"New York City is probably the UR-example of a creative city. It has always been about creating the substrate conditions on which innate aspirational energies could anchor and thrive," said Steven Hodas, tech entrepreneur now serving as Executive Director of InnovateNYC for the NYC Department of Education.
Maine is doing a lot right in education. The Maine Cohort for Customized Learning is a group of nine districts leading the way in meeting the needs of every student.
For many young people, placement exams are a hidden gateway in the system. Students often assume that with a high school diploma they can walk on to a community college campus and start working on a degree but they flunk the placement exam and end up in non-credit developmental education courses. That spells the beginning of the end of college for many young people. But that placement trap is beginning to close as states make the exams and preparation available in high school.
Contributions to free post-secondary learning opportunities have been breathtaking this year. Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have been around for a while but the number and variety of courses, the investment, and aggregate enrollment exploded this year.
Consultants asked, "Why haven't districts adopted blended learning faster?" I answered, "Because it's complicated."
It's usually true that there's nothing better than learning by doing, but sometimes simulation is better than the real thing. When it comes to life, physical, and earth science, simulation can compress time, connect tasks, and allow students to see multiple dimensions.
You've probably seen William J. Baumol's book, The Cost Disease, or you've read an Inside HigherEd column about how education and health care are labor intensive and have not seen the same kind of productivity gains as other sectors. Perhaps you heard Paul Hill and Marguerite Rosa talk about Baumol's disease, "The combination of rising costs and stagnant productivity are major problems in an environment where many children are not learning the skills they need and education is now not likely to receive sustained increases in public funding."
While there are millions of happy democrats this week, a critic sees a landscape "littered with rubble and ruin and wreckage on all sides" in an open letter to the President. Elections leave aggrieved poles, but I live in a much more optimistic place. In particular, I'm optimistic about five things.
Boston has been a leader in education for more than 400 years. Drawing from its existing network of universities, learning companies, innovation economy, and technical talent, there are more than 130 education technology and learning-oriented startups in the Boston area.
Most secondary students are bored and there aren't enough STEM graduates from college. These problems are related.