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Disengaged by Design: The Neoconservative War on Youth - Long View on Education
"So, my broad argument is that no, students are not disengaged because schools are stuck in the past, but because schools are caught in the present strong current of policies that constantly re-shape and re-design schools – and life more broadly – to civically and politically disengage youth. To wage a war on them."



"So what’s the war on youth?
Peterson is an example of what I have in mind when I talk about the ‘war on youth’, a phrase which comes from Henry Giroux. In the neoconservative attack, youth are triply marginalised because it is claimed:

• they don’t know anything
• they are ‘fragile snowflakes’ and ‘play victim’
• they are dangerous to free speech (read: dangerous to the identity politics of wealthy white men)

These attacks are always racist and sexist, directed against people who are poor and the most marginalised and vulnerable.

The war on youth is an attack on class:

Tuition fees, re-introduced by Blair in 1998 at £1,000 pounds, tripled in 2004, at which point Michael Gove called people who objected “fools”: “anyone put off from attending a good university by fear of that debt doesn’t deserve to be at any university in the first place” (Finn, p. 7) Tuition fees then tripled again ten years later to over £9,000.

The war on youth is an attack on the differently abled:

Guardian 2013: “…the charity Contact A Family suggests that some schools are regularly making unlawful exclusions. The charity’s survey of over 400 families of children with disabilities or additional needs found that 22% are illegally excluded once a week and 15% every day (for part of the day).”

And the war on youth is an attack on people of colour:

Schools week Oct 2017: “School exclusions data shows that pupils from black Caribbean backgrounds are three times more likely to be excluded than white pupils, at a rate of 0.29 per cent compared to a rate of 0.1 per cent. Pupils from Irish traveller or Roma/gypsy backgrounds have the highest rate of exclusions of any ethnic group, at 0.49 per cent and 0.33 per cent respectively.”"



"So why call all these attacks ‘neoconservative’?

As Michael Apple argues, neoconservativism is about two things: a “return” – British values, authority, testing, high standards, patriotism – and it’s also about a fear of the “other.”

In an interview with Spiked about “the crisis of authority of the classroom,” Tom Bennett says there is a “chronic” “crisis of adult authority” in the broader culture and classroom, and he believes children want a restoration of adult authority because they are “waiting to be told what to do.” He is concerned that not teaching about “cultural legacy” might “endanger civilisation.”1

In fact, according to Stephen J Ball, the Coalition government and Gove married a lot of neoliberal and neoconservative doctrines. Typically, neoliberals emphasise the free market and privatisation without the explicit agenda for cultural reform (a return to British values). They also typically place more emphasis on global competitiveness that neoconservatives do through their future proofing agenda. But, Gove wove these two strands together.

In both cases, neoconservativism and neoliberalism form a narrative about who is valuable. As Lord Nash said about British Values (2014) “A key part of our plan for education is to ensure children become valuable and fully rounded members of society.”

What would it mean to be a non-valuable member of society? To be a surplus, disposable? To have no hope in a meritocracy?

The overarching narrative that connects the global education reform movement – Gove in the UK, to the OECD, WeF and the Davos crowd – is one values human capital. If schools can produce better human capital, the GDP rise and country will prosper.

The human capital narrative also privatises responsibility: If you fall out of work, it’s up to you to up-skill your human capital. Gert Biesta has pointed out how the right to lifelong education was replaced in the early 1990s with a responsibility for lifelong learning. Of course, as Thomas Piketty points out, humans aren’t literally capital – and he doesn’t use the phrase – unless you are talking about chattel slavery.

Now, in that context – an obsession with improving human capital, the human stock – and the neoconservative framing of society as a level playing-field, a meritocracy, the resurgent of a neohereditarian obsession with the genetics of IQ begins to makes sense."



