Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Using Technology to Benefit the Taxpayers

Can you imagine a classroom where students no longer need to use their
textbooks? What about a school environment where advanced students are
not unnecessarily held back and those who need more time to study an
important concept are allowed to spend the time they need? How
exciting would it be if students had access to all of the same
resources from their homes that they would normally access in the

I must admit that one of the less encouraging parts of being in the
legislature is the constant exposure to the "government status quo."
Because government is a monopoly and does not have the same natural
competition as privately owned businesses in the free market, there is
little incentive for innovation. In the free market, a privately owned
business is forced to innovate and modernize in order to compete and
survive. As a result, government agencies frequently simply survive;
not by updating and modernizing, but by constantly pressuring
legislators to dole out to them more of the people's hard-earned

That is why it is so exciting and inspirational when there are clear
examples of hardworking individuals who are applying innovative
concepts to the public education system right here in Logan County.
Recently, I was privileged to observe a department of education
official as she interviewed students from Crescent High School. The
official expressed amazement as she realized how technologically
advanced Crescent High School has become. She made the observation
that the technology capabilities of the Crescent High School program
were superior even to those employed at the state department of

One of the foremost components of the Crescent system is known as
Acellus. Acellus is a server-based curriculum that allows Crescent
High School students to complete their math curriculum on their
computers through the internet. Acellus provides high-quality video
lectures to students, identifies specific areas of student difficulty,
provides an alternative learning path customized to each student's
learning experience and captures student data so that the overall
effectiveness of the course can be assessed. The program frees up
teachers to spend one-on-one time with students requiring special

In essence, the program adds much needed flexibility to the public
education experience. No longer are students forced to work at a
generalized pace that either leaves them frustrated at being held back
or too far behind to ever catch up. Crescent students take pride in
explaining how that because of this program, they no longer have a
need for math textbooks. In this way, students can receive a much more
effective and individualized learning experience.

In deploying this innovation, Crescent High School demonstrates that
it is possible to quickly and effectively take advantage of technology
and provide a higher quality product without imposing a higher tax
burden on the people.

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