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Ultimate School Choice

I received this email recently from Erik Syring who you probably don’t remember but I’ve mentioned him before. He runs a global education company (in the sense that it’s available all around the world, not indoctrinating for global causes :)) and has on board some names you’ll recognize like Jim Milgram, etc…

There was recently a conference on the future of education which sparked some great thoughts and Erik sent me this email. The full discussion is available at the link below, and below it are a few random quotes Erik included. This is the ultimate school choice.

School Choice a la Carte (Education Sector on-line conference)

“Schooling has entered the zone that the big telephone companies were in before cellular and VoIP services became dominating factors. Within a decade the scene for education will be changed just as much as telecommunications was. Good for students; inconvenient for a lot of adults who make their living in the traditional model.”

“Education is still viewed as public school for the masses, private schools for the rich, virtual schools for computer geeks, and charter and home schools for the non-conformists. We need to stop thinking of education as a place and realize it is a process.”

“To succeed with the kids the system now loses [struggling students and very strong students], we’ll have to be open to major differentiation.”

“(primary/secondary education)…should pursue a system similar to many colleges, in which students get advisors, must fulfill certain requirements, but have substantial freedom within those constraints to choose the classes and instructors they prefer.”

“Weʼre headed for radical choice–not just school choice but choice to the lesson level. Weʼll soon have adaptive content libraries and smart recommendation engines that string together a unique ʻplaylistʼ for every student every day. These smart platforms will consider learning level, interests, and best learning modality (i.e.,motivational profile and learning style to optimize understanding and persistence). Smart learning platforms will be used by some students that learn at home, by some students that connect through hybrid schools with a day or two onsite, and by most students through blended schools that mix online learning with onsite support systems. Choice between physical schools will increasingly be about the learning community they create in terms of the applications and extracurricular opportunities and guidance and support systems. Families will gain the ability to construct a series of learning experiences that fit family needs, schedules, preferences, and interests.

“… very school-focused… legislation. In the accountability systems… the school is the unit of accountability in all areas – attendance, graduation, reading and math achievement. This type of accountability won’t work, however, in a system with increased customization, where students get reading instruction in one place and math instruction in another. A critical step in shifting our thinking from education as a place to education as a process is to create accountability and data systems that work in a system of increased choice and customization, and that don’t rely on having one place-the school-as the unit of accountability.”

“Just as the new flat world economy is requiring new kind of business leadership at all levels to address how companies will compete in this new order, our education sector is desperately in need of a new paradigm of leadership at the school and district level and the appropriate infrastructure to support and nurture this New Education Leader.”

“The question is not whether this will happen, but how. And my main concern is that if we don’t affirmatively embrace these options from a public education standpoint and make sure that our systems, policies, and educators support these options for ALL students, then many will not be able to take advantage of this potential. And, to be clear, by support I mean make sure that our policies and programs are structured not just to provide access, but truly structured to ensure 1) that many different types of students can succeed — especially those that are not currently succeeding in traditional environments, and 2) that our data, accountability, funding, and other policies are designed to build these seamless experiences, rather than marginalize them to the province of the already successful or affluent.”

Erik E. Syring
Chief Executive Officer
Global Education
“The best education in the world brought to students everywhere”
“The world’s 100,000 best teachers teaching the world’s top 5,000,000 students”

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