"In Creative Schools (2015), Ken Robinson acknowledges the “blight of unemployment” that affects “young people that have done everything expected of them and graduated from college” and even that many graduates are underemployed in jobs that don’t require a degree. But rather than conclude that the economy has broken the agreement, Robinson blames schools – and youth. “There is an ever-widening skills gap between what schools are teaching and what the economy actually needs. The irony is that in many countries there’s plenty of work to be done, but despite the massive investments in education, too many people don’t have the skills needed to do it.”

The debunked idea that there is a ‘skills gap’ further marginalises youth – it turns them into an economic problem rather than source of hope. Moreover, framing the purpose of education – even creative education – so strictly in the confines of what businesses demand is short sighted and alienating.

But I do want to leave you with some reason for hope, and I think it’s located precisely where the ‘factory model’ idea about schools misses an important reality.

If students were really being disengaged by ‘factory model’ schools, in effect, kept down and repressed by a school structure that hasn’t changed in 150 years, then the reactionary force of neoconservatives like Peterson would make no sense. They’d have nothing to worry about if kids were being trained to follow instructions and take their place in an industrial hierarchy. But people like Peterson are worried precisely because youth are critically engaged in ways that might actually topple hierarchies. Schools and classrooms might in some – and perhaps – many cases be places for radical hope.

The more neoconservatives think we are doing something dangerous for youth, the more we know we’re on to something."
benjamindoxtdator  2018  neoliberalism  latecapitalism  schools  education  youth  class  race  racism  ableism  eugenics  getbiesta  economics  humancapital  rocketshipschools  altschool  stephenball  tombennett  cathynewman  daviddidau  meritocracy  stefanmolyneux  tobyyoung  johohnson  siliconvalley  kenrobinson  charlottechadderton  neoconservatives  neoconservativism  henrygiroux  michaelgove  stephenjaygould  richardvalencia  dominiccummings  benvandermerwe  jamesthompson  andrewsabinsky  jimal-khalili  barrysmith 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Ed-Tech's Inequalities
"“Education is the civil rights issue of our time,” you’ll often hear politicians and education reform types say.



"To the contrary, I maintain that civil rights remain the civil rights issue of our generation. When we see, for example, the Supreme Court overturn part of the Voting Rights Act, when we see rampant police violence against marginalized groups, when we see backlash against affirmative action and against Title IX protections, when we see pervasive discrimination – institutionalized – in people’s daily lives, when we see widespread inequalities – socioeconomic stratification based on race, ethnicity, gender, geography – we need to admit: there are things that, as Tressie McMillan Cottom has argued, the “education gospel cannot fix.”

And yet the dominant narrative – the gospel, if you will – about education and, increasingly education technology, is that it absolutely is “the fix.”

Education technology will close the achievement gap; education technology will close the opportunity gap. Education technology will revolutionize; education technology will democratize. Or so we are told. That's the big message at this week's ASU-GSV Summit, where education technology investors and entrepreneurs and politicians have gathered (registration: $2995) to talk about "equity." (Equity and civil rights, that is; not equity as investing in exchange for stock options and a seat on the Board of Directors, I should be clear. Although I'm guessing most of the conversations there were actually about the latter.)



"The rhetoric of “open” and education technology – particularly with regards to MOOCs and OER – needs to be interrogated. “Open access” is not sufficient. Indeed, as research by Justin Reich suggests – he’s also one of the authors of the MOOC study I just cited, incidentally – open educational resources might actually expand educational inequalities. A digital Matthew effect, if you will, where new technologies actually extend the advantages of the already advantaged.

In his research on OER, Reich looked at schools’ uses of wikis – some 180,000 wikis – and measured the opportunities that these provide students “to develop 21st-century skills such as expert thinking, complex communication, and new media literacy.” Among the findings: “Wikis created in schools serving low-income students have fewer opportunities for 21st-century skill development and shorter lifetimes than wikis from schools serving affluent students.” Reich found that students in more affluent schools were more likely to use wikis to collaborate and to build portfolios and presentations to showcase their work, for example.

