When it comes to the best way to turn around our disastrous public schools virtually everyone who is anyone agrees: the schools need “stuff,” lots and lots of “stuff.” But the question remains: what kinds of edu-products should we use to fill in the achievement gap? In other words, once we’ve finally freed up all those edu-bucks by getting rid of the LIFO lifers with their outrageous salaries and benefits, what cool products should we spend the money on? The possibilities are limitless.
Reader, I’d like to introduce you to a product pioneer. His name is Joel Klein and he is on the job 24/7 thinking about the edu-stuff that will FINALLY turn around our failing schools. If you notice that he looks VERY relaxed in the picture above, that is because Mr. Klein and his colleagues at Amplify, the edu-products division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, have already solved this challenging conundrum. Drum roll please. The answer is: An interactive 4G tablet, with WiFi and technical assistance provided by AT&T. OMG, are they serious??? Let’s watch the promotional video together (I’ll be watching mine on an interactive 4G tablet):
I got a little dizzy from all of the interactivity but I did catch the part where the tablet instantly recognizes who you are, what you’re studying, what your homework is and even when it’s due—sort of like a teacher only more interactive… Nor did I find it at all creepy that none of the students depicted here or their teacher/tutor (isn’t it cool that he could be either???) ever make direct eye contact with another human.
OK then—we can all go home, right? Not so fast. You see whenever a visionary (Joel Klein) offers an innovative solution (4G interactive tablet with WiFi and technical assistance provided by AT&T) to a complex problem (bad teachers who earn too much money despite being less interactive than a 4G tablet) the haters pile on.
They toss around the dreaded ‘p’ word, privatization, which Mr. Klein assures us in his blog is not a remotely accurate depiction of the role of his company. Au contraire, reader. Amplify is all about “working closely with teachers, principals, students, and parents to ensure that the products and services we’re creating truly enhance teaching and learning.” As in: you know what goes great with 36 kids in a class? 36 4G interactive tablets with WiFi and technical support provided by AT&T!
What’s that haters, you’re still not buying it? You think that Mr. Klein is nothing more than a glorified snake oil salesmen peddling techno gimmickry to schools in order to sop up tax payer money? Jeez, go easy on the brother, haters! It turns out Mr. Klein doesn’t think much of you either:
The critique that really ignites a response in me, however, is the idea that education companies are motivated only by money. Like any other business that invests its capital to develop and market products or services, educational businesses need to secure a return on their investment. But there are no guarantees for educational entrepreneurs, just like there are no guarantees in other fields. You take a risk and hope for a return. But that doesn’t mean that entrepreneurs are motivated solely by profit. If you have any doubts about that, just ask the people at Facebook or Twitter, who surely want to change the world (but won’t be able to unless they can provide their investors a return). This kind of attack on motive—i.e., that profits are all that innovators care about—is not only wrong, it’s frankly deeply offensive.
I agree with Mr. Klein here. You see, it’s deeply offensive for you haters to imply that his company, which was created for the express purpose of tapping into the multi-billion dollar public education market only cares about profits. You obviously have a lot to learn and I suggest that you get started ASAP by purchasing an Amplify 4G interactive tablet with WiFi and technical assistance provided by AT&T.