Is the push for education reform ever going to catch up with technological advances?

by Robert Maynard

Some liberal media outlets seem to be fearful of the supposed fast pace of education reform.  According to a recent Huffington Post article, Alabama is leading an education reform assault on our public school system:

Self-declared education reformers have had considerable success across the country over the past few decades, from charter school expansion and private school tuition vouchers to new limits on teachers’ job protections. But perhaps nowhere have the triumphs marked a bigger political upheaval than in Alabama, where the new Republican supermajority is dominating the state teachers’ organization that was long the epicenter of power.

Alabama Education Association chief Henry Mabry accuses Republicans of hurting public schools with changes to teacher tenure, tax breaks for private school tuition, and limits on AEA collecting dues through the state payroll system.

There seems to be an unspoken agenda to change the public education system to where it’s not even recognizable,” Mabry said. He called it “right out of the playbook” of a national movement to eviscerate government in favor of private and for-profit enterprises.

The hyperbole here is amazing.  Our current public education system is a dinosaur product of the Industrial Age that has barely been touched by the Information Age revolution.  If our public school system was keeping pace with the change in pedagogical techniques that the Information Age has brought about, it would have been unrecognizable a long time ago.  In 2009 Terry Moe  an John Chubb wrote a book entitled “Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics and the Future of American Education” in which they described the potential of the new informational technology to liberate learning.  The biggest obstacle is what they refer to as “The Politics of Blocking”.  That is the push back on the part of powerful political forces with an interest in maintaining the educational status quo.

A more recent look at the pace of pedagogical change was presented in this video:

More pedagogic change in 10 years than last 1000 years: Donald Clark at TEDxGlasgow