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Fighting Publishing Industry Giants

Big business failed these students.

(Note: This post was originally written in May of 2021.  The videos are posted on the Ask Ms. Peck Youtube channel and now link over to the Joy West Press channel.  I am still appalled over the millions of dollars spent on curriculum that changes a few words here or there, or now deletes things because of political moods.  Interesting commentary almost two years later and my startup is growing into a publishing company!  Very cool)

The process of teaching the masses is a giant challenge for our Department of Education reaching across 50 states and millions of students. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the United States has more than 24,000 public secondary schools alone. Just knowing that number gives you some perspective to my quest to reach struggling freshmen as soon as possible. Unfortunately, my startup is fighting against publishing industry giants who are frankly, not accomplishing their task.

American high schools have a growing problem and it is not going away. In my school, over 20% of the incoming freshmen class is behind graduation schedule with low grade points and few credits earned. These students were labeled in an “Achievement Gap”, or now the “Opportunity” or “Learning Experience” Gaps. Believe me, I have worked with many students who are at the end of their 12 year journey pushing to get over that finish line; and that is why I decided to target the Freshmen for an earlier intervention.

According to, in 2019, the U.S. book publishing industry generated a revenue of $8.38 billion in textbook publishing, primarily from 3 giants – New York City-based McGraw-Hill Education, Boston-based Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and London-based Pearson. These companies work with educators to write and produce the curriculum used at most schools. The materials are first-rate and expensive with every format or customizing any state wants.

We need to consider how corporations and capitalism is driving education, but that’s another blog post. My point is they are dominating the market – an independent author in education is like the town crier saying the Emperor is naked. Ok, I am not sorry – these publishing giants have missed a group of critical students!!

It is time for my research and standards based intervention program to launch.

My quest for teenagers is focused on school districts and teachers who are willing and able to break with tradition. It is time for educational leadership to step out of the box and try new programs, or pilot test them. I know it is scary to try new things, and sometimes easier to accept the way things are, but teenagers not even having a dream life to work toward, is unacceptable. Innovation and creativity needs to come back into every classroom.

We have so many scripted programs and safety nets in place, but too many students are not becoming actualized during their education. Miserable teens are getting into more trouble, becoming suicidal or dropping out. Teachers are mandated to teach content and have lost their magic along the way by doing what they’re told to do. I bet we will be watching the teacher quit/retire statistics rising after the nightmare of Covid at school this year.

We have to find a way to help every student discover their best selves. Shouldn’t every teen graduate knowing they have a voice and place in our world?

How can I be actualized as a teacher if my students are not actualized at the end of their time with me? Or at least further on their path toward actualization at graduation?

My goal is to disrupt teenage negative thinking and guide students toward their best futures. When I learned about flipping a classroom for instruction, I knew I could flip my school around too. As a teacher, I can demonstrate my learning to the institution, so I am. When I used critical and creative thinking, I created my hypothesis and proposed strategy – my solution is the Smart Start Challenge.

If you are frustrated using the same old curriculum and a growing number of high school students “not feeling it” I want to share my unique program with you. It is a quick 31 days with 15 minutes of reading, thinking and writing. The virtual event includes identity and personal development along with communications, problem solving and a service learning project.

The student edition is a Handbook with daily growth mindset activities and brain training exercises. The Co-Teacher Guide includes the research, standards and digital assets you need to host the event with your students. Direct from my classroom to yours – because startups are like that!

Let’s connect and talk about a solution!  Ms. Peck

P.S. Starting a business means everything from logo to websites, social media to media relations. I’m doing it on my own and in my style, for MY students. Very excited to shoot video for promotions and rolling out the sales process. I’m an underdog, but that’s another reason why I have to host the Smart Start Challenge!