Friday, September 30, 2011

Public Education: Improvement Begins Now

Tech, teachers, and innovation.

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So far in this blog, I've limited myself to topics on which I have some expertise, experience, and comfort: economics, tax policy, management. Over the next few weeks, I'll lay out some thoughts on a topic for which I am a consumer but have no specific expertise.

Public education is a public good: the costs are borne by all and the benefits accrue to all -- consumers (students and parents), society, and employers. There are more than 14,000 public school districts in the United States.  Recently I've been talking to neighbors who send their kids to public schools and some who teach in or advise public schools.

As I said above, I offer no experience on public education other than as a consumer: I am a product of public school from Kindergarten through graduate school and my kids attend public school. My parents were educators in public schools and my father was an officer of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Education Association, a local affiliate of the 3-million-member National Education Association teachers' union.

There have been lots of policy initiatives at the federal government level.  But now's the time to plan and implement. You're probably saying to yourself, "C'mon, Mark, not another lecture on management." Well, not a lecture. But from what I'm hearing and seeing, there's a shortage of planning and implementation.

So I'm going to focus on three areas in three upcoming blogs: technology implementation, teacher professional development, and content delivery. The short story ...
  • Tech is cheap, so why don't more teachers know how to use it effectively?
  • Teachers need to learn too, so what's stopping them?
  • 1+1=2, so why reinvent the wheel?
Those are the teasers ... more to come.