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George W. Bush and Mitt Romney in 2002 photo
(Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

As part of his big education week, Mitt Romney has announced his education advisory group, and hoo, boy. Are you ready to go back to the Bush years?

Romney's special advisor on education is Rod Paige, Secretary of Education under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. One of his two K-12 education co-chairs, both of his higher education co-chairs, and both of his workforce training co-chairs were lower-level Bush appointees, as were a number of Romney's committee members. But while Romney's education advisers may be Bush-administration retreads, that doesn't mean they're all stuck in exactly the same terrible educational ideas of the early 2000s. No, some of them have advanced to be leaders in the terrible educational ideas of the present.

Take Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, who is a major champion of the "digital learning options" Romney touted on Wednesday. At his urging, the Idaho legislature passed a law requiring students to take online classes to graduate from high school, and emphasizing computers in classrooms to a degree that the New York Times' Matt Richtel describes as "envision[ing] a fundamental change in the role of teachers, making them less a lecturer at the front of the room and more of a guide helping students through lessons delivered on computers."

According to a Republican state senator, "It’s almost as if it was written by the top technology providers in the nation." And indeed, the online education industry, led by K12 Inc, put a lot of money into Luna's election.

Where Mitt Romney's education advisers and policies look forward from the Bush years, this is how: in the most cynical, profit-driven, educationally unsound way possible. But it's one that should win him the backing of the many companies skimming huge profit out of public education funding.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri May 25, 2012 at 10:47 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It sounds like the repubs have no real ideas. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mostel26, TomFromNJ

    I was going to say new ideas but the things I have heard them say have been said by other people and most rejected or not thought thru and they won't work..

    Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things. Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) Just A Real Nice Guy, thinking out loud.

    by arealniceguy on Fri May 25, 2012 at 11:06:07 AM PDT

    • opposed to the White House's ideas (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      which are "let's take NCLB and give it steroids." The testing/blame teachers craze is only going to increase.

      I got no love for Republicans. But let's not kid ourselves about the Obama/Duncan approach. Republicans want to destroy public education. Democrats want to keep it but render it useless. Not sure which is worse.

      Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth. - Lucy Parsons

      by cruz on Mon May 28, 2012 at 07:40:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Craze (0+ / 0-)

        The craze has come to the UK, being sponsored by the Republicans' friend David Cameron, et al. They're playing the same tune about test and blame as in the USA.

        Making people stupid is going global!

        FOSI: Full Of Shit Information - Both my sister and I are trivia freaks...

        by Spoc42 on Tue May 29, 2012 at 07:22:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Mittens = W (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mostel26, a2nite

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Fri May 25, 2012 at 11:16:46 AM PDT

  •  The republican vision of America is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mostel26, Mr Robert, a2nite

    basically a big Ponzi scheme.  The fact that they want to turn public education into a profit factory, and the students into drones who unquestioningly do nothing but consume more worthless shit fits right into that.

    These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

    by HugoDog on Fri May 25, 2012 at 11:17:59 AM PDT

  •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Laura Clawson for highlighting this under the radar announcement by Mitt.  Luna (Idaho) is an unethical crook who proposed legislation (which passed)  to openly reward his contributors with financial gain. If Mitt wants the Luna plan he's got some explaining to do.

  •  Ah yeah! Back to Mr. Education's policies so we (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    can have a 'hopefuller' country.

  •  Education policy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Kaib

    Yes, Mitt Romney would be a disaster.
    But, we hardly left Mr. Bush's education policies.  They were named NCLB.

    Unfortunately on the issue of education, the Obama team and Arn Duncan are only slightly better.  It is unfortunate that we don't have a candidate who supports public schools and teachers.

    To see the negative side of some of Obama's key supporters on education, see here

    BTW. I have worked in public education for 40 years.  All of that time working very hard to achieve equal educational opportunity for the poor and the oppressed.  And, I have been a union activist during this time.
    For more see. Democracy and Education Institute.

