Tonight, to make true to my promise after skimming the plan and writing about it and then making a few comments about businesses teaching education, I’m finding that most of my gut impressions were true…I’m just seeing the detail of how much economics has to play in this plan. It is, in a sense, about keeping up with other states and countries and is based on a national movement called 21st Century Skills (which I remember being concerned about in my first skim). If the 21st Century Skills gets more steam, this will probably be the next education reform to replace No Child Left Behind (now, it will be No Business Left Behind…sorry, it was really too easy to pass up).
I spent time working through the Introduction and the Executive Summary and I’ll post more later. In short, fear is the motivator and the proof of the claims are up for debate. In general: the evidence and research is much like most policy documents: an insistence on direct correlations and relationships. It is almost as if claims are treated as common sense or obvious because some business group did a study and that means that those conclusions are true. (And yes, I have read Freakonomics and Blink lately along with the dictionary and teaching argumentation and rhetoric to AP students.)
And while I am at it, I should also mention that I have been twittering since Feb 2007, I have a Facebook page, been using a website for my classes for 10 years, learning Latin though an online community, play bass and I think an inuksuk is pretty profound. In short, I find the report out-of-touch with the real digital age of students and locked into the bureacracy of policy and capitalism. Education and learning to be a productive member of a democracy is not the goal of this report; education for securing the top spot for The Democracy is.
As a side note, I do not doubt the hard work of these people; they did their jobs very well. The issue, though, is that this is not an innovative educational document; this plan is for economic recovery.