NCEE and Learning Costs

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

In one of our favorite fun games, the main character must save a people from an evil, world dominator. The character must, however, purchase weapons and upgrades from the very people she’s trying to save. Fun game, really dumb concept, and easily fixed.

So what to make of the NCEE’s $20 Saveus proposal. Maybe this shouldn’t burn me so, but I’m a little worn over being cented to death. This is the same problem I have with cancer cures and heart transplants and the price of knowledge.

In any event, it seems to me that wages will begin to rise in India as cost of living and quality adjust in their economies. But I’m no economist so I could be wrong. Maybe I’m not a very good capitalist.

In another any event, I think the NCEE will be important reading, especially for those of us involved in new media curriculums. The NCEE proposes a system-wide overhaul, which I’ve clipped down:

1. A stiffer exam at the 10th grade built on international benchmarks
2. Better distribution of savings from #1
3. Top-third teacher recruiting; change compensation and retirement standards
4. Develop modernized standards of evaluation and assessment practices
5. Contractualize governance with direct teacher involvement and direct state funding
6. Universalize early ed
7. Equitize practice and finances so that the most needy don’t get left out
8. Provide current workers with access to new literacies
9. Fed should fund learning for current adults
10. Develop regional-based outcomes

Here’s a link to the Executive Summary of the report.

Going forward with such a system would demand the kind of high concept and system thinking not currently in vogue in our own national leaderships’ collective thought space. And I’d suggest that altering systems without bringing human-scale design to urban spaces will simply result in more disappointment.


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