The Common Core – Childhood Education

I serve on the Advisory Board of Our Lady Queen of Angels Elementary school (K-8), a member school of The Partnership of Inner-City Education. The school has spent a significant amount of time and money transitioning its curriculum as the Common Core State Standards Initiative comes into effect. If you’re unfamiliar, the Common Core is an educational initiative in the United States to establish educational standards across the country and to better prepare students for both college and the workforce. There is a significant amount of literature including this Business Insider article that supports the fact the United States’ education system is rapidly falling behind. The Common Core is one step that will hopefully curb this decline and help improve the quality of education and outcomes for children across the country.

The Common Core seeks to establish standards across math and English that will prepare students to become contributing citizens of the world. There are no specific reading requirements but students are expected to read a range of materials and subjects in order to acquire new insights and consider varying perspectives. General writing standards are given to support the development of logical claims and sound reasoning based on relevant evidence. In addition, students are required to write opinion pieces and focused research projects, aimed at developing research and written analytical skills. There is an emphasis on discussion-based learning, utilizing group projects and class presentations followed by collaborative discussions. Basically, what this says is that rather than being focused on reading and having teachers present facts, the education will be focused on understanding and reasoning; a shift that I am confident will promote the notion of knowledge but more importantly, intelligence and cognition. Another interesting change that I believe makes sense, is a shift away from teaching cursive handwriting and instead, focusing on modern forms of media including basic typing. In math, the focus has moved away from regurgitation of formulas and towards strategic thinking and reasonable problem solving. I recall much of my early mathematical education being focused on repetition and numerical problems. The Common Core is focused on application so, in a basic example, rather than teaching students that 2×2=4, teachers will utilize real life examples – if you have two apples and you double that amount, you will have four apples. This is not to say the multiplication tables will be eliminated but there is a stronger focus on application and comprehension. The Common Core provides high-level parameters that determine the specific level of knowledge students should attain in each grade. It allows schools and teachers to be creative in designing unique or shared curriculums that will lead to this now standard level of knowledge base.

I believe the adoption of the Common Core will help improve the quality of the education offered in this country and it will help produce valued individuals that will contribute to society. I recently listened to a podcast on Freakonomics Radio,Is America’s Education Problem Really Just a Teacher Problem,” which raises another important question about the quality of our teachers. While the Common Core attempts to create standards of the level of education students should attain throughout his or her schooling, it does not effectively address the way in which we teach our youth. These teachers go through a Master’s program, studying theorems and principles of teaching with minimal application. Perhaps there should be a more immersive environment for teachers to receive his or her necessary post-secondary education – an environment that promotes more direct involvement with students. As the Common Core attempts to better prepare students for the “real world,” maybe there should be a system to better prepare teachers. This obviously does not apply to everyone, but I can say from experience, that there are many unqualified teachers in our public education system. Childhood education is a global investment, and one that will have major implications for our future. We should be doing everything in our power to prepare students and teachers alike with the best resources available.

My Non-Profit Organization – Requip Sports

My sister and I have been working on a non-profit initiative to help collect and redistribute sports equipment to undeserved communities. The program, which we named “Requip Sports,” works with outstanding high school leaders, who serve as ambassadors of Requip and act as liaisons to the community to organize local collection drives. Similar to the company Revivn, Requip promotes successive utilization over the life of a product, a form of recycling through shared economics, offering these underprivileged youth the opportunity to partake in team sports. In addition to the obvious philanthropic efforts, this project is a great opportunity for me to improve on my business fundamentals, from creating marketing materials to managing logistics. Ive attached a general solicitation form which we use to connect with these ambassadors.

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Dear John Doe,

I want to share an opportunity to support an outstanding social initiative which helps to provide underserved students and communities with secondhand sports equipment. Started in 2014, Requip Sports is non-profit organization building a unique platform to collect and redistribute athletic goods, providing underprivileged youth an opportunity to experience the power of sports. We are looking for motivated individuals, community organizations and local sports programs to assist in creating local equipment collection drives.

 Millions of children around the world lack the resources and funding to play organized sports while every year, millions of pieces of reusable equipment such as cleats and pads are discarded. Studies have shown that in addition to the obvious benefits of regular activity, kids who participate in sports attain improved nutritional awareness and higher self-esteem. Additionally, these kids are 57% less likely to drop out of school, 49% less likely to take drugs, and 37% less likely to become teen parents. Requip helps provide underprivileged individuals the foundation to participate in team athletics and appreciate sports, an experience that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to partake in.

Our goal at Requip is to connect these underprivileged communities with donated equipment by helping lay the foundation to support a local collection program. Requip will make setting up an equipment collection drive easy by providing volunteer ambassadors with the tools and necessary assistance to organize local campaigns. You can volunteer as a team, group or even take on the challenge by yourself – The Requip team will help you with the necessary preparations and will coordinate the logistics throughout the process – we just need your help getting the word out!!

We are asking for your help in selecting candidates in your community to work with Requip in this generous endeavor. If you or somebody in your community is someone who would be interested in working with Requip Sports, please send us an email at RequipSports@gmail.com or give us a call at 603-252-7448.

Thanks for your help!

The Requip Sports Team

Shared Economics Stimulating Social Impact

Giving Old Technology a Second Life

I recently attended a round table discussion where I met one of the co-founders of a company called Revivn, which immediately sparked my attention as business employing a unique form of shared economics. While many of the more well know forms involve the shared consumption of a product or idea during a given period, Revivn promotes successive shared utilization over the life of a product. Using the most common illustration, Airbnb enables individuals to share an apartment when it would otherwise remain vacant – so for example, over the course of a year, 50 guests may stay in one residence. Revivn’s shared model is built on the notion of what I call consecutive consumption (think ebay meets goodwill), whereby technology that may be considered obsolete to one individual can be reset and repurposed for use by a new individual or community, extending the life of the device and promoting positive social impact.

I guarantee that anyone reading this either has an unused computer sitting at home or has seen an office closet filled with outdated technology. Revivn works with companies that have relatively obsolete hardware stored away in some corner, however, rather than allowing these devices to accumulate dust and decrease in value, Revivn helps repurpose these assets for social good, giving them a second life in the hands of in-need communities. During this process, Revivn will wipe these devices of their original data to protect any private information and distribute them to under-served communities, helping to spread technology and in turn, extend access to information and education – two crucial components of economic prosperity and globalization.

Check out some of the stories of people impacted by Revivn’s work.