Back to School, No ESEA, No Textbooks, Hold the Fries

1. Back to School report from new STEM school in LA: after 18 months of design work, the first week preoccupations included transportation, very low reading levels, and behavior of in coming 9th graders not used to a serious academic environment.
2. Back to School report from NYTimes Sharon Otterman pointing out Big Apple challenges and the lunacy of the $100M surplus teacher pool.
3. I’m afraid Rick Hess is right, hope for bipartisan reauthorization (which were alays optimistic) not likely to improve.  That’s why, as noted over the weekend, the RttT assessment grants last week are likely to be the frame for US education for a decade to come.
4. McNealy’s Curriki gets a big wet kiss from this NYTimes in this piece questioning $200 textbooks. Curriki has been well intentioned, but like lots of OER organic and unorganized.  Khosla’s CK12, also referenced in the Times story, is developing free high school textbooks—a nice but temporary contribution.  There is a role for curated content but eTextbooks/eReaders are transitional; without the limitations of print and need for tight narrative, there’s no reason for an electronic textbook.  They will be evolve into and replaced by adaptive curated content libraries.
5. EdReformer follow up piece on HMH iPad math app.
6. Oldest things for old guy on the road: reading menu in dark restaurant, then ordering chicken skewer and garden salad rather than burger and garlic fries.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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