During our #AskExcelinEd Summer Learning series, you’ll get to know some of ExcelinEd’s team as they share what they are learning over the summer. Remember to join us on social media to ask your burning policy questions. Enjoy!
Regional Advocacy Director for the Gulf Region
We’ve passed the midpoint of summer. But just because school is out doesn’t mean learning needs to stop for students. In my region, I’ve seen states and local communities step up to provide creative ways to keep kids reading over the summer. To the kids, the idea of a free treat or community award is enough to get them engaged, but little do they know that they’re doing more than just earning prizes. I applaud the families that are taking on these challenges, and I applaud states and local communities for prioritizing families and early literacy.
Print Book over E-Book
Text over Phone Call
Smart Watch over Traditional Watch
Coffee over Tea
My Twitter Favorites
My Favorite Quote
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
My Recommended News Reads
State Spotlight: Alabama
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has begun to turn the tide on education in Alabama. Her most recently announced program, Success Plus, will ensure the jobs of today and tomorrow are being filled with qualified Alabamans. Governor Ivey’s plan directs the state to add 500,000 skilled workers to the workforce through industry credentialing. Alabama has recently seen tremendous industry growth with large investments from companies like Toyota-Mazda, Facebook and Amazon.
What Inspires Me
I get all my inspiration from the kids. Innocent, curious and eager to learn. So long as there’s even one kid who can’t read, isn’t in the right educational setting or doesn’t feel prepared for college or the workforce, I’ll keep working!
My Favorite Podcast
“How America’s public schools keep kids in poverty” by Kandice Sumner from the TED Talks Education podcast. I love this podcast because this teacher, Kandice Sumner, breaks down the disparity in educational opportunity and quality between inner-city public schools (dominated by minority kids) and suburban schools (traditionally dominated by wealthier white families).
ExcelinEd Resource Highlight
ExcelinEd recently partnered with the Texas Public Policy Foundation to study why charter growth in Texas is slowing, despite increased parental demand and the fact that the current charter schools are getting results. While this study focused on Texas, the findings are applicable in all states. The study found that many barriers exist to opening charter schools, and chief among them are bureaucratic in nature. Processes that are overly cumbersome to potential operators are not helpful. Additionally, lack of equitable funding streams and access to facilities also plays a role in deterring potential operators from opening a charter school.
About the author
Nathan serves as the Regional Advocacy Director for the Gulf Region, covering advocacy and legislative efforts in four states including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Prior to ExcelinEd, Nathan was the Director of Advocacy at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director of the Chamber PAC. He’s also spent time working on District staff for a Member of Congress and on various statewide and federal political campaigns. Nathan graduated from the University of Illinois-Springfield with a Bachelors in Political Science. He has served on the Board of Trustees for the University of Illinois System and the Board of Directors for the Springfield, IL Public Schools Foundation.