A pair of former governors from either side of the aisle, Jeb Bush of Florida and Bob Wise of West Virginia, are in Washington this week for a conference to outline how digital education can help improve schools.
Bush and Wise will speak at the two-day Excellence in Action National Summit on Education Reform on behalf of the Digital Learning Council, which they formed earlier this year to develop methods to integrate technology in education.
“We hope we can get to a point where digital education becomes a nonpolitical issue and becomes the core way we educate children,” Bush said on MSNBC's Morning Joe today. “It’s not ideological; it’s about customizing education towards children away from the systemic elements where adults dominate education.”
The Foundation for Excellence in Education, which is holding the education summit, has also proposed a 10-part system that prompts lawmakers to help give all children access to virtual classrooms. The program asks lawmakers to do away with rules on class sizes; allow for year-round education that gives students the opportunity to go at their own pace; and create a unified curriculum that is not confined to regional or state standards.
The program would not be replacing teachers, as educators will use the digital lessons formulated by top educators. Teachers will be trained to blend the new technology into existing methods. Taking from programs like Teaching Fellows and Teach for America, the plan advocates for alternative certification programs that often bring professionals from the private sector into classrooms.
"One major state has 440 high schools but only 85 physics teachers, so we are not going to be able to get a certified physics teacher in every school," Wise said, "but what we can do through technology is bring in high-quality physics content and now we combine that with an effective teacher in that classroom to truly get the maximum student outcomes."
Bush and Wise said the program will help to even the playing field for children across the country and help states that are struggling to fund education.