  •  profitization, teaching the test, anti-teacher (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, JeffW, grimjc, cruz

    One candidate is cranked to 9, the other to 11.  What a choice!

    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Mon May 28, 2012 at 05:05:39 PM PDT

  •  What separates (7+ / 0-)

    Arne Duncan and his star Michelle Rhee from the Bush/Paige approach?

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

    by ActivistGuy on Mon May 28, 2012 at 05:07:39 PM PDT

  •  If my kids were not grown up I would be (5+ / 0-)

    homeschooling them.  Repubs have turned students into commodities to enrich corporations.  How much can they make off them, straight from the tax coffers to them, courtesy of the taxpayers.  They have ruined, dumbed down education.  All our schools have started to look like miniature prisons anyway with walls, fences, guards, metal detectors and dogs roaming the halls to sniff out drugs.  This is the future plan by Repubs for our children.

  •  thank god for Obama's education advisors (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azazello, JosephK74


    this would be a lot easier if Democrats tried harder.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Mon May 28, 2012 at 05:09:24 PM PDT

    •  Romney's son (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Azazello, mightymouse, rosabw, JML9999

      heads a PE firm called Solamere Capital, which Romney has invested $10 million in.

      Solarmere Capital has ties to for profit education firms.

      As with just about everything Romney says or does, follow the money.

      •  Remember Neil Bush? (0+ / 0-)

        Why is this not surprising?

        In 1999, Bush co-founded Ignite! Learning, an educational software corporation. Bush has said he started Austin-based Ignite! Learning because of his learning difficulties in middle school and those of his son, Pierce.[6] The software uses multiple intelligence methods to provide varying types of content to appeal to multiple learning styles.
        To fund Ignite!, Bush raised $23 million from U.S. investors, including his parents, as well as businessmen from Taiwan, Japan, Kuwait, the British Virgin Islands and the United Arab Emirates, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Documented investors include Russian billionaire expatriate Boris Berezovsky, Berezovsky's partner Badri Patarkatsishvili, Kuwaiti company head Mohammed Al Saddah, and Chinese computer executive Winston Wong.
        In 2002, Neil Bush commended his brother, George, for his efforts on education as President, but he questioned the emphasis on constant testing to keep federal aid coming to public schools: “I share the concerns of many that if our system is driven around assessments, pencil-and-paper tests that test a kid's ability to memorize stuff, I would say that reliance threatens to institutionalize bad teaching practices.”[7]
        As of October 2006, over 13 U.S. school districts (out of over 14,000 school districts nation-wide[8]) have used federal funds made available through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 in order to buy Ignite's products at $3,800 apiece.[9]
        A December 2003 Style section article in the Washington Post reported that Bush's salary from Ignite! was $180,000 per year.[4]
        Bush's relationship with the controversial oligarch Boris Berezovsky, a political enemy of Russian President Vladimir Putin currently under indictment for fraud in Russia and an applicant for asylum in the United Kingdom,[10] has been noted in the media. Berezovsky has been an investor in Bush's Ignite! program since at least 2003.[11] Bush met with Berezovsky in Latvia. The meeting caused tension between that country and Russia due to Berezovsky's fugitive status.[11] Bush was also seen in Berezovsky's box at an Arsenal's Emirates stadium for a game in 2006,[12] which prompted some stateside criticism.[13] There has also been speculation in the English language Moscow Times that the relationship may cause tension in U.S.-Russian bilateral relations, "especially since Putin has taken pains to build a personal relationship with the U.S. president.
        It's all in the 'family'.

        "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." Mark Twain

        by Gordon20024 on Mon May 28, 2012 at 06:01:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "making them less a lecturer ... " (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sounds like a good idea.

  •  So are Obama's! (6+ / 0-)

    Did you forget: Dubya's Ed Sec endorsed the horrible Arne Duncan.

    You get any worse than Duncan.  He's pathetic.

