Philadelphia has opened a Microsoft-designed School of the Future iin a poor, black neighborhood, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The school will have few books but laptops for all, plasma screens, smart cards that open lockers, sinks that turn on automatically and teachers hand-picked by the principal.
And the same, old “project-based” curriculum, notes D-Ed Reckoning, who predicts it will end in tears.
A Reuters story quotes the principal:
Traditional education is obsolete and fails to teach students the skills of problem-solving, critical thinking and effective communication, which they need to succeed in the 21st century, principal Shirley Grover said in an interview.
“It’s not about memorizing certain algebraic equations and then regurgitating them in a test,” Grover said. “It’s about thinking how math might be used to solve a quality-of-water problem or how it might be used to determine whether or not we are safe in Philadelphia from the avian flu.”
This is the “worst and most mindless same old crap,” writes Right Wing Prof.
Of course, what this brain-dead principal misses — what all educrats who spout the “higher level thinking” line miss — is that you can’t do those things until you’ve memorized those algebraic equations and regurgitated them on a test. What part of that is so hard for these idiots to understand? Oh but wait, because the students are really drinking the kool-aid:
D-Ed Reckoning piles on in a second post.
Here’s the part I don’t understand. If the kids were really developing super higher-order thinking brains with these new-fangled progressive teaching techniques why are they unable to use those super brains to solve algebraic equations on a simplistic multiple choice exam? Why are they unable to higher-order think their way to the correct answers on lower-order basic skills exams?
I like one thing about the principal’s attitude: She claims no excuses will be made if students don’t learn. The school has the resources, she says. But it’s possible to waste resources. In fact, it’s common. What matters is what’s written on those interactive white boards.