Reich’s assertion that education technology broadens rather than erases educational inequality is echoed elsewhere. An article published last year in the journal Economic Inquiry, for example, found that “the introduction of home computer technology is associated with modest, but statistically significant and persistent negative impacts on student math and reading test scores.” Importantly, the negative impact was the greatest among low income students, in part the authors suggested because “student computer use is more effectively monitored and channeled toward productive ends in more affluent homes.” That is, students from affluent homes have a different sort of digital literacy and different expectations – themselves and from their parents – about what a computer is for."



"Anyon’s work is critical as it highlights how students’ relationship to “the system of ownership of symbolic and physical capital, to authority and control, and to their own productive activity” are developed differently in working class, middle class, and elite schools. Her work helps us to see too how the traditional practices of school might be reinforced, re-inscribed by technology – not, as some like to argue, magically disrupted, with these hierarchies magically flattened. Menial tasks are still menial if done on a computer. To argue otherwise is ed-tech solutionism – dangerous and wrong.

That’s not to say that education technology changes nothing, or changes little more than moving the analog to the digital. There are profoundly important questions we must ask about the shifts that education technology might bring about, particularly if we have our eye towards justice. How does education technology alter the notion of “work” in school, for example – students’ labor as well as teachers’ labor? Who owns all the content and data that students create when using educational technology? How do technology companies use this data to build their algorithms; how do they use it to build profiles and models? How do they use it to monitor, assess, predict, surveil? Who is surveilled; and who is more apt to be disciplined for what’s uncovered?

If we’re only concerned about the digital divide, we are likely to overlook these questions. We cannot simply ask “Who has access to Internet-connected devices at home?” We need to ask how Internet-connected devices are used – at home and at school?"



"This surveillance is increasingly pervasive, at both the K–12 and at the college level. New education technologies create more data; new education technology regimes – education policy regimes – demand more data."



"The architecture of education technology is not neutral.

Despite all the hype and hope about revolution and access and opportunity that these new technologies are supposed to provide us, they do not negate hierarchy, history, privilege, power. They reflect those. They channel it. They concentrate it, in new ways and in old."



"Education technology simply does not confront systemic inequalities. Or rather, it often substitutes access to a computing device or high speed Internet for institutional or structural change. Education technology routinely fails to address power or privilege. It fails to recognize, let alone examine, its history. It insists instead on stories about meritocracy and magic and claims about “blindness.”

I want to end here on what is a bit of a tangent, I suppose, about blindness – the things in technology we refuse to see.

This is a picture from Baotou in Inner Mongolia. Tim Maughan published a story last week on the BBC website about this artificial lake “filled with a black, barely-liquid, toxic sludge” – the toxic result of mining rare earth minerals, used in our modern computing devices, many of which are assembled – at least in part – in China.

That means this toxic lake is a byproduct of education technology. It grows as our fervor for new devices grows. Can we really say we’re architecting an equitable educational future if we ignore this foundation?

This is the great challenge for those of us in education: to address and not dismiss the toxicity. Adding technology does not scrub it away. To the contrary, we need to recognize where and how and why education technology actually makes things worse."
audreywatters  education  edtech  2015  technology  inequality  equity  mooc  moocs  anantagarwal  edx  dabanks  meritocracy  privilege  siliconvalley  technosolutionism  evgenymorozov  suveillance  natashasinger  pearson  aclu  eff  rocketshipschools  seymourpapert  carpediemschools  arneduncan  civilrights  justinreich  jeananyon  solutionism  charterschools 
april 2015 by robertogreco
What Happens When Your Teacher Is a Video Game? | The Nation
"Corporate lobbyists are increasingly promoting a type of charter school that places an emphasis on technology instead of human teachers. One of the exemplars of this model is Rocketship Education, based in Silicon Valley but with contracts to open schools in Milwaukee, Memphis, Nashville and Washington, DC. Rocketship’s model is based on four principles. First, the company cuts costs by eliminating teachers. Starting in kindergarten, students spend about one-quarter of their class time in teacherless computer labs, using video-game-based math and reading applications. The company has voiced hopes of increasing digital instruction to as much as 50 percent of student learning time.