    Every idea Duncan has...has no evidence to support it.

    "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills. They are technologically very advanced." 4-2-10 Obama's George Bush moment

    by neaguy on Mon May 28, 2012 at 05:17:44 PM PDT

  •  Terrible education ideas of the 2000s? (0+ / 0-)


    As I recall, Bush's terrible education ideas were that children should be educated and that it was our responsibility to see that it happened. No Child Left Behind -- a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (Don't tell me he is now considered to be a right-twisting wingnut these days) -- made a first stab at how to get there.  It was never presented as "the solution", and is not fundamentally different from the present administration's Race to the Top, except, perhaps, in placing children ahead of teachers.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon May 28, 2012 at 05:20:18 PM PDT

    •  DFER Talking Points (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gordon20024, Citizenpower

      “in placing children ahead of teachers.” Really?  Do you really want to repeat that sound bite? How about placing students ahead of poverty and all of its implications?  If the political forces that be, including Mr. Obama really want to change education they need to get off scapegoating of teachers and look to the underlying truths of why certain students don’t succeed in school.

      •  Sure. Putting children ahead of teachers. (0+ / 0-)

        Feel better?

        What else am I to believe?

        The biggest complaints I have heard about No Child Left Behind boil down to holding teachers more accountable.  

        The biggest problem with the act is that iteration 1 was not followed by iterations 2..x to address the problems with iteration 1.  In most things, first steps are notable mainly for making second steps possible.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Mon May 28, 2012 at 06:07:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Much of what teachers' unions bargain for (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          involve working conditions--which, I might add --are learning conditions for the students.  

          “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

          by musiclady on Mon May 28, 2012 at 06:35:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Working conditions are working conditions. (0+ / 0-)

            Might or might not make things better for students.

            Students and teachers have overlapping interests, but that is different from having the same interests.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Mon May 28, 2012 at 06:37:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Biggest complaints are those pointless (0+ / 0-)

          standardized tests. Big profits for the testing companies, little learned in the classroom.

          Little surprise many of today's teens write in Sarah Palin style text speak:

          "R u coming 2 my place tonite? Y r u so l8?"

          Sometimes . . . I feel . . . like a redneck with chopsticks . . . Dreaming of squirrel while I'm sucking down squid . . .

          by Pale Jenova on Mon May 28, 2012 at 07:59:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It was a fraud though (0+ / 0-)

          Everyone understood that the goal of 100% proficiency was not attainable. Everyone understood that it would be fixed in a future iteration.

          (And everyone understood that that future iteration would have happened by now.)

          Why this was deemed a good plan I cannot say.

          The teachers I'm around want every kid to be proficient and do their level best every day to make that possible. I don't think they leave any child behind. But that said, every teacher has a story of a child doing the test in 5-10 minutes, just filling in bubbles wantonly, and every teacher has a story of a child who comes in so far behind... and then the parents pull the child for a 4 week vacation before winter break.

          The Act, as written, treats the school and teacher dealing with these issues as if they just phoned in the school year. It makes no effort to distinguish. Test scores are all. The teachers don't feel in control of their own destiny.

          It also only cares about scores in language arts and math. A school that spends time on writing, science, and history is flirting with AYP disaster... even though those are critically important skills. But hey, not on the test, so who cares?

          And finally, you should understand that these tests are designed to create failure. It's not the same test every year. If too many kids get a question right, no one says, "Hooray, the kids are learning and the teachers taught this well!" Instead, they say, "Hmm, this question is too easy. Better take it off for next year." The tests are renormed every year and the cut scores are based on the distribution of correct answers and scores. In other words, the "bar" of proficiency is a moving target.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Mon May 28, 2012 at 11:38:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I should add, this is the California situation (0+ / 0-)

            In other states, they did set the cut scores low so more kids would be proficient. The law does not mandate any particular test, and states vary widely on what they chose.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Mon May 28, 2012 at 11:40:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  "Everyone understood" (0+ / 0-)

            I've heard that sort of thing so many times.

