If your interest is a wide view of our company and its activities, keep reading. But if you'd like to start with our current emphasis and themes, including our discussion about how the new Trump administration will upend our K-12 education systems, we recommend going first to our What's New page.Bottom-Up School Reform: The Stars Are Aligned For It
Perhaps more important than Asora's activities and plans in self-paced online instruction, we recognize that reforms will be few and relatively ineffective if the economic incentives for school improvement are absent. We believe that marketplace reforms can be done locally and most easily by private education providers. Asora's NAEP proficiency estimation methodologies can be used to provide consumer information locally, which can be an important ingredient in marketplace reform. We believe that if the marketplace for education is healthy, most of the desired reforms will arise- almost automatically.Stellar Schools Franchising Project
Asora® Education Enterprises has as its major development effort, the Stellar Schools Franchising Project, which is based on the Asora instructional format using methods, technologies, content, and organizational structures known to work in relevant contexts. Our goal is no less than Ending Education As We Know It. Teaching and tutoring, as we know them, will morph into something "blended" and better.
In fact, ASORA is an acronym descriptive of the principal features of Stellar Schools as follows:
- A: Asynchronous (on-demand)
- S: Self-paced learning
- O: On-line instruction, testing & tutoring
- R: Rigorous academic content
- A: Assessment integrated curriculum
Asora's Stellar Schools have been designed to provide three critical benefits to students and their families:
- I: Superior instruction
- II: Lower tuition
- III: No social promotion
On this last point, we stress our belief that unwarranted (social) promotion is the most serious dysfunction in K-12 schools, whether private or public.
To enter the world of the Stellar Schools Franchising Project, which embodies the just mentioned ASORA principles, click here and we'll take you there.Asora Consulting Services
Currently, our primary activity at Asora® Education Enterprises is the provision of consulting services mainly in the area of achievement test analysis- the conclusions of which support our preference for self-paced learning. To learn about Asora Consulting, please click here.
An outgrowth of our achievement test analysis work is our generation of local NAEP proficiencies, which we have done for nearly every public school in the East Coast states at the 4th, 8th, and 12th grades. Based on this analysis, in 2011 we published a guidebook to public schools for the Potomac Region of MD-VA-DC. There we implored parents and others to find supplementary instruction for the majority of pupils who are behind in these schools. That book, "It Takes More Than A Village," can be downloaded from our Reports on Regional Guidebooks Page by clicking here.
We are not alone in thinking that school level performance should be measured against realistic standards and then made available to the public. For example, some years ago Mitt Romney made such a proposal - in which report cards would be generated for every school in the United States (probably including private schools).
We have also been working on a local publishing project in which we are producing booklets- guide booklets- with information about private and public school performance and listings of education service providers within the local areas. Some years ago we had three such efforts at the county level: One in Massachusetts, one in Tennessee and one in California. There is more on this in our Reports of Regional Guidebooks Page
Given ASORA's expertise on school management issues, we decided to produce sets of checklists for various type of education organizations. It won't take you long to see if you're in compliance! The checklists and more on this are in our What's New page.Asora Online Courseware Services
Since January 2009, Asora® Education Enterprises has been offering brokerage services in the area of online courseware provided by third parties. To learn about Asora's Courseware Brokerage services, please click here.Asora's Subsidiary Efforts and Services
As we have developed our plans for Stellar Schools we have undertaken a number of other activities in support of that effort. To learn more about these other services, click here for some additional information.Help Asora Reform K-12 Education and be Rewarded
We are encouraged by the new "directions" of education policy of the Trump administration. The new secretary of education. Betsy DeVos, will likely engineer a major course change. The campaign promise of ten times as much parental choice as in the preceding administration should provide us many more oppportunities. In that context we believe Common Core is dead as a national standard though some foolish states may try to preserve it.
Education Savings Accounts, such as those in Nevada, could enhance parental choice if they also had consumer information about the schools available under an ESA. Information Economics tells us that there could be voucher failure if parents don't have consumer information pointing to the better schools. In some states where the ACT Aspire tests and the ACT college testing is done the percent on track to be college ready is already published for each tested group. We see the ACT tests as a platinum standard while agreeing with many educators that the Nation's Report Card ( the NAEP) is a gold standard. We have been disappointed with the Education Industry Association, EIA, because it falls more under the label of crony capitalism than under that of free market competition. We are quite disappointed in the Common Core State Standards ( CCSS ) because they are inferior and violate federal law.
