Systemic Educational Change and Society: Georgia’s Central Educational Center and Career Academies

By Anthony Chow and Mark Whitlock.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

The story of the Central Educational Center (CEC) represents a nexus of human performance technology, instructional systems design, and charter schools. The result is a school focused primarily on career and technical education and work ethic skills as defined by the local community overseen by a CEO and a board of directors that represent the community’s major stakeholders - educators, business, parents, and students. Earning entrance into the nation’s best colleges is not the primary goal of this school.
The primary goal of CEC, although a number of graduates still go to college, is to prepare a viable 21st Century Workforce, and students attend to learn an income generating skill along with the required work ethic necessary (as identified by industry) so they can start a high paying career upon graduation from high school. Drop-out rates are down, students and faculty alike have high rates of satisfaction, and students outpace their peers on such work ethic measures as truancy and team work. The science of CEC manifests itself in its efforts to continuously evaluate and improve as well as in its status as statewide model for educational reform. To date 15 replications have occurred utilizing the same performance process as CEC.
This paper details the CEC process and the human performance technology and instructional science that drive it. The school represents a living example of how, given the flexibility and support, scientific principles of human performance can be successfully implemented in public schools.

Keywords: Systemic Change, Instructional Systems Design, Educational Reform, Human Performance Technology

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp.127-134. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.550MB).

Dr. Anthony Chow

Assistant Professor, Library and Information Studies Department, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA

Dr. Chow is an Assistant Professor of Information Science in the Department of Library and Information Studies at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His educational background includes a Ph.D. in Instructional Systems (systems design) and MS in Educational Psychology (learning and cognition) and a BS in Developmental Psychology (Philosophy minor) from San Francisco State University. He also served for six years on the information technology faculty at FSU’s College of Information. Dr. Chow’s relevant non-academic professional experience involves serving as an educational consultant specializing in designing and developing online information and evaluation systems, directing the IT for a large academic unit, managing training and quality assurance for an Internet company, overseeing computer based instruction training for a government agency, and Marine Corps officer candidate school. His dissertation was recently published as a book entitled “Systems Thinking and 21st Century Education.”

Mark Whitlock

CEO, Central Educational Center, Coweta County Schools, Newnan, GA, USA

Mark Whitlock is the CEO of Central Educational Center (CEC), Georgia’s “model for career academies.” More than 500 groups from across the US and from 16 other nations have visited CEC to study this “change” model. CEC was recently designated one of 30 “replicable model” programs in the US. Mark received the B.S.Ed. and the M.Ed. from the University of Georgia. He received the MBA from Georgia State University. For 18 years, Mark worked with Bank of America where he built international corporate banking relationships. Mark serves on Lt. Governor Cagle’s Education Advisory Board and chairs Georgia’s newly authorized Charter Advisory Committee. He was 2007 President of the Technical College Foundation Association in Georgia and 2007 Chair of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce Board. Mark was one of seven original mentors with Arizona State University’s innovative Leadership for Educational Entrepreneurs (LEE) program.