Are you an education policymaker or an education reform partner? If so, this one’s for you.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education is offering three MOOCS — massive open online courses — with “convenient, self-paced modules to accommodate busy schedules” to help you do more to “advance and effectively implement trending reforms.” You get to hear from leading reformers, among them Joel Klein and John King, in courses such as these, as described in a foundation e-mail announcing the courses:
“Securing Our Nation’s Future” : A failing American educational system threatens U.S. national security. In this course, participants will hear from national leaders and experts about these threats, the urgent need for education reform and how America can ensure its own security and global leadership for future generations.
A second course is labeled as being about data privacy and a third, titled “Winning the Ed Reform Conversation,” will help students hone their messages so they can, obviously, win the education reform conversation. (Is the foundation concerned that it is losing the education reform conversation?)
This is a Bush foundation education policy training program in the form of a MOOC, and features people who agree with the Bush brand of school reform, which he implemented as the focus of his governorship of Florida from 1999-2007 and took national in the years since. The centerpieces of these reforms are standardized-test based “accountability” — which has led to growing protests around the country among parents, teachers, principals and superintendents — and the spread of charter schools and voucher/voucher-like programs that use public money to pay private school tuition. Bush has been seen as so much of a national “reform” leader that President Obama himself lauded the former governor as being a “champion of education reform” when the two appeared together at a Miami school in 2011.
(If you are wondering how we can have a failing American educational system after so many years of Jeb Bush-inspired school reforms that have swept across the United States, this “Securing” course probably isn’t for you.)
Along with Klein, the former chancellor of New York City public schools, and King, the former New York State education commissioner who is now a top adviser to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, you will hear from people including John White, Louisiana state superintendent of education; Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Bush foundation, who sent the e-mail announcement; and Greg Hughes, Utah Speaker of the House. The 18 people shown on the foundation Web site who are involved in the courses come from the policy and legislative (and not the education) world.
So here’s the e-mail sent out recently by the Foundation for Excellence in Education:
I am excited today to announce a new initiative by the Foundation for Excellence in Education called EdPolicy Leaders Online , a series of free, self-paced education reform massive open online courses (MOOCs) designed specifically for policymakers and education reform partners. The best part is – you can enroll right now!
The courses, hosted on the Canvas Network, feature nearly 40 experts and leaders across the education landscape from superintendents to senators, parents to policymakers, teachers to technology gurus and community leaders to CEOs.
EdPolicy Leaders Online was designed with leaders in mind by offering access to top experts providing in-depth knowledge, tools, and key resources needed to advance and effectively implement trending reforms; convenient, self-paced modules to accommodate busy schedules; and official recognition of course completion, which can be displayed on social networks, such as LinkedIn, or on their résumés.
Our first three courses are robust, timely and varied, offering the opportunity to learn about the relevant education reform issues in the news today.
Data Privacy? Get Schooled: This course, developed in coordination with the Data Quality Campaign , will discuss the value data brings to improve education, offer recommendations for addressing privacy concerns while promoting effective data use, and explore lessons learned from existing and emerging policies in education and other sectors.
Securing Our Nation’s Future: A failing American educational system threatens U.S. national security. In this course, participants will hear from national leaders and experts about these threats, the urgent need for education reform and how America can ensure its own security and global leadership for future generations.
Communications Boot Camp: Winning the Ed Reform Conversation: How we deliver our messages makes a big difference when it comes to winning the education reform conversation. In this course, participants will build their communications skills related to media relations, targeted messaging, and the use of social media.
EdPolicy Leaders Online enrollment is open now with courses beginning March 23. Each course has five to six individual modules that require no more than an hour of time each, allowing participants -like you- to easily fit them into a busy schedule. There are no restrictions on who can register or how many participants can join a course.
We hope you will join us by participating in this exciting online initiative.
Thank you for your continued commitment to America’s students.
Foundation for Excellence in Education