Today I had the distinct pleasure of giving the keynote speech before the 1st annual conference of virtual learning instructors from school districts throughout the state of Florida.
Florida, I was pleased to learn, is the only state in the nation that both offers virtual K-12 education to every child in the state, and if you are a low-wealth family without resources, the state will insure that you have both a computer at your home and Internet access.
Virtual schools exist alongside traditional brick and mortar schools, and with the 21st century job market inter-connected with the information age, the technology age, and whatever comes next in the global economy — knowledge of computing and access to the Internet is so critically important.
Traditional education in the U.S. dates back more than 100 years, and is rooted in the agrarian age, when students didn't attend school during summers so that they could work the family farms. Well, today there are no farms for children to work in the major urban cities of America, yet the form and fashion in which we educate our children still has not changed. Virtual education in Florida is attempting re-imagine the educational experience overall, and to link and leverage technology and the digital age, with this age.
One personal "moment," was when a teacher confided in me that he was thinking about quiting, but after the speech, decided to re-think everything, and to recommit to teaching with passion. Priceless.
John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass) the only African-American bestselling business author in America, and a Member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for President Barack Obama. Mr. Bryant is the co-founder of the Gallup-HOPE Index, the only national research poll on youth financial dignity and youth economic energy in the U.S. He is also a co-founder of Global Dignity with HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland. Global Dignity is affiliated with the Forum of Young Global Leaders and the World Economic Forum.