Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Bad School Improvement Plan - Computer Version

Running an effective school is a lot like building an airplane.  Ignore the laws of aerodynamics when building a plane and you will end up as a greasy spot in a field.  Ignore the fundamentals of effective schools and you will squander the future of scores of students.  The sad thing is that since there isn’t a big crash, though bad school improvement plans are a big risk to students, they are adopted all to frequently because they represent almost no risk to the adoptee.

Delivering quality, effective instruction to a classroom of students is the second most labor-intensive endeavor known to man. With good parenting being the first. In spite of this fact, “replace the teacher” school improvement plans keep re-surfacing, even though they DO NOT work.

Over the next two posts we will look at the two common version of this figurative “bad penny.”

Bad Plan Number 1

Many school improvement plans are built around the concept of replacing the teacher with a computer.  Do know, the only people who truly think this is a good idea are the people who make money selling computer hardware and software and people who know nothing about instructional delivery.  These program advocates may even show how their magic program really improves student performance.  This is simply a case of lies, damn lies and statistics.  Yes, there are some students who complete the computer tasks rapidly and satisfactorily, but that is a specific type of student.  It is the student who can read at the 6th grade level or higher and is motivated to complete the work.

The proponents will sometimes claim that by putting this group of students in front of the computer it will allow the teacher to better teach the more difficult to reach students and hence, decrease the achievement gap.  But I would argue that any plan to close the achievement gap by under-teaching a group of students is misguided at best and a cynical money grab at worst.  

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

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