED

  • Results driven self-starter, professional and genuine communicator, flexible and adaptive but persistent achiever.
  • Knowledge and understanding of education reform issues is required.
  • Commitment to school choice.
  • Bachelor’s degree, plus at least two years of experience in communications, journalism, digital media, and/or a related field
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, with the ability to analyze and synthesize information
  • Strong proofreading and editing skills
  • Excellent knowledge of social media platforms and management
  • Attention to detail and ability to juggle multiple responsibilities without constant supervision
  • Excellent interpersonal skills; Ability to work collaboratively with staff, other organizations, and the public
  • Strong knowledge of MS Office, particularly Word, PowerPoint, and Excel as well as other productivity focused tools.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS AND WORK ENVIRONMENT

  • Must be able to deal with a wide variety of challenges, deadlines, and diverse array of contacts.
  • May work at a desk and computer for extended periods of time.
  • Must be able to occasionally lift up to 30 lbs.
  • Must be able to work primarily in a traditional climate-controlled office environment.
  • Must be able to work evenings and weekends as needed.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

Interested candidates, please e-mail a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references to apply@edreform.com.  In the subject line, please put “Application: Comms Associate: YOUR NAME”.  Before any text, please put your full name and contact number.

 

Betsy DeVos Will Ensure Innovation And Opportunity Are Priority as Education Secretary

STATEMENT BY CER FOUNDER & CEO JEANNE ALLEN ON SELECTION OF BETSY DEVOS AS US SECRETARY OF EDUCATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 28, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC — Jeanne Allen, Founder and CEO of the Center for Education Reform, issued the following statement regarding President-Elect Donald Trump’s selection last week of Betsy DeVos as his Secretary of Education:

“Educational choice and a passion for innovation have been the hallmark of Betsy DeVos’ many years at the forefront of the movement to transform elementary and secondary education in Michigan and the nation at large.

“Her selection is a bold statement by the President-elect that he intends to follow through on his campaign promise to make educational choice a centerpiece of his determination to ensure that the children of our nation – all of them – will achieve the American dream.

“The Center for Education Reform will enthusiastically support every effort by the new administration to expand innovation and real educational opportunity to benefit every child in America.

“Whether their futures are best served in traditional public schools, public charter schools, private schools, or a homeschool environment, our children deserve the very best education we can provide, and we will support Secretary DeVos in her efforts to ensure that innovation and opportunity are at the core of national policy under her leadership.”

 

About the Center for Education Reform

Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that the conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education.

 

Newswire: November 22, 2016 — In the Spirit of Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for a mandate for change from voters, charter schools speaking up, and more!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, this week’s Newswire highlights just a few things we’re thankful for here at The Center for Education Reform:

CHARTER SCHOOLS SPEAKING UP. John Oliver launched a misguided attack on our nation’s public charter schools, and they spoke up by responding with more than 250 videos showcasing the amazing ways they’re advancing opportunity for students.

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MANDATE FOR CHANGE FROM VOTERS. Earlier this month, voters across the country sent a clear message by electing opportunity-minded leaders into office. We’re thankful – and hopeful – that these leaders – and others voted into public office – will pave the way for innovation and opportunity for our nation’s learners of every age. This evergreen advice for any government leader or policy maker is a terrific place to start.

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THOSE WORKING ALONGSIDE US TO REVIVE EDREFORM. In June, we unveiled our New Opportunity Agenda to reframe the debate to educate the public and lawmakers on the necessity and best approaches to ensuring innovation and opportunity throughout education. Earlier this month, we formally launched this effort to collectively change the conversation with a one-day EdReform Revived event. We’re grateful for the brilliant and amazing minds who gathered to figure out how we can keep pushing and driving greater innovative opportunities for kids. While we work on a full comprehensive report, videos, and resources, here are 10 takeaways from the conversation.

EdReform Revived Event Summary

We’ll be sharing what we’re #thankful for here at @edreform all week long on Twitter. We invite you to do the same! (Don’t forget to tag @edreform in your tweets so we can retweet!)

Newswire: November 15, 2016 — What Charter Schools Have To Tell John Oliver — What Massachusetts Can Learn from Trump — Chicago Union Contract Limits Charter Schools

WHAT THEY TOLD JOHN OLIVER. Yesterday, CER was live in Sacramento, CA to award the top spot in our “Hey John Oliver, Back Off My Charter School!” Video Contest to Natomas Charter School. The school of 1,574 students, opened in 1993, won for having the video that best demonstrates why their charter school is meeting students’ needs more than any other school in their community. “John, the world realizes that education is an archaic model that needs updating – that’s why we have charter schools. We experiment, challenge, create – we pioneer change in hopes that other traditional schools will follow suit,” a Natomas student said in the winning video submission. The volume and caliber of videos submitted is astonishing, and all are truly winners, as these videos do an amazing job of showing the important work that charter schools do day in and day out. See for yourself.

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MASSACHUSETTS AND TRUMP.  What can Massachusetts learn from president-elect Donald Trump’s victory? The answer in the Huffington Post.

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ELECTION RESULTS. Do you know how education opportunity fared on election day? We analyzed races up and down the ballot for an important round up of results you should know about. CER CEO Jeanne Allen was live with the Wall Street Journal to discuss.

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CHICAGO, CHARTERS, & UNIONS. While a charter school teacher strike – which would’ve been the nation’s first – was avoided in October, union troubles remain in the Windy City. The threatened strike at the city’s largest charter school was just a small show of union power, with the latest coming in the form of a separate deal approved by the Chicago Teachers Union that stifles charter schools. The district promised a “net zero increase in the number of board-authorized charter schools,” in addition to limiting the number of seats available to students. Not only does this limit the potential for innovative options for students, but this is dangerous because it now becomes the union’s default for the next contract go-round.

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Sacramento’s Natomas Charter School Wins The Center for Education Reform’s $100,000 “Hey John Oliver! Back Off My Charter School!” Video Contest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC — The Center for Education Reform (CER) today announced that Sacramento California’s Natomas Charter School had been named the winner of CER’s “Hey John Oliver Back Off My Charter School” video contest

“Natomas Charter School is proud of its 25 year history of providing quality educational programs for students who may not fit in the traditional box.  We’re successful because our students are successful. This contest illustrates that not all charter schools can be put in one box either.” Dr. Ting Sun, Natomas Charter School co-founder and Executive Director.

“John, the world realizes that education is an archaic model that needs updating – that’s why we have charter schools. We experiment, challenge, create – we pioneer change in hopes that other traditional schools will follow suit,” a Natomas student said in the winning video submission.

The contest was launched in August in response to a misleading and poorly contrived segment of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, hosted by comedian John Oliver, which had the potential to cause serious damage to the most promising public education reform since public schools were created in the 1850s. “Oliver’s show cast charter schools in simplistic terms, and parodied the hard work of millions to create meaningful, personalized opportunities for students,” said CER Founder and CEO Jeanne Allen. “Charter schools uniquely serve students often not well-served by traditional public schools — which most students would have no choice but to attend were it not for the choices charters offer.””

More than 250 video submission from across the country were received by the Center. They painted a picture of diversity in school, programming, student body, location, demographics and message. The majority of schools explained how their schools meet the needs of their students better that the other schools they have in their community.

“That’s what it is about,” said Allen. “Creating schools that meet the needs of students, not making students fit into schools that were created long before their needs were known.”

Natomas Charter School, founded in 1993, serves 1,574 students from kindergarten through 12th grade (65 percent of its students are minorities and 26 percent are from low-income families). It has been designated a California Gold Ribbon School, is one of the top-ten of schools in Sacramento, and is listed in the top ten percent of charter schools in the nation by US News and World Report. Ninety-seven percent of Natomas graduates are accepted into four-year universities.

“It’s amazing that the video that most demonstrates the folly of John Oliver’s rant also happens to come from one of the pioneers of the charter school movement, and one that is hugely successful,” added Allen.

“Although John Oliver’s ‘report’ was unfair, the sliver lining is that it gave charters the chance to speak up and demonstrate how much these schools matter.”

About the Center for Education Reform

Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that the conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education.