Friday, January 11, 2008

Digital Fix - Part III "Achievement Gap"

Classroom Technology’s Failure to Help Close the Achievement Gap

Right Tool
My wife has struggled in vain for 16 years to convert me into something resembling a handyman. At one juncture, she decided the problem stemmed from a lack of equipment in my undersized toolbox and the cure was readily available at the neighborhood hardware store. After spending hundreds of dollars on the best tools and getting a crash course from my father-in-law, I am still affectionately known as Mr. Can’t Fix-it.

Public Education has a similar moniker when it comes to closing the achievement gap. By failing to provide equitable learning outcomes regardless of socio-economic status, our schools are condemning another generation of children to repeat the cycle of poverty. In 1960, annual public school expenditures totaled $94,685,000,000 and costs per year steadily increased to $430,600,000,000 by 2002. During that 42 year period, the entire amount spent on public education exceeded six trillion dollars (Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2004-2005, p. 135) in an effort to afford all students the opportunity to become productive members of society.

Sadly, public education cannot fix it. At least not with the beat up old hammer teachers have been swinging in the classroom. What education needs is a shiny new toolbox.

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