Business educates schools

I’m taking a look at my original post regarding the current technology plan for Indiana and I’m rereading the original ,pdf report. I’m beginning first of all with the occasion of the report and it looks like much of the Indiana plan comes from an organization called Partnership for 21st Century Skills (and guess how many of these educational/business leaders actually spent any time in the school, let alone as a classroom teacher? Hint: somewhere close to nil).

On the Partnership site, I came across a video “Transforming Education for the 21st Century” produced by BizWise TV (here’s the YouTube version) with a business spin on the world of education with all of the usually whippings of the current educational system (with its generalizations sprinkled with some businesse–even a “paradigm” thrown in). No real numbers are used in their proof of why the American educational system is so bad. Oh wait, at 11:33 into the video, Keith Kruger (CEO for the non-profit Cons. for School Networking) is giving real numbers based on a study initiated by…oh, Cisco Systems (the producers of this little business webcast).

Now, back to this study (which comes on the heels of the line: a lot of money spent on technology without a lot of impact): Cisco funds the study to review the literature of the past 10 years and came to the following two conclusions:

     
  1. Technology advocates overpromised the effects of technology in the classroom and, you’ll notice the operative word “can”,
  2.  
  3. Technology when carefully put into place, “can have a transformative impact” on education.
  4. The rest of the video continues the same pseudo-news approach to education (there’s even a panel discussion toward the end of the business-ad-webcast). What you will not find in this video is anyone really asking questions that can’t be answered. I think businesses are meant to feel smug after watching this video because they have the answer to solving the public school “crisis” (and, with all charity, you know). These people have never taught in a real classroom and yet, in their American Business Experience (like a knight in shining armor), they have the answer (and btw, they also have the products for your school to accomplish their-oops- the goals).

    So, back to the 21st Century Skill folk, there are some reps from the educational community: university people. Nothing again our friends in higher education, but that still doesn’t make you an expert in what happens in the K-12 classroom.

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