Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The state of education is not good.

The state of education in this country is not good and it isn't getting better. We are groping around in the dark without any sense of direction or intuition. Our educational leaders are not educators. They are CEO's who are trying to run an industry for which they have no idea how it works and have no experience in it except as students. The ones who should be running it, professors in higher ed are poorly uniformed about K-12 and operate under the idea of "publish or perish" and usually publish useless tomes.

I'm getting tired of reading articles like this one in eSchool News. Tell me, us something we don't know, like how schools of education are training teachers to use the technology in their teaching. We, who use technology know this and more. We have been using these sites for decades and have developed our own along the way. We are more than conscious about the cookie cutter cuteness of the model presented here. This is nothing new, not earthshaking, and quite frankly, insulting. Here is a perfect example of a professor isolated from the real world and providing a similar kind of recipe we have seen for decades. There is no substance, no help in getting started or sustaining a web presence. It is too typical of what we can expect from higher ed.

Tell us how the schools of education are using the technology to create new teachers who use the technology so we stop hearing these disparaging words of fear about technology. Tell us how states are supporting teachers in using technology. I'm tired of reading these articles that do little in explaining how the technology can be used. Those of us who like technology and use it in our schools is still a vast minority just as we were two decades ago. Where are the schools of education that teach teachers how to use the technology we all know can enhance education in our classrooms?

Then I turned the page to find another article about how more teachers are using technology than they were in 2008, according to a study by PBS. Again this is primarily as a consumer and not as a producer. Sure teachers are accessing more video and information from the Internet, much as we would from a library. But this is not using technology. We must use technology as producers, too. We must produce webpages for our scholars. Our scholars must produce webpages for us and others. When I work with my scholars as they produce webpages, I hear how they know this from MySpace, not from other classes. Our scholars are learning the tools of production outside of school and unfortunately not well.

The best news comes from a research that suggests teaching to different learning styles is not effective. Does that mean all our work in special education is for naught? This news coupled with more emphasis on STEM makes me wonder about the state of education in this country. Education is in such chaos. Public education has no leadership. Support for public education is waning because the educational leaders in Washington and in our major cities are more interested in replacing public ed with charter schools. Have people like Carol Tomlinson and her staff been consulted in this research. Seems as if we have two polar opposites. How will this be resolved?

I think the biggest scam was when candidate Obama used Linda Darling-Hammond as his educational mouthpiece and then chose Arne Duncan, the CEO of Chicago schools to be the new Secretary of Education. I'm worried about Obama's educational direction as he stresses improvement in education via programs like Innovate to Educate, STEM, and Race to the Top and then chooses to slash funds for technology in education. He doesn't seem focused, he doesn't have a plan and appears to be more reactive than proactive.

The state of education is not good, it is chaotic.

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