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Oct 8, 2017

Remaking education to help regional development, a pitch

A Bay Area company that considers moving to Sacramento area is not after reducing costs (there are cheaper places in the US), but because of the labor pool. “Creativity, not cost,” says Barry Broome, the President and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council. How do we boost creativity in our region’s population? We should transform the region’s education into an innovation powerhouse.

For years, the value of educational innovations has been measured through impact on the standardized test scores. The impact has been relatively low, with average effect size of 0.4, according to J. Hattie. Top-down reforms such as school choice or accountability have produced similarly low results. However, if student creativity, in addition to test scores, has its own economic value, testing is not a good way of measuring impact. We have some evidence that teacher innovation fosters student creativity. A teacher, who keeps experimenting in her or his own classroom, is likely to pass the passion for innovation on to his or her students.

Educational systems that develop a reputation for innovation are able to entice middle class parents to come and stay in the area, and keep children in public schools. Of course, the test scores are also important, but reputation for innovation is definitely a significant independent factor as well. This is not just a theory. Our testing the waters with the ReinventEd, a competition for grassroots innovation in education has been very successful. There is much interest in educational innovations, just look at the list of the jury members.

Sac State’s College of Education is in a very good position to take on a leading role in establishing a regional ecosystem for educational innovation. The aim of it is to permeate our regional educational system with grass-roots innovation, including, but not limited to start-ups. It is to encourage educator innovation and to shape our students’ taste for creativity and innovation. What can we do, if given the needed resources? We can reshape Sacramento Valley’ education into a nationally known beacon of educational innovation. Specifically,
  1. We can stimulate innovation through a significantly scaled-up version of the ReiventEd competition
  2. We can establish a research center to study and promote what is already happening in the region
  3. We can champion specific promising innovative ideas such as maker education movement
  4. We can establish links among various players within the educational sphere: schools, after-school programs, informal education, maker spaces, community colleges and universities.
  5. We can establish partnerships with various players beyond the educational sphere, including businesses, industries, governmental agencies, public and private organizations, local and global communities.
If you would like your or your company’s name to be associated with this major transformation, let’s talk about the opportunity.

1 comment:

  1. I love this conversation. How do we create opportunities in our classrooms and how do we best equip our digital learners to meet the needs of the new and emerging workforce? Is this even appropriate? My 'two bits'....

    1. Establish unique and creative assessments and assignments in education. Use what has currency in our communities-- blogging, video blogging, projects that involve working with the community, a pitch instead of a presentation...
    2. Can we have a 'hacker lab' in EDUC community- on campus?
    3. Support, attend and promote the first TEDxCSUS event held here on campus NOVEMBER 17th!