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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Innovation is now impossible in high school curriculum. Thank you Bill Gates.

It is has always been frustrating to work on trying to improve education. No one really likes to see changes in anything they are used to. I have written about this over the years but now I am really angry. Who am I angry at? Bill Gates.

I have finally been able to come close to producing a very novel solution to some of what ails education. I am a year away form launching an on line mentored learn by doing computer science high school. What this means is that that after four years in this high school students will be immediately employable in the software industry. (They could still got to college or do something else, but they would be at a professional level in programming.)

Can I launch this school? No.

At least not in the United States. Why not? Because of Bill Gates (ironically).

Bill Gates has championed the Common Core standards movement in the U.S. And now, one by one, each state is moving towards adopting it, which means there will be no innovation in the high school curriculum in any way. A school like the one I am building cannot exist in the U.S. because it wouldn’t meet the Common Core standards, which are all about the facts everyone should know which were decided upon by the Committee of Ten in 1892.

A new, modern, learning by doing high school that doesn’t teach algebra or literature? Not possible. Teach students to build mobile applications rather than memorize facts about history? Not possible. Teach students to how to launch a business on the internet rather than to memorize physics formulas? Not possible.

Fortunately there are other countries in the world.

Are you proud of what you have created Mr. Gates? No innovation is possible now in high school in the U.S. and you did it.


(If anyone who knows a state where what I am saying  is not true, please let me know.)


Helen said...

I think there are 5 states left that haven't adopted Common Core: Alaska, Texas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Virginia.

Anonymous said...

States not requiring achievement of common core standards for hs diploma all have standards as rigorous, if not more so in some cases, than the common core states:
Alaska: Standards are very similar to common core standards.
Minnesota: Standards more stringent than Alaska.
Nebraska: Standards very similar to common core (and apparently based on common core).
Texas and Virginia: Same as the others.

Heather said...

However the homeschooling community might be very interested in what you are offering. You could probably become a certified vendor for the IEM charter schools.
Though the high school level is a little more complex.
And once companies start hiring employees that don't have common core "knowledge" that trend will hopefully fall apart.

Helen said...

Have you looked at the Common Core standards for Science? They are not about memorizing a list of anything. It is about clarity in thinking and communication: the subject matter is wide open. I recommend you take a look, because it is possible that with some tweaking, your program will be very welcome in some districts. Science educators really need some good techniques to reach students and help them think deeply regarding the discipline.

comfortstarr said...

Well Helen, you still have stuff like this for 9th graders:

"Write expressions in equivalent forms to solve problems
3. Choose and produce an equivalent form of an expression to reveal and explain properties of the quantity represented by the expression.
a. Factor a quadratic expression to reveal the zeros of the function it defines."

One would have to work backwards to figure out how to make that a specific action that's necessary when creating, for example, a mobile app. I'm out of my league programming-wise, but I sense it's not particularly useful. Now, there are, of course, many many more like what I copied.

The issue is: the vast majority of kids probably will NEVER need to know much of what is required (at least in the math standards).