Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

A Close reading of the Indiana Plan (Preface)

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

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.

Business educates schools

Saturday, 8 September 2007

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.

    Wondering how to sync the sites

    Friday, 7 September 2007

    And really not sure if I need to.

    Hello, World

    Tuesday, 4 September 2007

    This is the post

    Here’s a post from OPML editor

    Saturday, 27 May 2006

    Here I am

    Saturday, 27 May 2006

    Just checking back with my favorite blog.

    John Tesh’s shared files

    Tuesday, 15 November 2005

    John Tesh’s shared files
    Originally uploaded by vergil66.

    Not that I subscribe to downloading music using Limewire, but Kendra was confessing her “enjoyment” of the Big Shoulder-Padded, Blonde-Haired, New Age Christian Piano man and I then quipped “I bet people don’t even share his music online.”