Skip to comments.The Empire Strikes Back
Posted on 11/24/2009 7:51:34 AM PST by bs9021
The Empire Strikes Back Malcolm A. Kline, November 24, 2009
Bill and Melinda Gates, in their education reform efforts, have drawn the ire of NEA types, RiShawn Biddle at the Capital Research Center points out. From the bastions of traditional public educationthe National Education Association (NEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the university-level schools of education that dominate teacher training, and the public school superintendentsthe alarm has sounded: the Gates Foundation engages in misinformation campaigns, and wants to effectively cripple public control of schools, Biddle writes. Two years ago the National Commission on Skills in the Workplace, a Gates Foundation-funded panel, released a series of recommendations for improving schools that provoked harsh criticism.
Steven Miller and Jack Gerson of the NEAs Oakland affiliate accused the commission and the foundation of proposing policies that would end up effectively terminating the right to a public education, as we have known it. We can only hope.
One reason for the disconnect between Gates and the NEA is that the latter is unaccustomed to anyone who wants to put money into the public school system for some reason other than twisting its arm to make it hit jackpot. This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing dropout rates, improving teacher quality and the like are unimportant or inappropriate, retiring general counsel Bob Chanin told members. To the contrary, these are the goals that guide the work we do....
(Excerpt) Read more at academia.org ...
Even the ACLU has a better track record than the NEA-- they get something right once in awhile.
Once again, the NEA shows that it is all about the union, and not education.
The public schools do not educate children. They fail on purpose.
Gates is accidentally highlighting the problem.
I spotted the crux of the matter.
‘At the Gates Foundation, early grants went to utopian and communitarian movements but we moved away from that because it does not work, foundation spokesman David Ferrero said’.
Clearly the NEA can’t understand folks who learn from their mistakes. It is a notion alien to the NEA.
It seems to me that it would both be a natural fit, and a superb strategy for Bill Gates to create a completely new kind of high tech private school system, that would quickly dominate the “mass education” spectrum.
The concept of such a national school system would be an enormous educational Intranet with a complete interactive multimedia curriculum evolved far beyond the Renaissance-era school system in use today.
Each student would need something approaching an individual “pod”, so that distractions would be minimized while they vigorously interact with the multimedia experience.
This would mean learning, reviewing, and evaluating simultaneously, at the student’s individual performance level. This means no gaps in their learning, maximizing “streaks” and minimizing “slumps” in learning. The student is motivated to be in competition with themselves, achieving intellectual performance awards for good work.
In the long term, this means slower students continue to learn until they achieve standards, and faster students can digress from their track through college level if they are able, having earned the right to digress.
As an example, say the student is learning a history lesson. While they are watching a movie on the subject, they see the spelling of words unique to that lesson, which they retype. The lesson alternates between English and German language, to teach German as well as history. Periodically review questions require student input, as well as examination questions at the end of the test. If there are errors, they are corrected immediately. Words and sentences are incorporated in the lesson as well to improve student word knowledge and grammar.
If the student is doing well, and they see something in the lessons that catches their attention, they may follow it like following a link on a web page, to learn more. Thus their reward for learning well is to learn more. Digressions also figure in to their studies and credit.
Such a learning pod also doubles as a learning diagnostic device, checking for things like dyslexia, hearing, reading skills, longhand writing skills, memorization and recall skills, etc.
Various fixtures and applications would allow students to do things as diverse as learning a musical instrument, by attaching microphones to their instruments, the computer using the sound the instrument is producing to direct their learning.
Solely by not wasting student time, the curricula could easily be several times as large as is found in a good public school, and could incorporate any number of subjects to even include things unheard of in school, such as etiquette and financial and home management.
Microsoft is uniquely suited to create such a project, and the students produced would be so superior to any students produced by public education that it would be no contest competition.
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