My blogging here has slowed down because I am working on finishing an eBook about handschooling. Hopefully, I can make it available here before the end of September.
Today, though, I must respond to the inexcusable arrogance about bribing educators with tax money that Obama showed yesterday in his press conference. I cannot find the transcript online, but recall his bragging about over 40% of states are working on innovations for failing schools because the feds are dangling prize money for what they call Race to the Top.
Even on the most fortunate and accelerated schedule, any improvement from these innovations will be years away and will affect only a few students. Obama is not offering a solution to education failures. He is beginning the federal government take over of American education.
The working title of the book I am writing is: Taking schooling into your own hands: Tools and tips for kids caught in the education mess. So how can kids do that?
I think just one first step can do more in a few months than the specious Race to the Top could do in years. Here is what I wrote today for the eBook about that first step:
As a student who is entering the second decade of the 21st century, you can make a key move toward taking your schooling into your own hands by owning and using a mobile device that browses the internet. Doing so connects you into the open online network of the sum total of what is known by humankind. You can click into a webpage about mammals and follow links to study rodents or primates. You can connect to the Perseus Library to study classic literature. You can visit what humankind has thought about the cosmos and and what we are learning about the nano world. Whatever may be happening in your analog schooling, you will have a way to really learn anything you want to learn.
If you are too young to navigate the internet yet, you can use your mobile to practice skills with flashcards and other apps. Doing so will give you understanding and practice in writing with a keyboard.
The tipping factor that will transform failing schools and schooling may well be as simple as providing every individual student with personal mobile access to the internet. It is absurd instead to be pouring millions of dollars toward states to incentivize new ideas.
We do not need states racing to the top of a federal money pile. We should put each student on top of knowledge by putting a smartphone into his hands.
Does your daughter? granddaughter? have her own mobile internet browser? What about other people’s children in you area? The old saying tells us that we save one child at a time. Each kid who has what is known in his own hands is intellectually armed for the his 21st century future.