America is failing our students. Many areas of the country are dealing with educational inequalities, including the inner cities. Educational inequalities rob our students, as well as the country as a whole. Costs associated with remedial training or lost job opportunities call for education reform.
Education Reform with Students in Mind
Education reform needs to begin and end with students in mind. America is slipping when compared to other countries. According to the Pew Research Center, “The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science.” The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) measure reading ability, math and science literacy. Performed every three years, PISA is one of the biggest cross-national tests.
Printed Textbook Alternatives
Back when I was in school, my locker’s main use was to hold unused textbooks. Just imagine thousands of lockers used primarily to hold textbooks. Instead, we could provide students with a device which contains all of their textbooks. Student can acquire their textbooks digitally, which removes the need to do so on the first day of class. This can also drive down the cost of textbooks for school districts.
I plan to put in place a committee to help with this task. The committee will work with both the educational and open source communities. The focus will on open source educational resources, to reduce costs and allow for open access. The goal is to make educational materials more easily accessible and available to the public.
One key benefit is to allow schools across the country the ability to use the same materials.
Online Colleges Already Use Digital Textbooks
Many colleges, especially those taking place via the Internet, utilize digital textbooks. Why can we not create something similar for K-12? I wish to work with the educational community, authors, and textbook manufacturers, to create a centralized location. I wish to further work with technology partners to deliver devices to the hands of student.
We live in a time when information should be in the hands of those who can use it. The focus should be on educating the young people in this country. We owe it to them to provide this in a uniform and cost effective manner. As well as allowing the same educational opportunity to be available to all.
The commission will also focus on school choice. School choice can go a long way towards allowing students to choose which schools they attend. Growing up in Southcentral Los Angeles post 1992 riots, I was uncomfortable attending a high school in the area. Through the Magnet Program of the LAUSD, I had the opportunity to attend another school. This same opportunity should be available to all students. Forcing students to attend an unsafe or less than desirable school should never be the only option.
Teachers are underpaid for the job they perform. They are the front line for educating our young people in vital areas. Properly paying our teachers need to be a priority for the job they perform, as well as properly equipped. Continuing educational requirement, as well as ensuring they have the resources needed in the classroom, are vital.