The "technology" piece was always the juicy center. Its the big nut of the privatization movement, make no mistake.....charters are a middle step for sure....the step beyond that is shedding the physical plants of schools. None if this should be new information. In fact the corporate interests have been quite legible about it. Look at every "disruptive" new business model out there in any sector....shrinking or killing off physical plants is right up there with shrinking or killing off traditional employment models. So that Cuomo and other political mouthpieces of corporate interest and "reform" making strides in this direction is not new, not a thing, and should shock no one. Classrooms managed by IT "professionals" (you know, to make sure the computers are working optimally), and legions of kids not actually in classrooms is the goal. Shrink the demands and needs of physical plants, and take $30-100k teachers out of the loop entirely....then you have room for risk-free, government paid PROFITS. Nothing new here.
As I commented awhile back on Diane Ravitch's blog:
Part of the problem with this manufactured necessity of technology in school is that we, as teachers, often buy into some of the fundamental lies. In our district, teachers clamor for a smartboard, etc etc etc etc under the pretense that it somehow DEEPENS the learning experience for students….a highly questionable notion when subjected to even modest amounts of rigorous thought. Nonetheless, being an earnest, eager, and enthusiastic lot for the most part, teachers, long accustomed to grabbing for any tool or aid, have also lunged for technology….without the requisite thinking. I would argue that a very firm “NO” from teachers on technology would have quite an impact. NO, I don’t want X, Y, or Z. No I will not teach via algorithm. NO, NO, NO. But, too often technology and its myths have become a norm because they were accepted nicely.
Perhaps what is needed is a counter-narrative coming from teachers that is a “return-to-authentic-roots” kind of thing. A return to the idea that with a teacher, some students, and a book, ignorance can be defeated and exposure to the enlightenment possible. A sort of artisanal classroom kind of thing, to appeal to all the Subaru driving parents who long for “authentic” food, clothes, homes, and experience everywhere else in their lives. Why is a Monsanto tomato bad and a Monsanto classroom for little Dylan good? “Technology in the classroom” is marketing-speak for a corporatized classroom, and we need to be the ones aggressively saying that. The problem is that we have to realize it first. We need to begin to understand that we need to create compelling counter-narratives. Certainly there is nobody else doing it for us! This is easy meat though for counter-narratives! Corporate food=bad. Corporate classroom where kids grow=good?? Come on. Too easy.
The entire thing of “technology in the classroom” is an invented need for an invented problem. The most astounding piece of evidence to this is the fact that, somehow, devoid of any technology save for pen, paper, book, art supplies, instruments, lab material, a library. etc, all of us born before 1990 had no technology to speak of and we (well alot of us, myself probably excluded) actually LEARNED. Shocking. We are evidence that technology in the classroom is a sham. However, that sham is only called out and destroyed if we attack its first principles and ideas.
I am not taking a Luddite position here, or a nostalgic one….but simply saying that learning is probably one of those landscapes of the human condition that does not require so much technological aid to participate in.
We, as always, need to look at ourselves as organized(ish) teachers FIRST. Lets assume that privatizers will act like privatizers, their politicians will act always in their corporate interests, and that federal prosecutors will always find less than enough evidence. Its on us on all levels.
Nothing to add here except the link to that NY Times story that detailed how many Masters of the Tech Universe in Silicon Valley send their kids to low-tech Waldorf schools and limit their children's use of technology at home.