            I know that, in the purest sense, it's true.

            Mostly, though, I'm convinced it's a way for teachers to feel better about themselves and to justify failing to bring out the best in each student.  It's a major driver for the home school movement, and one reason why some parents will struggle and sacrifice to put their kids into private schools if they can possibly manage it.

            I say that as somebody whose children have been, at times, home-schooled, in private school, and in public schools.  My remaining school-aged daughters are both in public schools now and doing well.  My youngest has been the beneficiary of some amazing teachers.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Tue May 29, 2012 at 03:24:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Perhaps you have some ideas (0+ / 0-)

              I'm curious about what you would have a teacher do for a child who comes in reading below grade level and then misses a lot of school for various outside activities, and who never follows through outside of class. I know this scenario is incredibly frustrating, and I suspect new strategies to deal with it would be welcome.

              The advantage private schools have is that they can protect their teachers and the other students by saying to the family, "I'm sorry, this just isn't working out" and sending them on their way... back to the public school.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Tue May 29, 2012 at 07:22:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And the advantage home schools have is that a (0+ / 0-)

                parent can devote all the attention needed to help a child past her difficulties.

                Teachers aren't miracle-workers -- although there are times I wonder about some of them.

                Yes, you cannot make a child suddenly read at grade level.
                You can't fix problems at home.

                The best you can do is give that child reason to do better and help getting there, and it might not (probably won't in some cases) matter.

                I'm a big believer in educational standards (as opposed to standard), but I'm also a believer in measuring success the right way.  A teacher who motivates a bright child into projects that get her into MIT should be celebrated.  By the same token, a teacher who manages to cajole and support a kid who might have dropped out into barely graduating should also be celebrated.  

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Tue May 29, 2012 at 10:05:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If this child had a parent interested enough (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  to home school, the child would not be behind, and the 4 week vacation would not be a problem. Alas.

                  Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                  by elfling on Tue May 29, 2012 at 10:14:43 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Depends on the reason for home schooling, but yes. (0+ / 0-)

                    Parents of learning-disabled kids are a significant presence in home-schooling circles.  I remember being amazed at what these parents -- not professional educators in most cases -- were able to do with love and perseverance.  

                    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                    by dinotrac on Tue May 29, 2012 at 10:23:35 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  So what about things that can't be tested (0+ / 0-)

          with a multiple guess standardized test despite the fact that they are important?  In theory, you could develop tests for them but they wouldn't be standardized because grading an essay test or oral presentation test is inherently subjective.

          Also, are you aware that there is no cap to the standards which means that pretty soon if a single student misses a single question the whole school fails.  That's right, the way they set it up within a decade every student will be required to get a perfect score or the school fails!

          There is no saving throw against stupid.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Tue May 29, 2012 at 01:47:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  NCLB was full of unfunded mandates that left (0+ / 0-)

      many schools strapped for cash.

      Its one thing to mandate
      a change in teaching.Its another to pay for it.

      Ted Kennedy probably thought Bush would fund the program that he called for. Guess he didn't know this Bush as well as the last one.

  •  Education is simply a means to reward cronies... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, Gordon20024, JeffW

    with these GOPer assholes. Profit overrides all other concerns.

    Mitt Romney treats people like things. And he treats things - corporations - like people.

    by richardak on Mon May 28, 2012 at 05:28:01 PM PDT

    •  For a sobering lesson on just how far and (0+ / 0-)

      pervasive this goes, read The Student Loan Scam: The most Oppressive Debt in U. S. History by Alan Michael Collinge to see how these politicians are screwing students every which way possible.  Especially Boner.

      The student loan industry has bought and paid for the GOP Congress and are busy creating a debtor class of young people who will have little power.

      I'd like to know when we will finally realize that the politicians in Washington are paid seditionists, not representatives of the people.

