Here Again: The Old Chestnut about Technology Increasing Student Achievement

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

There are many reasons why school boards buy hardware and software (see here)  still the old chestnut that “students will achieve more academically with ________ (put your device or software du jour here) lingers on in the minds of enthusiasts as a sweat-filled dream. Sure, vendors and consultants paid by high-tech companies produce “white papers” or research studies that tout gains in students’ academic performance. No longer authoritative reports, “white papers” have become marketing tools. Like sponsored advertising in the media, such “white papers” want to sell readers on the merits, not the complexities of either teaching or learning in using devices. And there are reports by professional associations that cherry pick individual studies.  Yet those policymakers, superintendents, district administrators, principals, and teachers who swear that their decisions are driven by evidence and research embrace a desert mirage whenever they  cite a “white paper” or say…

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Open Letters to Reformers I DON’T Know. Part IV: Arne Duncan

Gary Rubinstein's Blog

This is the sixteenth in a series of open letters I have written to reformers I know and, more recently, that I don’t know over the past two years.  Go here for links to the other letters and responses.

4/2/15

Dear Secretary Duncan,

Race To The Top was intended to improve education in this country by finally holding accountable the schools and the ‘adults’ who work in those schools — meaning the teachers — for their failure to get students to adequately grow academically.  ‘Ineffective’ teachers need to be identified and fired and ‘failing’ schools need to be identified and closed.  Unfortunately the entire program collapses without reliable metrics to judge which schools are truly ‘failing’ and which adults are truly ‘ineffective.’

To illustrate the issues with the accountability metrics that have been the trademark of your tenure, I’ve applied them to something you know intimately, your senior year Harvard basketball team…

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Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School cuts 43 jobs as enrollment falls

The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School is cutting 43 jobs out of roughly 700 full- and part-time positions as it restructures to deal with declining enrollment and increased competition from school districts offering their own online programs.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/8780430-74/cyber-enrollment-cutting#ixzz3hnjsrCFg
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