Second, Rocketship relies on a corps of young, inexperienced, low-cost teachers. The turnover rate is dramatic—nearly 30 percent last year—but the company pays Teach for America to supply a steady stream of replacements.

Third, the school has narrowed its curriculum to a near-exclusive focus on math and reading. Since both Rocketship’s marketing strategy and teachers’ salaries are based on reading and math scores, other subjects are treated as inessential. There are no dedicated social studies or science classes, no music or foreign-language instruction, no guidance counselors and no libraries.

Finally, Rocketship maintains a relentless focus on teaching to the test. Students take math exams every eight weeks; following each, the staff revises lesson plans with an eye to improving scores. Rocketship boasts of its “backwards-mapping” pedagogy—starting with the test standards and then developing lesson plans to meet them. Rocketship is, as near as possible, all test-prep all the time.

Research suggests that any number of school models are more beneficial than online instruction. So why is this model being promoted by the country’s most powerful lobbies? Because, in Willie Sutton’s (apocryphal) words, “that’s where the money is.” As Hastings explains, the great financial advantage of digital education is that “you can produce once and consume many times.” Schools like Rocketship receive exactly the same funding for their teacherless applications as traditional schools do for credentialed teachers. Indeed, ALEC’s model legislation—adopted in five states—requires that even entirely virtual schools be paid the same dollars per student as traditional ones. As a result, the profit margins for digital products are enormous. It’s no wonder that investment banks, hedge funds and venture capitalists have flocked to this market. Rupert Murdoch pronounced US education “a $500 billion sector…waiting desperately to be transformed.”

Wall Street looks at education the same way it regards Social Security—as a huge flow of publicly guaranteed funding that is waiting to be privatized. The 2010 elections marked a major success for this effort, with twelve new states coming under Republican control. Within months, Florida’s new governor signed a bill requiring that high school students take at least one online course as a condition of graduation. At a meeting of investors in New York in 2012, one adviser gushed that “you start to see entire ecosystems of investment opportunity lining up” in K–12 education. Indeed, from 2005 to 2011, venture-capital investments in education grew almost thirtyfold, from $13 million to $389 million.

At the heart of these opportunities, Princeton Review founder John Katzman explains, is the question, “How do we use technology so that we require fewer highly qualified teachers?” This is the essential goal of the financial sector: to replace costly and idiosyncratic (though highly qualified) human teachers with mass-produced and highly profitable digital products—and to eliminate the legal and political conditions that inhibit a free flow of taxpayer dollars to the creators of these private products."



"After decades of research, we know a lot about what makes for good schools. But there is also a handy shortcut for figuring this out: look where rich people send their kids. These schools invariably boast a broad curriculum taught by experienced teachers in small classes. Wisconsin’s top ten elementary schools, for instance, look nothing like Rocketship’s: they have twice as many licensed teachers per student; offer music, art, libraries, foreign languages and guidance counselors; and provide classes that are taught in person by experienced educators.

Rocketship’s most important backer in Wisconsin is the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. In 2013, the MMAC supported a bill that would make it easier for companies like Rocketship to expand, dubbing such schools “the best of the best.” Yet the suburban schools of the MMAC’s president and chairperson look very different. Both have approximately fifteen students for every licensed teacher, or half the Rocketship ratio. Both provide music, art and libraries complete with professional librarians. And both boast veteran teaching staffs, with 90 percent of the teachers at one school holding graduate degrees. It appears, then, that what is deemed the “best of the best” for poor kids in Milwaukee is unacceptably substandard for more privileged students.

Thus, the charter industry seeks to build a new system of segregated education—one divided by class and geography rather than explicitly by race. Segregation may ease the politics of the industry’s expansion, allowing privileged families to see the Rocketship model as something that’s happening only to poor people, as something inconceivable in their own neighborhoods.