      If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

      by livjack on Mon May 28, 2012 at 07:30:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That makes sense. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, Gordon20024, JeffW

    If the role of a twentieth century secondary school was to prepare students for college, the role of a twenty-first century secondary school will be to prepare students for for-profit online academies that don't actually teach anything.  Good luck kids.

    •  The 20th century school (0+ / 0-)

      was designed to 1) "assimilate" immigrants, and 2) prepare students to take jobs in industrial factories. Hell, the Junior High School/Middle School was invented by business interests to get an early start on training children who might not not finish high school.

      Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth. - Lucy Parsons

      by cruz on Mon May 28, 2012 at 07:44:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Since Bill and Mrs Bill Gates are Zealots (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ya'd think Microsoft would be providing the software for online learning...

    Doctor Mitt Romney Brain Sturgeon-The Operation was a success but the patient died, where's my fee?

    by JML9999 on Mon May 28, 2012 at 05:32:51 PM PDT

  •  This will happen in EVERY department (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It doesn't really matter who is at the top of the ticket, the staff of every administration will come from either Team R or Team D. One or the other.

    We elected Obama & got a bunch of Clinton people, probably some of whom date from the Carter years.

    If we elect Romney, we'll get a bunch of Bush II people, who were in turn Bush I people, Reagan people, and Nixon people.

    That's just the way it works.

    The invasion of Iraq was a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a crime against civilization. Prosecute the crime.

    by Positronicus on Mon May 28, 2012 at 05:35:55 PM PDT

    •  Doesn't have to work like this. (0+ / 0-)

      Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth. - Lucy Parsons

      by cruz on Mon May 28, 2012 at 07:44:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it does, actually (0+ / 0-)

        The Executive Branch is a vast, corporatized, well-established behemouth,  while a presidential campaign is but a small, enterpreneurial startup. It's as if the staff of your corner Mom & Pop pizza joint were to suddenly take over a huge company like Dominos.

        Even with a transition period, it's just not possible for a relatively small number of people to take command of such a huge enterprise without relying on people with experience. The Mom & Pop pizza people would want to bring in their own finance team and a maybe couple of key VPs, but beyond that, they'd be forced to keep the operations managers, most of the executive team (at least temporarily), and then start recruiting people with experience running a national chain.

        Even for a company the size of Dominos, a successful transition might take years. Presidents don't have that kind of time, and their problem is much larger. A President who didn't hire anyone with previous administration experience would be setting himself up for failure.

        Of course, on the Republican side, it doesn't matter; if all the players on the bench were failures in the previous administration, they'll be failures in the next one too. The single best reason not to vote for Romney is that we don't want to let the R Team back onto the field.

        The invasion of Iraq was a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a crime against civilization. Prosecute the crime.

        by Positronicus on Tue May 29, 2012 at 10:43:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Don't conflate scammers with quality online ed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Great college professors and good high school math teachers should be available to the many who won't be able to sit in their classrooms.

    •  I would like to see more of that (0+ / 0-)

      And in particular, the promise I see is in being able to deliver really terrific content that meets the need of a particular student instead of what meets the need of 30 students in this geographic area.

      So far, I see little progress in that, in terms of rigorous courses that satisfy high school graduation and college entrance requirements. What I see so far is mostly lots of small ad-hoc efforts that a teacher could research and then independently pull into her classroom. That's exciting, but it's a lot of effort for even one course, let alone 5 or more, and further, few subject matter classrooms have enough computers to make it possible to instruct that way.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Mon May 28, 2012 at 06:14:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I guess Idaho, unlike California, must already (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gordon20024, JeffW

    have high speed internet to all its rural schools. Right? Because no one would vote for this without the essential infrastructure in place.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Mon May 28, 2012 at 05:49:55 PM PDT

  •  Technology does not make education cheaper. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Citizenpower

    Over time, I've moved from a position that computers weren't all that useful in schools to the idea that they can be a really useful and powerful tool for 4th graders and up.

    But: they aren't a panacea and they don't make education cheaper.

