Our Reasons Why
GEN is the solution to:
Failing schools, poor education options, and short school days
According to the Dyslexia Center of Utah, 1 in 5 American students has a language based learning disability; the most common of which, is dyslexia: These students' brains flip random letters upside down, backwards, and mix up the letters' order-- making reading a slow chore of guesswork. While parents fight public schools to enforce the Students with Disabilities Act (1973), GEN's in-network teachers all receive dyslexia identification and teacher-training. Because the prevalence of dyslexia is nearly 20%, GEN sees it as a normal part of the student, and as such, uses a verbally based, phonics-rich progression to teach reading, spelling and writing.
Our German Network exists to relieve two primary conditions. The first is to address growing class size. Class sizes in Berlin, Frankfort and Munich are ballooning due to the influx of immigrants. While socially, this is wonderful, some students learn better in a small-group setting with copious teacher attention and limited distraction.
Additionally, GEN provides a rich learning environment for public school students from 1:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. We joyfully offer instruction from 1:15 to 4:15 to address the short German school day.
Public school vs home school vs private school
Many parents prefer to home school their children, but have to work during the day. Plus, they worry their children will not enjoy the social benefits of a structured school day with other students and the benefits of professional, bilingual, international teachers. Because of cost and location, private school is rarely an option. The Global Education Network is the infrastructure that makes hybrid education convenient and affordable. It connects experienced, GEN-qualified teachers, students and host homes (safe residential spaces).
The statistics that damn public schools are well-reported, but most parents who have experienced public schools, don't need statistics about failure to communicate the problem because their own experiences aptly illustrate the failures. The GEN founders could write a book about their children's experiences at school. Here is a summary of just one set of instances that occurred at Global Village Academy; Northglenn, Colorado.
A 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Chen, was forced to endure a daily circus of misbehavior from students because the school district would not discipline disruptive students. A new, excellent, creative, enthusiastic teacher, she was utterly prevented from teaching. For example, a student with apparent emotion-regulation problems flung a chair at her and called her obscenities because she gave him a purple marker instead of a red one. Similar outbursts occurred almost daily, sometimes throughout the day. She could not remove him from the room, the principle and parent refused to take responsibility and the violent, disruptive behavior continued beyond her class; at the time of this writing, for at least 4 more years. Another student in her class spent his time planting pranks. He stole minority students' classwork, hid books, wove creative lies and organized a "gang" of white supremacists. He became a master of teacher manipulation and cruel bullying. At the time of this writing he is 13 and has not been disciplined. In fact, the principle's response to his behavior was to organize a coloring project to "celebrate tolerance". When the behavior continued, she organized a drumming session. He continued to bully students undeterred. Concurrently, another student formed a Russian group that physically attacked children based on race, pushing them to the ground, kicking them and taunting them with racist slurs and calls to go home to Africa, and "self deport". The leader of this group was never disciplined despite vigorous parent and principle involvement. The principle and vice principle claimed they could not institute in school suspension, out of school suspension or expulsion even though their school handbook explicitly prohibited all of the behaviors and outlined a clear progression of consequences for the well-documented patterns of disruption. Not only is the school a hostile environment for teachers and students, learning is terribly restricted, as teachers and regular students are just coping with disruption: not learning. The potential for Ms. Chen to shine was extinguished: in time, the students who had wanted to learn came to hate school.
Ms. Chen is a great example of why GEN exists. No one should have to endure her daily work conditions. She was held accountable for the school's low standardized test results, but was allowed no disciplining tools. She had no support from the problem parents or administration. What's more, she and her colleagues: highly trained, bilingual immersion teachers from around the globe, were beholden to their employment at the school for their work visas. Many choose to go back to their home countries, causing mid-year teacher turnover. For example, my child's 4th grade class replaced three teachers and had two long-term substitute teachers in one year. Shame on us for not building the Global Education Network sooner.
Similarly, teachers with the prestigious credentials, decades of experience and outstanding character references in their home countries are not permitted to teach in American public schools, even though their experience and native language skills are in high demand. One teacher explained that she would have to go back to school, repeating classes, for three years before she could obtain an American license to teach. There are underemployed teachers with amazing life experience and native language skills in every community. Some teachers moved here with their spouses only to have to give up their teaching careers. Others took jobs as nannies and laborers to escape religious, economic and/or political threats. GEN connects teachers with neighbors who value them; families who want more from their education system.
GEN exists to correct low wages for educators. Nationally, public schools spend an average of $11,900 per student, but only 54% of that pays teachers' salaries*. GEN seeks to transfer payment directly from families to teachers, without taking a cut for additional certifications, ancillary licences, bureaucracy, insurance, expensive buildings and inefficiency. As of today, 70% of our face to face student tuition goes to teacher salaries (20% host, 10% administration, technology, advertising teams). Our virtual student tuition is divided thus: 85% teachers, 5% hosts (they are providing internet connection), and 10% administration, technology, marketing teams.
Underemployed homemakers, caretakers; mothers
In America, parental, and family leave is generally unpaid. Educated professionals often must choose between putting a parent in a retirement home or staying home to care for them. Many parents must choose between going to work, or taking care of children. Here in Colorado, the average 2017 rate for infant care was $1,400 per month. If a parent is a low-wage worker or has two children, the cost of attending work immediately exceeds their income. GEN connects these home-bound caretakers to the families who need safe spaces for small-group learning. They are the hosts who provide residential space and light supervision of teachers and students for a reasonable fee. They are high-quality community members who have been sidelined by circumstances. For example, one of our former hosts is a teacher with an advanced degree in education who worked at home for five years as a yearbook salesperson because she could not find employment in her field that would allow her to drop off and pick her child up from school. Now, her child is old enough to walk to and from school, but she lost years of productivity to her circumstance. Another host is an online graduate student with teaching experience. She is also home-bound by self-imposed childcare standards.
Our hosts seek a way of life that balances their responsibilities with basic financial needs and personal dignity, as long-term unemployment can be demeaning and limiting whether it is imposed by inflexible workplaces or family values. GEN facilitates work/life balance by connecting hosts to GEN teaching teams and small student groups.
Together, we can afford the best private education because we come together as a learning community.
Community disconnection and absent support systems for families
GEN was formed to connect the community. It is neighbors helping neighbors by simply communicating about their needs, skills and talents. The GEN network connects the homes of home-bound caretakers and the skills of underemployed teachers to families with high education and safety standards. It's time to succeed by supporting each other.
GEN is the future. It provides community-wide support, cost efficiency, freedom from bullying, and the most effective, joyous form of education possible: Language immersion in small-group classes led by wildly over-qualified, bilingual, international teachers with years, often decades of experience.