Tag Archives: school choice

Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative

hillsdaleI was doing some research based on something from a chapter in Conform, and I came across something I think more conservatives should be aware of. Hillsdale College has created the Barney Charter School Initiative.

The Barney Charter School Initiative is a project of Hillsdale College devoted to the education of young Americans. Through this initiative, the College will support the launch of K-12 charter schools. These schools will train the minds and improve the hearts of young people through a rigorous, classical education in the liberal arts and sciences, with instruction in the principles of moral character and civic virtue.

There are nine schools that are either established or in the process of being established in six states. There is a ton of information on their website that explains what classical education is. I have just barely begun to scratch the surface of all that is there.

I’m wondering if this may be a viable alternative for conservative parents who are tired of government schools but don’t have the resources to home school or private school. The word is Hillsdale is looking to significantly scale this project up in the coming years. For those of us teachers that are getting really tired of government schools, I wonder if this may be something we may want to jump on board with.

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National Teacher Survey Demonstrates Growing Support for Education Reforms

I have mentioned previously that I am a huge fan of the Association of American Educators. I am also a dues paying member. If you are a conservative in education, I believe you should be a member of this organization even if you are forced to pay union dues. The AAE conducts an annual survey of its members, and unlike the unions, it actually listens to it’s member survey. This has been sitting in my inbox for sometime. It was originally posted on the AAE website last month.

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Alexandria, VA – Today the Association of American Educators (AAE), the largest national non-union educators’ organization, released its 2014 Membership Survey about high-profile education and labor policies. Survey results show progressive stances toward education and labor reform, particularly with regard to education spending, school choice, technology, safety in schools, Common Core State Standards, and collective bargaining.

With policymakers considering new ideas in education across the country, it’s critical that educators’ opinions and experiences are taken into account as these reforms are debated and implemented. As a member-driven organization, AAE brings an authentic teacher voice to the education reform dialogue, providing invaluable input from professional educators across the country.

“AAE takes policy positions directly from member feedback,” stated AAE Executive Director Gary Beckner. “The opinions expressed in this survey are those of real educators, not bureaucrats or union leaders with partisan political agendas.”

With regard to proposed ballot initiatives designed to increase education spending via tax increases, AAE members stress fiscal responsibility:

  • 63% of survey respondents do not support the failed Colorado amendment that would have increased income taxes to raise nearly $1 billion for public schools.

While the education establishment sees school choice as a threat to their unionized monopoly, AAE teachers support certain laws that advance school choice and promote options for both teachers and students:

  • 82% of members support public school open enrollment.
  • 59% of teachers agree with Wisconsin’s Parental Choice Program, allowing low-income students public funds to attend a school of their choice.
  • 72% of AAE members support Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs), which enable students to leave their assigned public schools, taking 90% of the state dollars with them. That money, deposited into ESAs, can then be used to access a multitude of education options that better meet their children’s needs.

As new technologies make flexibility a reality for all stakeholders, states across the country are implementing policies that offer and encourage online learning. AAE members embrace new technologies as a means to better prepare students for the 21st century:

  • 93% of AAE members incorporate technology in their daily lessons.
  • 65% of teachers would support a blended learning environment where students spend part of their day with a teacher and part of their day on a computer.

In the wake of several tragic school shootings, teachers are vocal about school safety measures:

  • While 75% of surveyed members feel safe in their school, teachers report increased safety procedures in their buildings.
  • 61% of AAE members support a proposed policy in Arkansas that would allow educators access to a locked concealed firearm after a training course.

Experts continue to debate the value of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Support for the standards has declined in 2014 with AAE members split on the initiative:

  • 51% of survey respondents have an unfavorable opinion of CCSS.
  • 30% of teachers believe the Common Core will make the U.S. more competitive on a global scale. 47% of teachers believe they would have no effect, and 22% assert that CCSS would have an adverse effect.

Collective bargaining and labor reforms are also considered by AAE member teachers:

  • 64% of those surveyed would prefer to negotiate their own contract so that they can negotiate a salary and benefits package that best suits their lifestyle.

“We are proud to represent educators who are thoughtfully considering education reforms,” stressed Beckner. “We hope these findings will be a useful tool for policymakers and administrators on all levels.

Complete results of the survey can be found at www.aaeteachers.org/natsurvey.

The Association of American Educators (AAE) is the largest national, non-union, professional educator’s organization, advancing the profession by offering a modern approach to teacher representation and educational advocacy, as well as promoting professionalism, collaboration and excellence without a partisan agenda. AAE members are forward-thinking professionals who are committed to student-centered reform efforts including school/teacher choice, accountability and technology. AAE has members in all 50 states and welcomes professionals from all education entities. Membership is $15 per month which includes $2 million professional liability insurance, employment rights coverage, professional development resources as well as a host of other benefits. Visit aaeteachers.org for further information.

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AAE is in for National School Choice Week 2013!

by Alix Schroeck of the Association of American Educators.

Happy New Year! AAE is thrilled to once again join with other like-minded education organizations and schools in participating in National School Choice Week this January 27- February 2.

At AAE, we recognize that school choice is a vital component of the education reform movement. We know that students learn differently, so a one-size-fits-all learning environment does little to meet the needs of all stakeholders. To foster authentic learning, parents and students must have choices. As educators, we must also recognize school choice as a valuable tool for all parties.

AAE Executive Director Gary Beckner has called the movement invaluable to the teaching profession. “Our primary goal as an organization is to empower, protect, and represent all professional educators,” he stated. “Once limited to rigid traditional school-terms and schedules, teachers are employed in traditional public schools, charters, private schools, religious schools, and online schools just to name a few. Educators will, in turn, have choices themselves when deciding when, where, and how to teach kids.”

As a professional association of educators, AAE recognizes that we are uniquely positioned to join the conversation and make sure AAE member voices are heard when it comes to school choice. By joining this network of organizations, we can directly affect policy that will have a profound impact on improving and modernizing education.

AAE looks forward to celebrating this important week with you! We will be hosting events across the country. Check our website periodically for updates on where we will be.

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