Rethinking Access – Forbes

PASADENA, CA – OCTOBER 10: School buses drive down teh road to pick up children before classes … [+] begin on October 10, 2008 in Pasadena, California. California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer has warned that California cash revenues will run out by the end of the month. If that happens, 5,000 California cities, counties, and school districts will face job layoffs and payments for law enforcement agencies, nursing homes, teachers, and other services and government entities could be suspended. A worldwide credit crunch threatens to derail state plans for a routine 7 billion dollar loan to even out the tax flow into the state treasury. Just two weeks after state lawmakers came to agreement, after months of haggling on a record-overdue state budget, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is warning of future cuts to the state budget to deal with skyrocketing financial problems. A frozen credit market and revenues for the first quarter of the fiscal year that fell more than a billion dollars short of previous projections are causing the governor and state legislative leaders scrabbling to deal with a new budget mess. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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Here is a little experiment. Go to any kind of educational convening; a conference, a professional development seminar, a research presentation, whatever, and say that you believe we should “increase access” in our education system. Then ask whomever you are taking to, “When you heard me say ‘increase access’ who did you think I was talking about? That is, who would be getting access to something new?”

I would be willing to wager that the vast majority of times when we hear the phrase “increase access” in education, we think about students. Increasing student access to good teachers. Increasing student access to high quality instructional materials. Increasing student access to better schools. Sometimes we might think about teachers, as in increasing teacher access to technology or better preparation. But it is almost always one of those two groups.

To be fair, that is how I would have answered until I recently heard Beth Seling of the Vela Education Fund reframe the question when she was sitting on a panel at the International School Choice and Reform Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

She offered a new group of people that we should think about when we use the term “access” in education: entrepreneurs.

Students will only have access to new and better schools if entrepreneurial educators have the opportunity to start them. Teachers will only have access to better instructional materials if those who create those resources have the opportunity to get their products in front of whomever purchases them for schools, districts, or charter school networks. If we care about the first kind of access, we really need to care about the second.

We have become accustomed to thinking about the barriers that students and teachers face when trying to access better educational opportunities. Students are stuck zoned to low quality district schools so implementing policies that allow them to choose somewhere else increases access. …….


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DeSantis Takes On the Education Establishment, and Builds His Brand – The New York Times

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, as he positions himself for a run for president next year, has become an increasingly vocal culture warrior, vowing to take on liberal orthodoxy and its champions, whether they are at Disney, on Martha’s Vineyard or in the state’s public libraries.

But his crusade has perhaps played out most dramatically in classrooms and on university campuses. He has banned instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade, limited what schools and employers can teach about racism and other aspects of history and rejected math textbooks en masse for what the state ca…….