Enough is enough. Let’s focus on helping teachers teach.
I take the train to work in downtown Pittsburgh. Most mornings I’m catching up on email, mapping out my day, or FaceTime’ing with my amazing daughter who is in college a few time zones away and gets up early. But recently I made the mistake of jumping on social media first thing in the morning. It’s almost always a bad idea, for so many reasons, but this morning was particularly dreadful.Why? Well, I read this article in the New York Times. It started with the title, “Why This Tech Executive Says Her Plan to Disrupt Education Is Different.” After years working in K-12, it already sounded like a punchline. Before reading it, I could almost imagine the “Tech Executive” continuing with the title by saying, “No really, I mean it — this is really, really different!” Needless to say, I’ve read dozens of such articles over the years and have yet to find that elusive magic bullet that will somehow usher in a new era of learning.
It sounds good on the surface, right? “Ms. Wu and her team believe they are starting an education revolution. They say they have created a new model for teaching children … that promises to prepare them to become the architects of — rather than mere participants in — a future world.” The article goes on to point out that many such endeavors, often coming from Silicon Valley, haven’t delivered: “In recent years, schools and education programs have been founded by Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla; Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix; and Marc Benioff, the founder of Salesforce. Despite glittering launches and promises to disrupt education, schools founded by tech executives have yet to demonstrate success.”This latest iteration of the next-big-thing has a lot going on — no uniforms, no desks, no traditional grades, classrooms re-named studios, pitch deck training, and more. But here’s the thing — if we really want to disrupt traditional K-12 education, we already know what works. Research has documented it again and again and seasoned teachers will say the same things:
The list goes on.
So here’s what I’d like to propose: let’s stop looking for the shiny thing that focuses on getting edtech investors, many of whom have no education or research experience, excited. Instead, let’s focus on what we know works, empower teachers to prioritize that kind of learning, and then have the collective will as a society to make it happen. And yes, that most certainly includes investing in teachers like never before. No excuses.
Perhaps then I could start enjoying my commute again.
I’d love to hear from you because, you know, I’m just one person and can’t ramp up this conversation on my own.
John serves as Carnegie Learning’s Chief Marketing Officer, which means he’s focused on sharing the Carnegie Learning Way with the world and challenging the status quo in K-12 education. As a leader at Carnegie Learning, John is passionate about building a collaborative, team-based culture, with the goal of making it the kind of company we’ve all always wanted to work for.Explore more related to this author
Let’s stop looking for the shiny thing that focuses on getting edtech investors, many of whom have no education or research experience, excited. Instead, let’s focus on what we know works, empower teachers to prioritize that kind of learning, and then have the collective will as a society to make it happen. And yes, that most certainly includes investing in teachers like never before.
John Jorgenson, CMO, Carnegie Learning