The 1983 report, A Nation at Risk, succinctly summarized major problems within the American public education system. The report, right or wrong, was seen as a clarion call-to-action and spurred reform efforts on all levels. During the past 30+ years, we have seen numerous innovations in the K-12 education arena and extraordinary opposition to all of it.
At every turn, we hear how awful our underfunded education system is, how it’s failing our children and how American students don’t measure up to their global peers AND we hear how horrible every new idea is or will be that has been presented. The problems are real and need to be addressed; however, when the national conversation focuses only on the problems, there isn’t room for solutions. In the meantime, our children continue to grow up, moving through a broken system that seems to hinder real reform and leaves us with more of what we already have that we don’t like.
Yet, in both our K-12 public and private schools (and their many variations), we have pockets of success across the Nation where positive change is occurring among our most vulnerable students. We hear of principals, teachers, community leaders, and even celebrities taking a personal interest in the students they have a heart for and having a profound impact on their lives. These pockets of success are the seeds of change we must nurture.
The law of attraction simply put tells us we will have more of what we focus on. It’s time to pro-actively shift the national conversation away from the negativity that abounds and begin productively engaging the educators and innovators who have track records of successful measurable results. It’s time to showcase their work in our K-12 public and private schools and then calling on our decision-makers to take action accordingly.
ChamBria Henderson is the host of The Extra Credit Show, a podcast and online TV show highlighting excellence in our education system. The Show explores educational excellence and innovations with the innovators themselves. Our guests are sharing the foundations and driving forces behind their innovations and together we’re exploring the implementation, issues and evolution of those ideas. The Extra Credit Show is the new classroom in America where only the best of the best educators and innovators are teaching the rest of us how to connect powerfully with the rising generation. They are the ones on whose shoulders our children will stand.
ChamBria J. Henderson is passionate about making a difference in other peoples’ lives. From her earliest days of being “the big sister” in a large multi-racial, USAF family that was always filled with foster kids, to her first neighborhood fundraiser at the age of 9, she has always looked out for the lost and lonely and under-privileged in society. She loves few things more than listening to others until they get done talking, and encouraging them to find their best self and chase their dreams.
Being a military brat, she experienced first-hand the disparity in education in classrooms across the United States. Often attending several schools in a year, she found herself either at the top or bottom of the new class on a regular basis. Frustrated with one of her 5th grade teachers, she demanded and was appalled to learn from the principal that school choice was not a legal option. She informed him that someday it would be. The upside to that situation was that she learned the power of, and has enjoyed self-educating since then, always competing against herself to master the unknown. Graduating in the top 3% of her high school class and still feeling unprepared for the adult world, she realized systemic change in K-12 education needed to happen and she wanted to be a part of the transition.
Through the years, ChamBria has been fortunate to connect with the founders and leaders in the education reform and school choice movements. She has also connected with strong leaders and innovators in our traditional education system. She finds value in every educational setting and believes that whatever the setting, education is the key to our success as a nation, a community, and as individuals.
The Extra Credit Show is not a show espousing a particular ideology or opinion. Instead, in her podcasts, ChamBria is reaching out to those who are making a difference in our children’s lives. She is interviewing people from all walks of life, who have impacted education, with a track record of successful and meaningful results. She is bringing authentic, active listening into the American conversation about education and what is best for our children.