4
Aug

Expanding Educational Opportunity: Betsy DeVos Gives and Serves

The 21st century poses many challenges to structures once thought to be tried and true. In a world where the velocity of change continues to pick up speed, old structures, bureaucracies and institutions will fail unless they adapt to an ever-increasing tempo. Nowhere is this truer than in the education of the next generation. As industries evolve, streamline and—in some cases—die, today’s students face challenges from peers at home and competitors abroad. Guarantees of future security are no longer ironclad so thorough preparation of children and youth becomes much more urgent. Betsy DeVos was made for such a time as this.

Read more: http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/interview_with_betsy_devos

Confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Education in February, 2017, Betsy DeVos brings a passion to her post born of long experience as a champion for children and their parents. She is the daughter of a successful entrepreneur and a public school teacher, and she reflects both of those callings in her own life’s work. Having served as chairman of the Windquest Group, an investment management company, she understands the meaning of stewardship and the importance of prudent decision-making. Yet it is her time with the Grand Rapids, Michigan public school system that may be her primary motivator. Serving as a on-site counselor for 15 years, Ms. DeVos saw firsthand the educational disparities imposed by a one-size-fits-all system that fails its at-risk students. Helping those struggling young people has occupied her time long before she assumed her current post. Through the family foundation she led with her husband, Dick, DeVos was instrumental in founding a high school with an emphasis on aviation; spearheading a national campaign for educational choice; inaugurating a competitive festival for young artists from all over the world; and boosting research in and treatment of pediatric cancers.

This philanthropy is not the result of random selection. In many communities, needy families are deprived the excellence, challenge, encouragement and safety found in other schools, both public and private. Betsy DeVos understands how vouchers for private schooling enhance not only a student’s future prospects but also competition among institutions and districts. Through charitable giving and political activism, Betsy DeVos has aided the cause of educational reform in Florida, Louisiana, Indiana and her home state of Michigan. At the core of all of this grassroots and legislative activity is the firm conviction that the present information age will leave 20th-century educational models behind. Technology gives greater impetus to alternatives like vouchers, charter schools and homeschooling. Now a cabinet officer with the power to make even more of a difference, she is poised to champion these promising options at a national level—and on a world stage. In my opinion, her political ascendancy is timed perfectly. Visit Betsy’s profile on twitter.com.

4
Aug

Rocketship Education Ensures Quality Education through Parental Involvement

Introduction

Education is critical for the development of an individual and to the benefit of the society. All educational institutions should aim at providing quality education to all at a reasonable cost. While many zoned public schools offer low-cost education, the quality offered training is usually deplorable. Additionally, parental participation in these institutions is limited to paying fees and discipline cases. However, Rocketship Education foundation has changed all these since it joined the education arena in 2007.

High Performance Schools

Rocketship Education is a non-profit organization that runs a network of chartered public schools. Its primary mission is to corporate with institutions, educators, and parent to create high-quality public schools. Today, it has more than 25 public chartered schools which include Rocketship United and Rocketship Northeast. Most of these schools are recognized for high student performance. Consequently, District schools such as Franklin-McKinley School District have also partnered with the schools to prepare students for college and improve their performance.

Parental Participation

Parental involvement has always been a fundamental characteristic of the Rocketship Education chain of schools. In other public schools, parents have no clue who is teaching their children until the beginning of the school year. However, at these chartered schools, the parents are actively involved in the hiring of teachers for their children. They take part in the actual interviewing of teachers. In some instances, finalists in job application are invited to meet parents during community meetings.

Core Values

All schools in the network have four shared values, persistence, respect, empathy and responsibility. Parents and teachers usually chose the fifth value. It should reflect the unique vision and character of the school. Some of the values that have selected in different schools include bravery, service, and even curiosity.

Blended Learning Culture

Rocketship Education attracted national attention through its personalized learning style. The foundation’s chain of schools mainly serves high-poverty communities. As a result, the students have toxic stress. The condition is characterized by an inability to manage emotions, and resolve conflicts. To help these students, the schools offer social-emotional training for students in the upper grade. Lower graders are taught using the Kimochis curriculum.