Margaret Spellings is under fire
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings\nis under fire. Not only is the Department of Education dealing with the Reading\nFirst corruption scandal, challenges to the reauthorization\nof NCLB, and blowback from the recommendations\nof the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, apparently Secretary\nSpellings also is receiving heat from members of Congress and others for the Department's\nproposal to cut all educational technology funding at a time when many folks\nare quite concerned about America's ability to remain globally competitive (see,\ne.g.., A nation\nleft behind on ed tech?).\n\n\n
What's Spellings' solution to her ed tech problem? Well, according to one of\nmy well-connected sources inside Washington, she seems to be setting up a series\nof invite-only 'ed tech\nroundtables' to talk about educational technology issues. Her first one was\nin March in New York. She\nsaid that she met with some of the 'leading minds in technology and education,'\nbut two of the three people she listed, Wendy\nKopp of Teach for America and New York City\nSchools Chancellor Joel\nKlein, aren't obvious fits for that label and many of\nthe other participants seemed to either be government types or corporations.\nShe did hear from a few K-12 educators about their uses of digital\ntechnologies.\n
My inside source's biggest concern is that the major ed tech organizations \nISTE, CoSN, SETDA,\nNACOL, many of the foundations, etc. are\nbeing completely left out of the conversation. These groups have done an awful\nlot to further the cause of K-12 educational technology. At some point one hopes\nthat they will have an opportunity to participate in these roundtables.\nMoreover, Secretary Spellings likely has some purpose in mind for these\ndiscussions. The last time she did this kind of thing it resulted in the Commission on\nthe Future of Higher Education, which immediately made most postsecondary\ninstitutions quite unhappy. Is she planning a similar group for K-12 educational\ntechnology?
Another issue that will be of concern to many is her seeming interest in\ntechnology for data collection purposes, not for pedagogical purposes. As a\nparticipant in the first roundtable said, "She was especially interested\nin the role of technology in collecting data about kids and their achievement\nlevels." If students truly are to become globally competitive workers,\nattention must be given to effective classroom technology usage that helps\nstudents learn, be creative, and become collaborative problem-solvers.\nTechnology to collect performance data on yearly, summative, standardized tests\nof basic skills isn't going to cut it.\n
The biggest challenge for Spellings is that her rhetoric doesn't coincide\nwith her actions. She says that\nunderfunding of technology in schools is a big problem, but the Department's\nfailure to fund the federal Enhancing Education Through\nTechnology (EETT) program gives her statements no credibility. The federal\nTechnology Innovation\nChallenge Grant program, the Technology Literacy\nChallenge Fund, the Preparing Tomorrow's\nTeachers to Use Technology (PT3) program, the Community Technology\nCenters, and the Regional Technology in\nEducation Consortia they are all gone. The only thing left is EETT, and\nnow the feds have proposed zeroing out that budget yet again.
If you're an educational technology advocate, it is time to spread the word\nabout what's occurring (e.g., link to this post!), express your concerns to\npoliticians and policymakers, and educate those around you about what the issues\nare and what potential responses might be. Although it's not quite clear what\nSecretary Spellings is doing with these roundtables, the notable absence of the\ned tech organizations and a seeming emphasis on NCLB-related technologies is of\nat least some concern. And of course the biggest concern of all is the fact that\nthe U.S. Department of Education, under Secretary Spellings' watch,\nkeeps trying to walk away from our children's technologically-suffused\nfuture. I wish it weren't so, but it's hard to interpret the facts\nany other way.\n
Be informed. Be proactive, not reactive. Get involved.\n
Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.
- Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
- Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
- "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Learn how to redesign your job for maximum reward.
- Broaching the question "What is my purpose?" is daunting – it's a grandiose idea, but research can make it a little more approachable if work is where you find your meaning. It turns out you can redesign your job to have maximum purpose.
- There are 3 ways people find meaning at work, what Aaron Hurst calls the three elevations of impact. About a third of the population finds meaning at an individual level, from seeing the direct impact of their work on other people. Another third of people find their purpose at an organizational level. And the last third of people find meaning at a social level.
- "What's interesting about these three elevations of impact is they enable us to find meaning in any job if we approach it the right way. And it shows how accessible purpose can be when we take responsibility for it in our work," says Hurst.
Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.
- The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
- The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
- While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.
PAUL RATJE / Contributor
- This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
- UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
- TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.