Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Go Virtual

On Friday I am on a panel for the New America Foundation to discuss how we can dramatically improve education in the US. This is a group of Hispanic business leaders who are tired of the poor performance of our education system. They want to come out of this meeting with actual action items that can have a positive impact on students.

Since we are involved in the teacher quality aspect I really want to focus on the fact that we are never going to find 3.5 million highly skilled, highly motivated, outstanding teachers. One stunning fact I just pulled for this event:

• In 1974, 24% of teachers scored in the top percentile on high school tests, in 2000 it was down to 11%

So if we start with the premise that we cannot find all the talent we need and still need to educate every child then we need to somehow find a more efficient way of delivering education. If only there were some sort of machine that every other entity in the world uses to maximize efficiency……………sigh.

In my daughter’s school they used computers to conduct research and do powerpoints. They did not get curriculum that was customized to their needs, they did not work on practice problems and they did not see classes delivered by the best teacher in a given subject.

So my pitch is going to be that we have got to start training more teachers to use digital content (see CA) and we have got start re-thinking our school structure to better utilize the talent we have and get that talent in front of more kids.

Will this meeting change anything? I will keep you posted.

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