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EdPolicy Leaders Online: Meet Tony Shivers

• Sarah Bishop-Root

Tony ShiversWe are pleased to introduce Tony Shivers, EdPolicy Leaders Online’s latest featured participant. Tony recently completed Data Privacy? Get Schooled!, one of ExcelinEd’s three free, self-paced online courses available for policymakers.

Tony is currently Director of State Education Policy for United Way Worldwide where he directs the organization’s college- and career-readiness efforts at the state and local levels. Prior to his current position, he was deputy director of America’s Edge, a national advocacy organization of business leaders supportive of proven investments in children and youth that strengthen businesses and the economy. He also previously directed government affairs efforts at the National Association of State Boards of Education. Tony received his B.S. in Political Science from the Pennsylvania State University and completed his legal studies at Kaplan University Concord School of Law. He is also a former education policy fellow with the Institute for Educational Leadership.

We asked Tony:

Why did you enroll in EdPolicy Leaders Online?
For me, it is all about life-long learning. As an education policy professional, it is important for me to keep current on the latest policy issues, particularly at the state and local levels. EdPolicy Leaders Online allows me to keep current on and, in some cases, learn about various education issues and education reform efforts. It provides access to various education leaders that are working on specific issues that can highlight best policies and best practices.

You recently completed Data Privacy? Get Schooled! What was your biggest take away from the course?
Student data privacy is more important than ever as states and local school districts administer higher quality assessments aligned to their higher academic standards. It is important to maintain the balance of being able to provide critical information to teachers to improve their instruction and ensure students’ privacy is not violated. All stakeholders, including the federal government, state governments and local school districts, have a role to play and must collaborate effectively to accomplish this goal.

Did the course address specific challenges you face in your current role? How can it help other policymakers and staffers?
Yes, because I work with state and local United Ways and other education stakeholders on the ground that are concerned about data mining and data collection of their students connected to implementation of higher academic standards and aligned assessments. They need to be aware of what various education stakeholders can and cannot do with students’ information. I believe the course provides a roadmap for federal and state policymakers to establish objectives, policies and enforcement mechanisms to ensure our nation’s students’ information is protected.

Why are you passionate about education reform?
I am passionate about education reform because our country will not continue to be the global leader unless our nation’s students are able to compete in the global economy with the necessary skills, including critical-thinking, creative problem-solving, communication and collaboration skills. Our nation’s students need to understand that American businesses are struggling to find highly-skilled workers year in and year out. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce indicates that 4 million jobs go unfilled each year. If our students receive the quality education that they deserve, they will be able to compete, secure great jobs and be professionally successful.

To begin your own learning experience, sign up for EdPolicy Leaders Online today. 

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About the author

Sarah Bishop-Root

Sarah Bishop-Root serves as the MOOC Program Director (EdPolicy Leaders Online) at the Foundation for Excellence in Education Prior to joining ExcelinEd, Sarah Bishop-Root spent four years at Blackboard, focusing on educational technology adoption and emerging trends in education. As Senior Manager of Client Engagement for Blackboard, she developed and executed a MOOC and Open Education strategy. In this role she worked closely with institution decision makers and educators globally and contributed to the development and launch of Blackboard’s MOOC platform.