Education Branding

Allen Ortiz has partnered with the MIT Media Laboratory and other organizations to design, im -plement and evaluate an educational reform policy that focuses on the attitudes of youth in the public education system.

If effective, this policy/attitude change will directly lead to higher attendance, higher class participation, increase in time/effort put into school work, increase in independent study and an understanding of the value of a solid education and a desire to get one. Indirectly, this policy should lead to an increase in test scores, a lowering of drop out rates and an overall change in the atmosphere of public schools from "a place I have to go" to a part of the lives of youth they enjoy and look forward to.

Although this change in attitude alone will not suffice to eliminate disparities, if youth were made to truly desire a solid education, they would be more likely to seek the resources they need through political and private means.

Past education reforms have all focused on the "system" - on standards, qualifications, texts, methods and administration. These past reforms have, for the most part, been top down reforms. A critical part of this "system" is not being considered. These educational reforms do not only ultimately lie on teachers, administrators, and school board officials. These reforms come to rest on the shoulders of the children who are subject to the system.

It isour hypothesis that there is one overriding barrier to the realization of a child's intellectual potential - their attitude. A child who has been 'turned off' to learning enters the classroom - if at all - with their mind made up not to try, not to listen, and not to learn. By making the child open to and even desiring learning, they will begin to perform to their full potential - a potential we have yet to see.

Education reform should be attitude change.

Attitude change of this kind and on this level includes a multitude of factors – cultural and family norms, image, availability and ease. This change must be realized in all aspects of a youth’s life and environment. This change will include addressing and altering both social and cultural norms. This change will not be simple. This change is, however, possible. A similar change has recently taken place in the norms of tobacco consumption. A huge attitude change has occurred, most prominently among middle and high school youth, but a cross the board as to the acceptability of using tobacco products.

The last four years has shown the success of personal attitude change to induce a change in behavior previously unsuccessful through the use of top down policy in the field of tobacco control.

The use of combinations of grassroots and branding campaigns focused on youth empowerment, the most wide reaching the national Truthtm marketing and branding campaign, has been more successful in reducing youth smoking rates than any other policy (health classes, increased taxes, age restrictions, legal penalties, etc) has ever been. The same theories and frameworks used to develop tobacco prevention attitude change can be utilized to change the attitudes youth have on learning.






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