But such parents are mistaken. Investors are operating on a market logic, not a racial one. The destruction of public schooling starts in poor cities because this is where parents are politically powerless to resist a degraded education model. But after the industry has taken over city school systems, it will move into the suburbs. Profitable charter ventures will look to grow indefinitely, until there are no more public schools to conquer. As Rocketship co-founder John Danner explains, critics shouldn’t worry about charter schools skimming the best students, because eventually “we’re going to educate all of the students, so there’s nothing left to skim.”"
rocketshipschools  2014  education  lobbying  inequality  segregation  class  geography  policy  politics  teaching  learning  schools  privatization  forprofit  charterschools 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Rocketship Education changes course, slows expansion - San Jose Mercury News
"Its ambitions have drawn fire from neighbors, parents, teachers unions and school districts, who charge that adding campuses will hurt traditional public schools and who have bested Rocketship in court.

Perhaps even more devastating for this darling of charter-school boosters is that its vaunted test scores have plummeted.

"We didn't deliver," said CEO and co-founder Preston Smith, about disappointing results that led Rocketship to slow its growth. "That's in response to our own expectations."

Primary among its difficulties, Smith concedes, is the failure of an audacious plan to knock down walls and create 100-student classrooms, which Rocketship is abandoning. Rocketship also suffered through a leadership transition after the exit last year of co-founder John Danner, who began a firm to supply software to schools.

Yet, Smith maintains, "We have really great schools." He also points to Rocketship's loyal parents, long waiting lists for its eight Bay Area schools, all in San Jose, and proficiency scores that outshine schools with similar students. Rocketship still envisions tripling in size to 13,000 students in three years.

Rocketship, Smith said, has been targeted partly because it challenges the status quo.

Not so, said the network's leading nemesis. Brett Bymaster, of San Jose, whose successful lawsuit led Rocketship to abandon plans for an already-approved school in Tamien, southwest of downtown. He said he's most concerned about governance.

"What happens when you have a relatively secretive organization that has an unelected board and has large growth plans?" asked Bymaster, who organized his Tamien neighborhood to oppose a proposed Rocketship school there, filed a successful land-use lawsuit that has slowed the charter network and now runs a "Stop Rocketship" website that has attracted a local and national following.

He noted that Rocketship reneged on a promise to maintain local school boards and instead consolidated them with the national board. "How do we as a community hold them accountable?""



"Staffers' long hours, however, are both a key to success and a source of burnout. Current and former Rocketship teachers characterized their workday as 11 to 16 hours, with just five weeks for summer vacation.

"You ate, breathed and lived with Rocketship," said Jennifer Myers, who worked as a teacher, academic dean and substitute. Like others, she initially loved her job -- citing the can-do culture at Mateo Sheedy, Rocketship's pioneer school, and the astonishing and satisfying progress of students.

But she and a teacher who is quitting Rocketship this month both said the hours are unsustainable. Rocketship in recent years has churned through green teachers, many from the nonprofit service group Teach for America, at a furious pace. After 2013, 29 percent of its teachers left.

Teachers -- who are at-will employees who can be fired at any time -- also criticized Rocketship's intolerance for dissent, saying it contributed to the disastrous redesign that placed 100 students in a classroom.

"Teachers raised concerns," said one ex-teacher, "and no discussion was allowed on the subject."

Those who privately expressed doubt feel vindicated, although sad, by the resulting test decline.

Rocketship was seeking in part to save money with the large classrooms, overseen by two teachers and an aide. Smith said the model also allowed for more specialized teaching, efficiency and computers in class. He acknowledges that the redesign, which in part precipitated a fall in test scores at all schools, didn't work out."
rocketshipschools  2014  schools  education  charterschools 
july 2014 by robertogreco
The Problem with “Personalization”
"What are the repercussions of radically “personalizing” education through computers? What do we gain? What do we lose?

There’s a very powerful strain of American individualism — and California exceptionalism — that permeates technology: an emphasis on personal responsibility, self-management, autonomy. All that sounds great when and if you frame new technologies in terms of self-directed learning.

But how do we reconcile that individualism with the social and political and community development that schools are also supposed to support? How do we address these strains of individualism and increasingly libertarianism as they permeate the classroom?

