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I have been a teacher, both public and private sector, for almost twenty years. In that time, I have seen a lot of changes—most have been bureaucratic and symptomatic of the privatization of the public sector. Others have been positive, including a focus on STEAM, and student prep for future careers in the industry. Along that same vein came a push for women and minorities to have access to the same programs their counterparts did. But it was the anguish over how teaching my favorite subject—English—had turned into little more than test prep that led me to almost leave my career completely. In fact, I grew so weary of ridiculous benchmarks and standards that unfairly and punitively measured teachers, schools, and students that I actually went out and got a massage therapist license with the belief that while I may not be financially set, I would at least be calm and zen. A move to the independent sector opened my eyes to how access to quality programs is significantly easier in private school communities. Of course, money talks, and with funding, most any educational dream can be realized given the passion and drive exist. With funding, projects can be undertaken, curriculums can be enriched, and students’ imagination can be cultivated. But public schools, primarily those in poverty-stricken communities face different challenges, and funding possibilities, while perhaps available, are less well-known. In the past three years, moving to the middle school private setting and seeing the opportunities that abound when people are both aware of projects and have financial access to participate in said projects was eye opening. How can there be educational equity if schools aren’t on the same playing field let alone privy to the rules on how to play? Seeing the students’ accomplishments in the Aerospace arena got me thinking…how can I help bridge the gap between students, STEM, and the real-world? How can others benefit from some of the same educational opportunities as my current students? From this, the APPI was spawned with the goal of educating, communicating, advocating and legislating on behalf of space policy. At APPI, you will find information about space policy news—both in the news and in areas where students are enacting change. Feel free to offer your suggestions—what would you like to know, areas of interest, and how we can help facilitate your own goals. Of course, the ideas here are not limited to Aerospace; our ultimate goal is you will use APPI as a way to inspire student civil engagement in multiple content areas in a variety of venues. Thanks for launching with us.

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