An abundance agenda for education | John Watson | 5 Min Read

October 17, 2022

Policy advocates and political parties in the U.S. run into the hard reality of public opinion (aka voters) when they push ideas that limit options and choices.
Both parties take these limiting views on some issues while pushing freedom of choice on other issues. Some conservatives want to limit who you can marry and, at the extremes, what sorts of contraception you can use. Some liberals want to limit the types of cars you can drive, and, at the extremes, whether you can eat beef.
I’m leaving aside whether these arguments for limitations have any merit. The reality is, when you push a policy of restriction, you are going to run into strong opposition. It’s possible to successfully implement a restrictive policy, but if you can advocate for the same goals with fewer restrictions, you are more likely to succeed.
The Democratic party appears to be adapting to and acting on this realization in the climate bill that is making its way toward being signed as I’m writing this (August 2022). Whereas over many decades liberals have talked about climate policies in terms of restricting cars, fossil fuels, and certain behaviors,…

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John Watson

As Evergreen’s founder and primary researcher, John Watson is responsible for conducting, writing, and presenting research as well as providing testimony on digital learning matters to state boards of education, legislatures, and charter school commissions. He has extensive knowledge and experience based on his two decades working in online learning and education technology. This background has afforded him a wide-reaching network across the spectrum of education professionals, policymakers, and subject matter experts as well as the ability to provide insightful, dimensional analysis and recommendations. After earning his MBA and a MS in natural resource policy at the University of Michigan, John went to work for one of the first Learning Management System companies, eCollege, in early 1998. He launched eCollege’s K-12 division, called eClassroom, and managed eClassroom’s research and business development. This experience was the springboard for John’s independent consulting in environmental policy and education which evolved into what Evergreen Education Group is today. John is deeply moved by stories of students and teachers who have been positively impacted by technology in classrooms, online courses, and innovative schools. He strives to tell these stories accurately and to clearly explain the challenges inherent with digital learning in order to bring an honest, balanced perspective to Evergreen’s insight and recommendations. His ability to approach research and relationships with consideration for bias and hierarchy makes him a natural connector between information and people. John has presented and led panel discussions at numerous conferences and convenings. In addition to his research for Evergreen, John writes regularly about various issues related to digital learning and is a contributing author of the Handbook of Research on K-12 Online and Blended Learning. His and Evergreen’s work has been cited in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Education Week, and eSchool News, and he has also appeared on NBC Nightly News.