The picture of the girl reading American Negro Poetry is from the Gates Foundation website. Getting the analog book into her hands undoubtedly cost the foundation quite a bit of money. She could, instead, use her smartphone to read comprehensively in the Negro poetry genre for free.
If you will go to the page where the girl is reading and click the picture, you will be cycled through some other classroom projects funded by Gates grants. The starfish dissection (one of the pictures) provides a strong illustration about how much more can be learned through subject websites than in a small classroom module. Sure, actually cutting up a dead starfish has dimensions the virtual experience may not, but wow: a student can learn a very great deal about starfish on a website like this one where there is even a video of a starfish dissection.
In what follows, I am committing the highest level of pedagogical heresy:
I do not understand why the Gates folks pour their support into this bottom line (from the page where the picture of the girl above appears):
“We believe that all students should graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college, career, and life.”
My italics in the sentence above capture the new trend: Do what it takes for all students to graduate from high school and then college. How long will this take! Obama has set the goal for 2020 — ten years from now.
Why not first get a smart phone to every student so they each can read the world’s poetry and virtually dissect starfish? Some of the students equipped and trained do that may miss the assessment credits pedagogues think they need to receive high school and college diplomas. But if youngsters now in school can learn online — not waiting for the halcyon days when all kids succeed in school — far more of them will be prepared to succeed in career and life.