Tuesday, March 21, 2006

SITE 2006 - Tuesday Keynote - Can you hear me now? Composing Connections between Classrooms and Communities – Janet Swenson

This is "blogged live" on SITE 2006 Keynote. There is quite a bit there (I've been struggling just to get online these days). But here is my general take on the keynote. Politicians have decided on the right wing charge of accountability that they know best though the power of the dollar and the weight of ignorance of the general public that a common standard is the way to best provide for students – a race to an end. Education is supposed to be a marathon without an end run in as many ways there are people. It feels like all this standardization is just leading us to 1984. The teachers of the world know this but the politicians are denegrating them because despite their best efforts, there are students that are not fitting the bill because they are strapped in poverty that is the result of the political decisions that have created “slums”. This is even moving toward the university realm as bean counters look at academic freedom and see not that these people are creating strong minds though celebration of difference but that this diversity is something dangerous and that standardization of thinking should also occur here. If this happens, it will be truly horrific. If this happens, not only will the students entering university be bubble sheet filling zombies (I was flipping channels this morning and came across something on Disney about a kid taking a test lamenting that they have been doing bubbles since kindergarten, but they get read the instructions every single time) unable to think beyond in “academic” fields (no wonder there is a backlash and a look toward gaming and other forms of informal learning), the people teaching them how to go beyond will also be limited in the same way. This may in the end completely kill formal education. If Friedman is worried about the US education system in the light of India and China when writing his book a few years ago, he should be horrified now and yelling into the street – “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Technorati Tags: