Thursday, March 17, 2011

technology and intelligence

Via the Washington Post:
More than three-quarters of the nation’s public schools could soon be labeled "failing" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the Obama administration said Wednesday as it increased efforts to revamp the signature education initiative of President George W. Bush.

The projection from Education Secretary Arne Duncan amounted to a declaration that the school-ratings revolution Bush began nearly 10 years ago is itself in jeopardy because the law has become unworkable. President Obama is pushing to loosen accountability rules for most schools but crack down harder on the worst.
In other words the strategy of standardized testing our way toward school supremacy is a complete disaster by its own measure.

In the meantime, this article is interesting Is Your Baby Computer-Savvy? 80 Percent Are! Then, as a point of further reference, do some of my readers remember the article "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" by Nicholas Carr? If the thrust of technology were to make us really as smart as we think we are when using technology, wouldn't we expect kids, starting on the internet at ages 0-5 in such numbers to be measurably smart in schools? Perhaps Carr is right. Internet technology is not making us as smart as we think we are.

I continue to monitor the unfolding tragedy in Japan with a very heavy heart. Today in the wood shop, I'll continue making small boxes. I have a conversation in the afternoon to launch the production of a Small Cabinet Making DVD, and then I need to work on being ready for classes on Monday when the students return from spring break. It is a busy life. I make lots of mistakes. In the wood shop, small errors are often compounded into larger ones, and I learn that my own faulty judgments about the fit of things, and the potential failure of things is human nature. When we, as a nation, or a culture, attempt to do far greater things and more dangerous things without the accompanying remembrance of all the things that can go wrong, we live in arrogance that leads to inevitable disaster. Today, there are brave men in Japan, forming a low-tech line of fire hoses, having taken matters of the meltdown into their own brave hands. My own prayers are in honor of their courage and sacrifice.

The term "sustainable development" came from the UN's Bruntlandt Commission of 1987 and was stated as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Years ago, people asked me why I chose not to use imported exotic woods. It was because I could not watch them grow and thereby be assured of their future. We must get to the point from which those who consume also make what they consume from renewable resources about which we can be completely assured the use of which will not deprive future generations of their use. With that be painful? Can it be more painful than what the Japanese people already face? Will it require change? Yes. But the changes which will be required are those which build community and create lives of deeper meaning.

Make, fix and create.... get in touch with your own sustaining power.

1 comment:

Chris Sagnella said...

Humble and inspiring. The heart that flows from Arkansas is flowing into the hearts of us at CT's Hamden Middle School. Your words reinforce my own ideas as well as enhance my desire to be a good teacher.

-Chris