What do we do about the communal goals of education, for example — to produce good citizens, if nothing else — if we become maniacally focused on personal goals of education instead? What happens to meaningful moments to collaborate? What happens to discussion? What happens to debate? What happens to the idea that we must work through ideas together — not just in the classroom, but as part of our work and civic responsibilities?

And who gets the “personalized” education delivered through them via adaptive technology? And who gets the “personalization” that we hope a student-centered, progressive education would offer?

This image from a PBS documentary about Rocketship Education haunts me.

The chain of charter schools boasts personalization — “Rocketship uses the most adaptive and personalized programs available, and continues to push Silicon Valley vendors and others to create even more adaptive learning tools,” its website boasts.

So the problem with personalization via adaptive software isn’t simply that “it doesn’t work.” It’s that it might work — work to obliterate meaningful and powerful opportunities for civics, for connection, for community. Work to obliterate agency for students. And work not so much to accelerate learning, but to accelerate educational inequalities."

[Accompanies: "What Should School Leaders Know About Adaptive Learning?" https://modernlearners.com/what-should-school-leaders-know-about-adaptive-learning/ ]

[See also: http://thesprouts.org/blog/rendering-learners-legible ]
rocketshipschools  audreywatters  education  personalization  bigdata  legibility  autonomy  personallearning  learning  schools  policy  adaptivelearningtechnology  data  datacollection  adaptivelearning  adaptivetechnology 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Can 'Rocketship' Launch a Fleet of Successful Schools? - YouTube
"John Danner has built seven "Rocketship" charter schools, whose model has produced results at or above average in low-income neighborhood by using technology, community engagement, and teaching coaches. Special correspondent John Merrow profiles the California program, which aims to mass-produce quality schools."
rocketshipschools  2012  education  callingcenters  johndanner  scary  charterschools 
may 2014 by robertogreco
The One Room Schoolhouse Goes High Tech | MindShift
[Starts out rosy (and there is a lot of interesting in this model) and the title sounds encouraging, but the concerns are hidden down below. School of One and Rocketship are not progressive.]

"While the school is using Common Core as a guideline for its teaching standards, students aren’t grouped by grade level. Rather, students move through activities based on their skill and are broadly grouped in age ranges that include transitional kindergarten, “youngers,” “olders,” and middle school.

“We don’t think there’s such a thing as a grade,” Ventilla said. “Kids are at different levels across their academic and non-academic trajectories and it’s about creating an environment of peers, people that push them, people that are good influences, but also people that they can be friends with and have intellectual peers.”

This is not a new concept, of course. Champions of competency-based education have been advocating this model for years, and Brightworks, a school that opened a few years ago just a few miles away that’s focused on project based learning uses the same premise. In that way, it’s less a brand new innovation and more of an amalgamation of different models borrowed from Montessori, Waldorf, homeschooling, and different education theorists, as evidenced by the books scattered around the school’s office — Finnish Lessons, The Smartest Kids in the World, 5 Minds for the Future, How Children Succeed.

Another borrowed idea applied to AltSchool is the School of One model in New York. Students at AltSchool work from an individual playlist the teacher puts together that’s keyed to his or her interests. The teacher can keep track of student progress on a dashboard, ensure the tasks have been completed, and adjust activities depending on how students are progressing. For example, recently, AltSchool teacher Carolyn Wilson assigned a video about California’s delta to one student, paired with questions about how water moves through the system.

“He moved it to the ‘done’ column, but it wasn’t done, so I told him he was turning me into a screaming monster,” Wilson said. When she checked his work and saw he hadn’t finished, Wilson tagged that assignment with a screaming monster icon and a note to the student telling him to go back and answer the questions and complete a reflection."



"AltSchool is fundamentally a for-profit technology start-up, recently announcing $33 million dollars in venture capital funding. Slightly less than half of its current staff — a total of about 25 people, including teachers — are computer engineers. Despite the techy underpinnings, technology isn’t all that visually present in AltSchool classrooms the way it is in many schools with one-to-one programs or at a charter network like Rocketship, according to AltSchool staff. But technology is a pervasive part of this model behind the scenes.

