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October 10, 2014


Future Model Must Embrace Technology in Education


The combination of emerging technology and academic underachievement means our style of educating American children needs a makeover, according to a Goldwater Institute policy report released this week.


In A Vision for Education and the Future of Learning, Goldwater Institute education director Jonathan Butcher argues that traditional classrooms cannot equip every child for whatever their unique future holds, whether its college or entering the job market, and school as we know it is a leading cause of the problem.


According to Butcher, the availability of cutting-edge technology has enabled families to connect to otherwise out-of-reach education resources. With great learning opportunities available at the tap of a keystroke, traditional public school models that do not empower children to access these resources are behind the times and damaging to a student’s academic potential.


“Students shouldn’t be assigned to a school based on their ZIP code,” says Butcher. “They should be free to choose the best classes, tutors or activities from a menu of options, no matter where they live.”


Butcher offers readers a glimpse at what the future of American education should hold—an education experience tailor-made to children’s unique needs, similar to a vision shared by actress and author Quinn Cummings:


“Imagine sitting with your child at the dinner table and preparing for the new school year. Instead of reading a letter telling you what school she is assigned to, you have a menu of options. You select math, English and art classes offered by a local charter school, where your child will sit with friends she’s had all her life. In the afternoon, she’ll study Spanish and music online and prepare for the SAT in an evening class at a nearby private school. She swims on the swim team at the neighborhood traditional school twice a week.”


The report asserts that the new model for educating American children should address four key pillars:


·         Every student should be eligible to choose the best school or set of classes from different schools and learning centers;

·         Students should have access to self-paced instructional tools;

·         Education funding should be student- and parent-directed and based on student outcomes;

·         Students should be able to combine the credits earned in classes held at different schools and learning centers to complete their course of study.

“We have only just started to unlock the potential of flexible schooling that focus on student needs, not on a public school ‘system,” says Butcher. “The possibilities are endless, and all children are deserving of these opportunities.”


The Goldwater Institute continues to work with lawmakers throughout the country to expand school choice options, including innovative education savings accounts, tax credit scholarships, and high-quality charter schools.




To schedule an interview, please contact Michael Kelley at or (602) 633-8960.


Read the full report here:



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