Friday, January 14, 2011

Mere Pocket Change

                Maybe I have some readers in places that I didn’t realize. In my previous post (“With Apologies to Dickens…”) I wrote:
It’s also encouraging that education seems to be heavily at the forefront of a national conversation. In just the past couple of years, several national magazines have featured cover stories on education. And they haven’t been just the usual “America if falling dangerously behind” pieces. Instead, they have talked about redesigning schools, teacher quality, modern curricula, and other crucial topics.
                The worst? It’s that so many of those conversations lead to most people suggesting the same misguided solutions to various issues. All the solutions somehow seem to involve “raising standards”—be it for schools or teachers or students. Please understand that I’m not against standards. Certainly they should be high. I’m just not sure how they really work as a solution.
Then on Wednesday this article showed up on the blog: “How to Spend $100 Million to Really Save Education.” While I wish I could take credit for the topic, it’s prompted, of course, by Mark Zuckerberg’s gift to the city of Newark, New Jersey, to overhaul its school system. I am gratified to see that the author echoes my concerns in that Zuckerberg is following the standard thinking about improved education. It’s particularly disappointing that this comes from a guy who helped kickstart a social revolution from his dorm room.
To provide some fresh ideas, Fast Company asked 13 “edu-experts” for a radical idea on how they would spend $100 million to save education. I’m not going to go into any of them here. You can read them yourself if you follow the link to the article. Plus I don’t want to cloud your thinking before you share your ideas.
So how would you spend that $100 million to save education? (And if you really do happen to have it lying around and need a good cause, let’s visit!)

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