    Computers - even tablets - cost more than textbooks. And before you tell me that they can be reloaded with a new version as a cost saving measure, I'll tell you that before that can happen, you'll go through a new $100+ battery on anything portable. And the textbook companies are loving the idea of leasing their material instead of selling it, so that you're obligated to pay annually rather than stretching out textbooks a few extra years.

    Anything that needs to be plugged in needs an outlet. How many classrooms do you know of that were built to have an outlet at every desk? Many classroom buildings don't have enough total amperage to handle 30+ computers plugged in.

    Urban schools are generally wired for high speed internet; few rural schools are. This needs to happen - but it doesn't happen by magic. It takes money and it takes a real effort. We need to acknowledge it and fund it.

    And, once you have a network and a bunch of hardware, you need staff members dedicated to keeping it all running, and with a budget to replace hardware that breaks.

    The real benefit of computers is to allow individualized instruction in a classroom. This argues for smaller class size, not larger, to give the instructor time to work with each student and keep them on task and progressing.

    The idea that you can put 40 kids in a room in front of a computer with just say an aide and that they'll all magically be on task could only be held by someone who has never spent a week observing a public school.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Mon May 28, 2012 at 06:07:52 PM PDT

  •  2012 Meme: You don't have to guess what you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    will get with Mitt Romney.

    You lived through the Bush years and they are the same folks with the same ideas that put us into the ditch.

    The Muslim said "I wished I had met Christ before I met the Christians" - Rev. Marvin Winins

    by captainlaser on Mon May 28, 2012 at 06:45:53 PM PDT

  •  Another concept... with real potential (0+ / 0-)

    is the model presented by Khan Academy- free service from Bill Gates, et al.

    Wonderful instructional videos. I watched a few and the one on Natural Selection sold me. Also, remembering the quadratic equasion, I watched the video. I wish I had this resource when in college.

    Futuristic classroom: Teacher explains a concept. Students then watch the video. Teacher is there to assist those who don't understand.
    Whole class moves on to further topic.

    May seem overly simplistic but Khanacademy is pretty outstanding.

    Of course, requiring online "courses" presented by profit centers is absurd.

    "The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." ~ Thomas Paine

    by third Party please on Mon May 28, 2012 at 07:48:23 PM PDT

    •  I love it as a free resource (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      third Party please

      As an actual curriculum or as a replacement for textbooks, not so much.

      I have played with it myself and I have used it with my daughter. The questions asked by her school's curriculum are far more sophisticated than the computer generated questions from Khan Academy.

      I like to watch the videos - she does not. But even so, my experience is that the Khan Academy videos are pretty uneven. Some are good. Others are pretty insubstantial. Some are shallow for the alleged topic.

      Where I think it shines is in drill for simple math you can do in your head quickly. It's fun to play and the teacher doesn't have to grade it. They've also recently implemented some nice graphing tests.

      It's a great idea that will get greater as more time and resources are put into it to build it out. It's a fabulous place to go as an adult for a refresher. But it's a long long way from a replacement for textbooks and teachers.

      You might find this white paper of a pilot with Khan Academy interesting:

      They saw a 6.4% increase in the scores in a remedial algebra class using Khan...  compared to 5.2% for the control group. So it's not a magic bullet. The paper is worth reading because it discusses frankly the issues they had, the changes they'd make, and also talks a bit about their technology strategy and use of Google Chromebooks.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Mon May 28, 2012 at 11:52:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Couple of quotes from the paper: (0+ / 0-)
        We were surprised to find that students preferred to teach themselves or each other through the practice problems and hints rather than watching the Khan videos.
        Role of the Teacher
        The teacher was able to spend significantly more 1:1 time with students in the blended learning classroom than she was able to do in the traditional classroom. Watching these 1:1 interventions, we observed how easily misconceptions could be remedied with a few minutes of personalized instruction. Such interaction was made possible in part because of the Khan dashboard -­‐-­‐ the ability to individually monitor student progress and see inside the “black box” of student learning. However, we also observed how challenging it was for the teacher to adapt her practice and focus attention on student data rather than on student interactions. Teachers learning to effectively use data is crucial for success in the blended model. Overall, we saw the role of the teacher in a blended learning environment involve four key elements: (1) fostering a class culture of hard work and persistence, (2) monitoring students throughout the period for motivation and learning, (3) personalizing instruction and intervening when data shows that students are struggling, and (4) building personal relationships of trust and caring. Many of these elements are essential in traditional classrooms as well, but it was striking to note how much of the class period the teacher devoted to these four responsibilities in the blended classroom versus what happens in a typical classroom.
        Key takeaways:
        A five-­‐week pilot is not enough time to reach definite conclusions, but the project team observed that the quality and adaptability of online courses is a key factor of success. We also observed how important the teacher’s role remains. We hope teachers will continue to serve as leaders in the movement, embracing the chance to work more individually with each student, gaining more insight into each learner, and exploring all the potential new roles that teachers can play in the classroom. On the education technology front, better APIs are needed amongst the software providers to ease the integration of the variety of software solutions that will be used in schools. Finally, experimentation and innovation is still needed, as the movement is in its infancy and we have much to learn about how best to run blended learning classrooms and schools. However, as this paper details, the potential to individualize learning, increase efficiency, and give students more ownership over their learning are very exciting potentials of blended learning.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Mon May 28, 2012 at 11:57:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  K12 is the Borg of online education (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They are an ALEC company and their product is mediocre--not horrible but their student success rate is, well, less than the average for public education.

    Moreover, they buy up rivals not to acquire "talent" or improve their product, but simply to destroy the competition.

    Still, if a student has superior self discipline (as in, more than the majority of college students, much less high school), or the parents want to take a VERY active role in making sure their son or daughter stays current in his or her classes . . . on-line education does have its big advantages, such as flexible hours (not having to get up at oh-dark thirty every day) and not having to deal with bullies, etc.

    Telling, though, how the logo for K-12 looks like a fluorescent bug splatter? That's their symbol for crushing all competition. (/snark)

    Sometimes . . . I feel . . . like a redneck with chopsticks . . . Dreaming of squirrel while I'm sucking down squid . . .

    by Pale Jenova on Mon May 28, 2012 at 07:55:30 PM PDT

  •  The best teaching tool in the classroom is the (0+ / 0-)

    teacher. Computers can be useful but they don't run themselves and they are no substitute for good teachers, good textbooks and supportive parents.

    If you are learning in a classroom, then the dynamics make a difference as well. Is it safe? Is the teacher adequate?
    Is the student prepared? Are the tools adequate?
    There are so many variables that must be considered.

    Just throwing money at the problem doesn't produce a good learning experience although it can benefit the experience if money is a problem.

    One thing I learned from home schooling my child after sending her to school for many years, is that dedication and interest can go a long way towards creating a good learning environment when money and resources are limited.

    We should be looking at what successful schools do to educate their children and copy those attributes whenever possible.Why reinvent the wheel?
    I can't even begin to comment on the politics of education. Making children the center focus of education is primary.That should not have to be said.

  •  A link from students (0+ / 0-)

    who have noted a difference between what education used to be and the new testing craze:

    Read the comments to the editorial from oldest (page 4) to newest

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Tue May 29, 2012 at 10:33:11 AM PDT

  •  Opinion piece from a SE Idaho newspaper (0+ / 0-)

    This gives more details about Luna... follow the money.

    A side note: While running for a second term, Luna touted the gains that were made in standardized testing and to public schools in Idaho during his first term. Just after winning that election, he decried how horribly broken the schools were and how they could be fixed with his "new" plan, that was hidden from the voters until after the election. Fire teachers, give kids laptops and make them take online classes, leaving the school districts to figure out how to pay for and implement this plan.

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