In one of the most lucid and well written pieces in recent memory, Dr. Jim Taylor, Adjunct faculty, University of San Francisco, concludes that technology is not the answer to the current (made up) crisis in American public education. After taking apart the supposedly damning international tests that seem to show that U.S students have fallen behind their foreign counterparts, Dr. Taylor notes that it is poor students who are doing badly. American students who attend affluent suburban schools are doing quite well, thank you, and are not in need of another iPad or school-supplied laptop.
Of course, the $17 billion educational technology industry does NOT want you to understand this. Neither do the glad-handing phony politicians who show up for every photo-op when a new computer lab opens in a school. What will help poor kids and schools in poor areas do better? Very simple. Get the kids and their families out of poverty and fund the schools in a manner that allows them to offer the same programs that schools in wealthier areas offer.
In other words, if we want all kids, rich and poor, to do equally well, we need to reduce poverty, not make educational technology companies wealthier. We need to create decent jobs that allow people to support their families and we need to create an economy that has a healthy and growing middle class as well as a shrinking lower class. Right now, income inequity is at an all time high, poverty is at an all time high, and incarceration (of poor people) is at an all time high. Want better education? Getting it has nothing to do with technology.
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