The primary goal of Asora Education Enterprises is to reform K-12 education by developing and offering schooling in the for-profit sector. We believe, however, that an effort in the non-profit world can complement this activity by drawing on the unique resources available there. Therefore, we shall also help launch a parallel non-profit organization, the Stellar Schools Development Corporation, that will also develop Stellar Schools. We additionally envisage SSDC taking on a major role as a research and development vehicle that will benefit not only Asora's for-profit enterprise but also other operators in the field.
Asora Education Enterprises also works in the area of achievement testing analysis. We routinely work with NCLB (No Child Left Behind) mandated assessments at the state level and can map their proficiency percentages onto the NAEP scale- that of the Nation's Report Card. We have also derived formulas that map NAEP estimates of proficienies onto the ACT organization's percent on track to be college and career ready. In these contexts we also regard the Common Core State Standards as incomplete, incompetent and illegal. Some label the NAEP as the gold standard of K-12 education. We regard the ACT tests even higher than that and give them the label platinum standard. In contrast the Common Core might get the moniker tin standard.
Whether in the for-profit or non-profit sectors, to advance this kind of K-12 school reform we apply an optimal business organizational format- that of franchising or licensing- and combine that with a cost-effective Web based instructional system. Such an instructional format is part of an educational philosophy in which various forms of automation and economies of scale will enable us to provide superior instruction for lower costs in our various client institutions.
Licensing and franchising networks will permit some local control of each school as well as providing instructional services to home schooling families. Our online instructional methodologies and technologies utilize a variety of instructional formats, including distance learning, video lectures, self-pacing, student tutors, automated tutoring, intelligent tutoring systems, digitized texts, and a testing requirement based on mastery learning- sometimes called mastery education.
For our curriculum we plan to use a fairly rigorous program of learning that includes the study of Latin (starting in the middle school years as is the practice at the Hillsdale Academy). In the early primary years an important subset of our curricular content will be taken from the Core Knowledge Sequence of E. D. Hirsch, Jr.. From the middle school years through high school we are considering adopting the very solid academic program developed by the Advanced Math & Science Academy Charter School (of Marlborough, Massachusetts), which includes passing eight AP courses as a requirement for graduation. Participation in the International Baccaclaureate Diploma program is also being evaluated. Thus a Stellar Schools diploma will represent a level of achievement well beyond typical state graduation requirements.
Economics education is one of the weakest areas of instruction in contemporary public and private schools. Asora's Stellar Schools plan to integrate basic concepts of economics into its other content areas as well as require mastery of a "standalone" high school level course as part of its high school graduation requirements.
By automating routine classroom chores, the instructional staff will be able to give more individual attention to students. In the production of our Web based courseware we are beginning to implement a quartet team teaching format (two teachers and two student questioners) in the production of the video lectures and their associated lecture notes- to be provided in both digital and hardcopy formats.
Asora's Stellar Schools will accept both full-time and part-time students. Students will receive mastery certification for courses they pass and, additionally, full-time students can work towards a high school diploma based on mastering the Stellar Schools curriculum.
Whether operated in a non-profit environment or as a for-profit enterprise, the structures, methods, and technologies remain the same. Thus all kinds of existing schools, including non-profit, for-profit, religious, parochial, charter, regular public, and home schools can benefit from participation in or imitation of Stellar Schools formats.
We are also motivated by the dysfunctions we see in public and private schools, including high dropout rates, inflated student test scores from achievement tests, and majorities of students performing below grade level. Many of these problems are closely connected to the massive and pervasive levels of unwarranted (social) promotion practiced in our schools. We think that the inflation of state reported proficiency percentages, as compared to those reported by the NAEP, indicates a lack of integrity in public education. To deal with the inflated test results Asora Consulting has developed mapping methods to convert the distorted scores into ones consistent with the Nation's Report Card- as the NAEP or National Assessment of Educational Progress is also known.
Much of the insight that led us to Stellar Schools (or Steller Schools according to the afcionados of phonics) has come to us from two giants of economics: Adam Smith and Milton Friedman. Both understood the harm coming from government subsidies and both championed a free market for education. We are particularly indebted to the late Professor Friedman for the support and advice he provided early in this effort.