Horace Mann is a name you might not recognize, but if you went to school in the U.S., Mann had his impact on you. In the mid-1800s – nearly 180 years ago now – Mann helped establish a string of public education innovations, beginning with separating students by age and then establishing a common curriculum so students everywhere could expect to receive the same fundamental education.
Mann believed strongly that Americans needed a shared body of learning – not only in skills like reading and math but also in the democratic principles undergirding society – in order to become good, active citizens. He saw education as a force for good.
Education Innovations at Green Dot
Today, educators continue to innovate in Mann’s influential shadow, seeking ways to improve our country’s public education system. Some are working with the latest technologies. Others are helping to evolve our approaches to school discipline. Throughout the country there are efforts to develop linked and blended learning.
At Green Dot Public Schools, we see public charter schools as one of these, still fairly recent, education innovations. In fact, at their best, charters are innovation factories, environments where there is the freedom to explore different ways of teaching and engaging students as well as the communities they serve.
Among the innovations that is at the core of the Green Dot model is our ongoing efforts to remove the many external barriers to learning that our students face. These may be as seemingly straightforward as ensuring a safe campus and safe environment to and from school. Or they involve providing health and wellness services to our students and their families. For too many of our students one persistent barrier to college attendance is the complex financial aid process. To demystify and support students through the process, we have dedicated counselors at our schools who are experts on applying for financial assistance.
Empowering global citizens
We also think it is important, if not essential, that our Green Dot families feel empowered to be their own strongest champions and advocates. It is why we support United Parents, which helps parents from across our network of schools come together as advocates for their communities. And it is why we continue our Green Dot Votes campaign, to help register not just our students as they turn 18, but members of their families and others in the community as well.
Both are education innovations we believe help make Green Dot and our model of education special. We’re pretty confident Horace Mann would champion and support them.