I share these widely held beliefs: that education is the right of every child, that education is the foundation of our democracy, and that education is critical for the long-term vitality of our economy.
I am also among the growing minority who feel that we need to fundamentally change the way we provide education if we are to achieve the goal of bringing every child to their full potential. In the model we have — in which most content for learning is delivered by teachers in classrooms — we are failing to adequately differentiate learning to meet the diverse needs of our children. As hard as we try to increase education funding, class sizes are never going to be small enough for teachers to fully address the individuality of every child.
We will always need teachers to coach and motivate students, but we need to give them the online tools they need to deliver different content to different kids and test different content for different kids. We also need to empower kids more to learn on their own and give them credit for their independent learning.
For the past three legislative sessions, I have worked hard to pass legislation to strengthen online learning in Massachusetts. This effort culminated in the virtual schools bill that we passed at the end of the session.
I’m going to spend the next session listening to students, parents and teachers, watching to see how the virtual school bill is implemented, and generally thinking about how best to further support change in public education. As of this writing, I am currently in the middle of a program of visiting all of the schools in my district.
For more about my work and thinking on these issues, you can browse all posts on education or use the subject outline below:
- Legislative directions
- Independent and virtual learning
- January 2013: “Commonwealth Virtual Schools” come into law
- January 2012 draft bill expanding public school virtual learning
- My bill to create virtual charter schools (June 2011)
- Local meeting on Education Technology
- Restraining Innovation in Virtual Learning
- Progress on virtual learning in Massachusetts
- Independent online learning — recommendations
- Background pieces
- How are online tools being used to support independent learning at the K-12 level?
- What are the major options in adopting online learning?
- What is the role for institutions of higher education in the K12 online learning market
- K12 online learning products — links
- K12 independent online learning resources — links
- Rethinking goals of education
- The conversation about charters, turnaround schools, etc — “education reform”
- Distribution of Chapter 70 school aid: it’s time to make changes
- Helping school districts in a tight financial environment
- Involving front line teachers in the conversation about education
- Teachers on the Board of Education
- “Teaching on Edge” education website
There are a number of thoughtful topics and posts on education topics, initiated by site users, in the Forums section of the website. Click the button below to see them: