Jacob J. Walker's Blog

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StudentsFirst

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Last week, I was listening to The Common Wealth Club on KQED, and heard Michelle Rhee speaking.  I know Ms. Rhee is a highly controversial figure in the field of education: She was the former Chancellor of the Washington D.C. school system, where she worked to fire teachers and school staff that she considered bad, and give parents more choice (such as through vouchers) about the schools their children would attend.  She was also featured in the documentary “Waiting for Superman” and she as not necessarily shown in the flattering of ways (despite the documentary mainly being supportive of her ideas.)

But when I heard her presentation to the Common Wealth Club, I was very impressed.  She was self-reflective, and had worked to continue to improve her ideas, and was articulate about why education needs to change, and why the methods she was espousing make sense, and shouldn’t be controversial.

Based upon hearing that radio broadcast, I decided to pop by the office of her organization, StudentsFirst, as I found out it was nearby.  So on Monday, I went to their headquarters, and had the opportunity to talk with Adrianna Hutchinson, their State Outreach Director for Northern California.  While we talked about many subjects, and I emphasized a lot about my role as working towards helping Adult Education in California, and working to create an Adult-Serving Charter School, we also talked about some other topics, and I sent her the following email today to followup on that conversation:

Adrianna,

It was wonderful talking with you on Monday.  I think there is a lot of overlap with what StudentsFirst is doing and where my personal path is going.  I am very glad to see that StudentsFirst is engaged in constant dialogue and self-reflection to continue to improve itself.  These are the traits that are critical for improvement, as embodied in a scientific philosophy.  Here are a few of the things I said I would send your way:

First, attached you will find a PowerPoint that has an overview of the A to Z Framework of education that I was describing.  The Framework is designed to not necessarily point the direction to how education should be, but to show the systems that are involved in all formal education, and by recognizing these, to be able to build better education, by not neglecting one over another. If you want more details, please email me, and I’d be happy to help “fill in the blanks”.

Also, we talked briefly about the University of South Africa (UNISA), and how it can be a lower-cost legitimate option to get a doctorate.  Here is a posting from my blog with some of my thoughts about the pros and cons of getting a degree from UNISA.  If you are interested in finding out more information, I’d be more than happy to give you more details about my experiment, and any advice I can give to help you navigate through their bureaucracy.  I also have done other research on “alternative” ways of getting a legitimate low-cost doctorate, and I am happy to share that information with you as well.

I am very interested in being part of teacher round table discussions, and other forms of dialogue to help StudentsFirst continue to improve in its methods, and to succeed in helping U.S. education to improve.

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Written by Jacob Walker

April 3rd, 2013 at 7:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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  1. […] she started the organization Students First, which is located in Sacramento and which I wrote a little about […]

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