Monday, June 15, 2015

Will Teachers Be Outsourced?

I've heard the debate in every other aspect of the economy, and I've heard it in education, as well:  will technology replace what we do?  Will we be replaced by technological innovation?

It's a fair question for everyone to ponder.  So many industries have already been disrupted by innovation; from taxi drivers and mass transit to manufacturing and shipping of goods worldwide.  What about teachers?

I used to believe that there was no replacement for teachers, and that in any scenario, a caring educator would always be the most effective model for preparing our youth for their future.  I still believe that, but now I'm seeing a bigger picture...

Will Richardson commented on a piece written for by Tom Goodwin, senior vice president of strategy and innovation at Havas Media.  In his original piece, Goodwin writes:  "The Internet is the most powerful mechanism we can imagine to match perfectly individuals that need something, and people with something to offer."  Richardson then ponders if that could be revised a bit, so that it reads:  "The Internet is the most powerful mechanism we can imagine to match perfectly individuals that want to learn something, and people who can help them learn it.” 

This brings me to my bigger picture.  Will teachers who work in a system that refuses to learn and grow be replaced by other teachers who are willing to meet students where they are, wherever that may be?

If we refuse to adapt and change with the needs of our society and economies, if our schools refuse to offer courses in coding and other technological fields, will our students simply bypass us for online options that are willing to prepare them for their futures?

Sources:  Will Richardson:  Something Interesting is Happening Tom Goodwin writing for  The Battle is for the Customer Interface

Monday, April 13, 2015


Scott McLeod over at issued the following challenge:

"When it comes to education, what are 5 things that we have to stop pretending? Post on your blog, tag 5 others, and share using the #makeschooldifferent hashtag.

Here is my list:

In education, we have to stop pretending:
  •  Learning only happens when we tell students what, when, and how
  • It's even remotely OK to be an educator and never learn anything new about your craft
  • Money for education is less important than giving anyone a tax break
  • Practicing the art of completing a worksheet has anything to do with success in life...or anything else other than successful completion of worksheets
  • Humans can solve any of the massive problems we face without educating every child better than we ever have before...that doing things the way we did growing up will suffice today

I'm tagging Kevin Honeycutt, Ginger Lewman, Curtis ChandlerMichael Soskil, and Miguel Guhlin.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Legislative Forum: Part I

I haven't written in a while, but am compelled to now after I attended a forum this evening at Southeast of Saline USD 306 in Gypsum, KS.

There were many things said on which I mean to comment, but I have to start with a relatively short piece for two reasons:  the sheer arrogance of the comment, and the fact that I'm extremely tired.

During the course of the question and answer session, one of the school board members was questioning the opinions of Rep. Tom Arpke, R. 24th District on the Common Core State Standards movement.  Mr. Arpke stated that he believes it is a waste of time and money for the Judicial branch to force a special session on school funding if they rule that the schools are being underfunded.

Oh, really?

So, Mr. Arpke, tell me why we are in this situation, again?  Oh, that's right.  I remember now.  The legislative branch willfully broke a law written into the state constitution.  Then, through the checks and balances set up by our government, the Judicial branch ordered the Legislative branch to follow the law.  Again, they chose instead to break it.  That's not all.  Then, they created a situation in which they would have no choice but to break it in the future.

That's right.  The representatives in the legislature chose to break a law, were ordered to follow it, broke it again, and then chose not to fix the problem but to create circumstances that guarantee that it continue.

Tell me, Mr. Arpke, am I going to be allowed to disobey the tax laws you voted for that I don't agree with?  After all, I'm just a lowly citizen.  You are an elected official.  I would estimate that your obligation to follow the laws is at least as great as mine, if not more.

It seems to me that there is quite a bit of a double standard at work in our state.  While I could lose my property and go to jail for breaking a law, legislators are allowed to do the same thing with immunity.

At one point in the forum, Mr. Arpke asked what we (schools) need.  We need you to follow the law.  It's not that complicated.  Unless, of course, you are educated at the funding levels Mr. Arpke prefers.