For more than century the U.S. has conducted education by pouring government funds into brick-and-mortar neighborhood public schools. It seemed to work for a time.
Education became compulsory so we would feel good about kids not being forced to work in factories. That was good, but we developed our schools to look a lot like the factories. Everyone learned the same thing to equip them for a middle-to-lower-class factory life. Schools were “standardized” for an age of standardization. It was efficient and seemed to meet our needs.
Parents got used to relying on government schools to educate their children. After all, it didn’t make much economic sense to send a child to an expensive private school or to take one parent’s income-earning hours and dedicate them to homeschooling. So, public education grew in power and influence. Boards were established to make decisions, powerful teacher unions emerged, and education became more about the institution and less about families.
In truth, very few of us are factory workers today. And yet, many continue to be trained under the inherited factory model of education.
In the wake of COVID-19 many parents realize that they can and should have a greater say in their child’s education.
Today our students are faced with an ever-changing world, one that looks quite different from even one generation ago. The internet and social media continually reshape our economic, social and career landscapes. Students require more than the 3R’s. They need to learn creativity, problem solving, and entrepreneurial skills. They need to know how to adapt in this technological age, and every child is different with vastly different learning strengths and challenges. In today’s world, how you compare against others matters less than how you cultivate your unique strengths.
That is why we must look toward the future of education and reimagine what it can look like. In the wake of COVID-19 parents have become aware of what is and what is not being taught to their children. Many realize that they can and should have a greater say in their child’s education.
We may not agree on everything, but many of us are waking up to the idea that we must do more. We need to engage the current system and demand more for our kids. We don’t care so much about where our kids learn, so long as they are truly engaged. Whether they learn at home, public or private schools, what matters is providing the best learning options. We know it’s time to fight and push for greater educational choice across the board.
That’s why Alaskans for Choice in Education is conducting our first event – the Alaska School Choice Convention. It’s a chance for parents to explore options currently available in Alaska, discover resources and tips for learning at home, and find out how to advocate for greater school choice in Alaska.
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Speakers from public, private, faith, and homeschool sectors will present information and inspiring ideas. We also have governmental leaders (like U.S. Senate Candidate Kelly Tshibaka and State Senator Roger Holland) who will provide insight on educational issues. Principal Jessica Parker, of the largest Anchorage charter school – Family Partnership Charter School – will highlight the many options within the public school sector. Pastor Prince Nwankunu will teach on the hot topic of Critical Race Theory and its impact on education today. Anchorage Christian School’s Pamela King will share about the value of a Christian education. Comedian Danielle Anders will lighten our hearts and encourage us with humor about her family and their educational journey. Author and homeschool veteran Julia Nalle will share her insight into rearing a large, adoptive family.
Vendors will also be on hand so you can peruse through books, meet authors and experts, and take a look at different schooling models. Breakout sessions will give parents the nuts-and-bolts ideas and strategies to make the most of their child’s educational experience.
The Alaska School Choice Convention will be two days of great insight and connection – July 27-28 at Anchorage Baptist Temple from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Registration is only $15 per family for the entire two days. This is a great opportunity for families of school aged kids as well as community members and advocates who care about education.
Register at akschoolchoiceconvention.com and bring a friend!