Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Higher Ed's achilles

I was going to write my own slant on both the article and the blog entry found in The Quick and the Ed but there is nothing more to say. So please read both when you get a chance so you can gain keen insight into why the current university system is going to go down to online universities with great outcomes at significantly lower costs (like American College of Education - see previously blatant seo link).

The money quote on what college leaders are doing wrong from the interview:
  • "the biggest mistake is not linking the use of new technoloyg to saving costs"
The money quote from the blog entry:
  • "but eventually things are going to get ugly in a business where not only is there no relationship between what services cost and what customers are charged, and not only are the people providing the service ignorant of the cost, but there are active cultural norms discouraging those people from asking questions about cost or even considering concepts like efficiency in the way they work"
Wow - I say right on the mark both as a person paying for 2 college educations right now and an active participant in bringing sanity to the higher ed market.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cutting Edge in Wichita

Disruptive innovation is nicely highlighted in the Innosight Institute case studies on hybrid learning. In this case it is a credit recovery/drop out prevention program in Wichita Public Schools.

Effective on graduation rates, cost effective hybrid learning.

It is always great to see such progress - and sad to see it taking so long to spread.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Open Source Learning!

Combine two of my favorite people and of course I have to talk about it. Paul Peterson, who takes education data to push us towards real world solutions, wrote an blogpost in Education Next about Open High School of Utah featuring Robyn Bagley, tireless advocate for education change. As always he raises some great points. In this case we have a promising innovation in education that is hampered by archaic rules. Open high school has 125 ninth graders and already the demand has exceeded what they can provide based on reduced funding formulas and artificial caps.

The biggest problem is that the state says it has to be all or none. You can't just take one or two courses with Open High which is sad. Utah needs to take a look at Florida and allow the funding to follow the student PER CLASS. So if someone needs a better algebra course, that student can spend the Algebra period taken a much more customized curriculum from Open High.

Open High School of Utah has a HUGE competitive advantage over all other schools. Besides its energetic staff (and they had many more applicants who wanted to teach there then open positions) they can customize and continually update the curriculum to meet the needs of their students. They will not depend on a State Board to tell them what text they will receive for the next 5 years based on the interest of huge educatio publishers. The teachers will decide what content to bring in based on meeting state standards and student needs. They still have to meet state standard, but teachers and staff will decide how best to get there.

Can't wait to see how this unfolds in the next couple of years.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Free TFA

I was spending my morning doing a little research on our teaching and leadership master's degrees programs and I became even more convinced they will lead to increased student achievement. During my research I came accross TFA's new site based on their recently released book, Teaching as Leadership. This is an incredible resource for new teachers. They have put all their content online and free to help all new teachers succeed.

It is very well organized, incredibly practical and easy to follow. Basically, every new teacher could use these resources to help them through the rough patches in that first and second year.

I applaud Teach for America - they now have over a decade of observations and experience to continually update what works for their new teachers and they provide it to everyone so that more students and teachers will succeed. Take a look - it will be well worth your time!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Atlernative Certification Tuition Grants

Teachers from alternative routes to certification like ABCTE, TNTP, TFA, Troops to Teachers, school district programs and community college based programs come from a similar demographics. They are older than most entry level teachers, they are more diverse and these programs attract more male teachers. They have incredible backgrounds that we desperately need in teaching and in ed leadership roles. I have studied alternative certification and seen first hand what how these teachers inspire our students.

We need them to succeed in order for our schools to be successful. When you change careers and take an entry level job in your new profession it is a hefty financial and professional burden. My first goal in arriving at the American College of Education was to put our resources towards helping these teachers advance faster.

How can they advance? School districts reward advanced degrees. They need an advanced degree that provides real world, relevant, job related, and researched based content to help these teachers excel at their new profession. So the logical next step for these teachers is to earn a quality master’s degree that respects their time and doesn’t cause them even more financial hardship.

So today the American College of Education launches our alternative teacher certification campaign! Our board of directors has authorized a limited number of $500 tuition grants totalling over $500,000 to teachers who came through high quality alternative certification programs!!

If you are a alt cert teacher or know one who is ready to take the next step, please go to the link below to claim your grant:
The campaign will end on June 1, 2010 – so if you are ready for your master’s or know someone who is ready, please send them to the websites.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It is Rocket Science

Great blog by Tom Vander Ark on Rocketship Education which is a hybrid learning environment designed to help close the achievement gap. It is fascinating because you have a group really using technology to fully leverage their most valuable resource; the teacher. This allows them to pay more for the same hours worked and have the students put in more hours of learning. The best of KIPP with the increase in learning time without the burnout factor affecting the talent.

The promise of technology is coming closer and closer to fruition and it is happening outside the normal delivery channels. The other promising aspect is the team assembled to take Rocketship even higher - and yes the analogies and puns are endless - there is a definite entrepreneurial, research, reforms to scale and other skill sets present to make this a reality. Will definitely be fun to watch!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Education Master's

I love speaking with school district HR leaders - it is a great way to really see what is going on in education. In this case, we were talking about teachers earning the master's degrees in a brick and mortar setting. He told me that his teachers still needed the program but were not finishing because of the cost and time requirements. It is not surprising to see the economy adversely affecting their career goals.

He was thrilled that the American College of Education Board had authorized a limited number of tuition grants to help with affordability. He felt that the quality combined with the low price would get these teaches back into an M.Ed program and help them move forward in their careers - especially in education leadership.

It was a great way to start a Monday!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

EPI's and Teaching

Part of the fun/challenge in any new role is taking a much broader look at your industry. Yesterday I looked at how the American College of Education could help teachers from an alternative certification and today I dove in a little deeper.

I started looking at Florida's Educator Preparation Institutes or EPI's and came away very impressed. If you have not heard of these programs, Florida passed a law in 2005 and by 2007 750 new teachers had come through these new alternative certification programs. Needless to say, community colleges do move fast when they have a great opportunity to help students!

As with all alternative certification, these mid-career professionals need to move up the career ladder fast and a master's degree can really help. The board at the American College of Education was generous enough to assist these new teachers with tuition grants. More to come as we set this up.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Master's for the Alternatively Certified

Having spent the last five years of my life focusing on increasing the opportunities for career changers to become teachers, it is fitting that my first assignment here at the American College of Education is to help teachers with an alternative certification become even more successful. Alternatively certified teachers have to enter the teaching career ladder on the lowest rung. The average age of these teachers is around 35, so they are looking to move up the career ladder as soon as possible.

How can they accomplish this? One of the most efficient ways is to earn their master’s degree. With an advanced degree these teachers can improve their teaching practice, increase career opportunities, move up the salary schedule and increase student learning. Since they have just started teaching, what they really need is an affordable, accessible, high quality master’s degree from an accredited college.

And that is where the American College of Education programs come in. Alternative certification provides a great entry point into teaching and a master’s degree from a premier online institution is the logical next giant step forward.

More to come as we look to help more alt cert teachers succeed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

First day at ACE

Had a great day learning more about the American College of Education. First impression is that this is an amazing group of dedicated professionals working to increase access to Master's level programs for more teachers. Pretty amazing day and incredibly energizing. More to come - but take a look at http://www.ace.edu