“If you look at how learning gets personalized in most schools out there, it’s by sticking a kid in front of a screen,” said AltSchool Chief Technology Officer Komal Sethi. “That’s because it’s easy. That’s not how we think about it.” Tech tools help students track their assignments, document their work, and allow teachers to stay on top of each student’s individual lesson plan. “We want the real-world, project-based learning to happen, we just want to be able to see that it’s happening,” Sethi said. And to that end, AltSchool classrooms are being videotaped and recorded in an effort to capture classroom moments that the teacher might have missed. “We’re basically trying to say, what can we observe that’s going on to help the teacher do the things she already does,” Sethi said.

The engineering team is working to build technology that will allow teachers to bookmark moments when the class gets particularly loud, for example, so they can go back to that moment and see if something needs to be modified in the instructional practice, or if there is a particular incident to observe later.

“That’s a moment when something happened that the teacher wanted to keep so she could go back and see what happened that allowed this breakthrough,” Ventilla said. He also believes parents will be grateful for having a video recording of breakthrough academic moments in their children’s lives, like when they first learn to read. The school’s engineers are working to create sensors sophisticated enough to pick up on students’ facial expressions and then send a signal to the teacher’s dashboard. He said the sensors would potentially help teachers know when a child is struggling, even if she’s in another part of the room. It’s meant to give the teacher another set of eyes.

This model flies in the face of many student data privacy concerns surfacing recently regarding collecting more data on students. The school and its developers keep the raw video and audio data for two years before trashing it, but can save particular moments to share with teachers or parents for much longer.

ENGINEERS AND TEACHERS

AltSchool plans to launch officially next fall with several modular classrooms around San Francisco and surrounding cities, as well as in Silicon Valley at $19,100 per year. “Our model is attractive to families who know what they want educationally and come to us to have some of the logistics taken care of without having to reinvent the school,” said Anna Cueni, the school’s director of operations.

In addition to running schools, the company will be designing software for teachers’ needs. “Every one of our engineers spends time directly in the classroom, collaborates directly with students, and many of them actually teach during part of their week,” Ventilla said. Teachers and developers work together to design tech tools that meet specific classroom needs.

So far, developers have created the software that makes student playlists, the audio and video replay system that allows teachers to bookmark important moments in the classroom, and have made a weekly parent summary tool that makes it easy for teachers to curate and share insights about students each week. This close collaboration could create products that other schools find useful and eventually might license.

“We’re not trying to make existing schools work better,” Ventilla said. “We are trying to actually advance a new model of a school.” That said, if a charter network wanted to begin a whole new set of schools based on the AltSchool model, Ventilla wouldn’t be opposed. But he said the model would not work in a traditional large school building with a centralized administration and little flexibility."
altschool  2014  education  progressive  startups  maxventilla  schools  lcproject  microschools  smallschool  management  rocketshipschools 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Moving at the Speed of Creativity | Getting it WRONG: The Economist on Educational Technology, Testing and School Reform
"Two articles published in The Economist‘s print and online magazines at the end of June 2013 are filled with errors and misleading statements concerning educational technology, testing, and school reform. The articles, “E-ducation: A long-overdue technological revolution is at last under way” and “Catching on at last: New technology is poised to disrupt America’s schools, and then the world’s” are both dated June 29, 2013. Here are the misleading statements, falsehoods, and outright lies the articles portray as truth in the name of further discrediting public school systems in the United States as failing, incapable of meaningful improvement or reform, and in need of private companies through charter schools and online programs saving the day after “evil teacher unions” are finally discarded by an indignant public sick of “lazy teachers” standing in the way of corporate America’s educational reform agenda."
wesleyhill  education  policy  edreform  theeconomicst  2013  unions  teacherunions  privatization  manipulation  falsehoods  commoncore  technology  edtech  charterschools  rocketshipschools 
july 2013 by robertogreco

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