INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. and#8212; Every February we honor the birthdays of two of our most significant presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. What sort of background did these two share?
Washington was of lineage traceable to nobility under Henry VIII; he was born amid plenty on a Virginia plantation and was home-schooled. Later his education was amplified by an Anglican Church sexton and subsequently he had a schoolmaster who taught him mathematics, geography and Latin. But his and#8220;finishing schooland#8221; educationand#8221; was hands-on, learned from backwoodsmen and plantation foremen. His civilian career as a surveyor was supplemented by his experience as a British Colonial Army officer in the French and Indian wars.
Abraham Lincolnand#8217;s education was hardscrabble. Born in Kentucky in 1809 he helped his father till their farm, later moving to southern Illinois for more farming. Lincoln home-schooled himself, and#8220;reading the lawand#8221; and was admitted to the Illinois bar. When our country was in desperate need of leadership both of these notables rose to the occasion and tackled the challenges impeding creation, and later preservation, of the union. Neither Washington nor Lincoln attended any of the universities founded prior to their births (e.g.: Harvard, William and Mary, and Princeton among many others).
Is there a lesson here? Has our 21st century educrat-conceived, legislature-approved, lesson-planned, one-size-fits-all public education system supplanted that of Washington and Lincoln? Are there alternatives?
We have a splendid lesson on the subject right here in Incline Village/Crystal Bay. The e-Learning Cafe is the brilliant creation of Kathryn Kelly, mother of two adopted children, who holds a double doctorate in science. The Cafe is decorated and furnished in an inviting living room style with all the comforts of home but its secret weapon is a comprehensive system of accredited on line courses supplemented by available tutors and other highly qualified volunteer resources.
The key to e-Learning Cafeand#8217;s success is its concept of and#8220;blended learning.and#8221; Principles include: (1) highly differentiated, individualized instruction, (2) auditory, literary, visual, etc., content delivery; whatever is needed to expose and cement issues in the learnerand#8217;s mind, (3) global Internet access to academic content without limitation, (4) ability for students to proceed at their own pace, (5) on-demand access to course content so students have total flexibility for planning family activities, (6) continuously updated curricula.
Are our public schools obsolete? Nope. The e-Learning Cafe has become an indispensable supplement to Incline public schools by helping students discharge graduation and other requirements which are not readily available locally due to budget constraints. The Cafe is a viable alternative for students who would otherwise have to somehow get Reno to satisfy a mandatory graduation requirement.
OK but are there other educational or social needs the E-Learning Cafe provides? Locals can ask realtor-whiz Janet Pahl who is currently taking courses for her California brokerand#8217;s license which she would otherwise have to drive to Sacramento to attend; or Katy Lyons who, with her girl friends, is learning the finer points of contract and auction bridge; or local Republican Party Officials Carol Del Carlo and Greg McKay who relied on the Cafe to offer on-line registration services to GOP Caucus participants.
The e-Learning Cafe is located in the Raleyand#8217;s Center, adjacent Azzaraand#8217;s Restaurant. It is open most hours because students (of all ages) need access, so drop by and say hello. Neither George Washington nor Abraham Lincoln ever experienced such a welcoming educational environment but even so managed to split rails and never tell a lie.
and#8212; Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates and a member of the Washoe County and Nevada GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at email@example.com.