It’s About Innovation, Not ‘Privatization’

Edu-entrepreneur Joel Klein has a message for all of you haters: It’s about innovation, not privatization.

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.


 

10 Comments

  1. Thanks for another excellent article. Just want to point out that not only does the Amplify 4G interactive tablet with WiFi and technical assistance provided by AT&T remove the burden of eye contact between humans it also allows the teacher’s instructional time to be expanded exponentially as evidenced when the teacher is shown sending comments to his student from what looks to be a a coffee shop. All teaching all the time. What could be better ?

    1. Especially when you have 120+ students.

      These people have no sense of reality when it comes to public schools.

      And how many school districts or families can afford the monthly cost of “inter-connectivity”? Or the hardware?

      This world has completely turned upside down in terms of education…at least the US has.

  2. Corporations have one goal & one goal only. That is to bring a profit each quarter to it’s shareholders. That is the sole reason they exist. Joel Klein wouldn’t be where he is today if he didn’t know that. Of course he expects a return on his investment & that’s all that matters to him.

  3. I like the product but I can see the costs adding up rapidly. Each app, text and service will not be free. Also I noticed that the class had 22 students enrolled. A simpler way of improving schools is to reduce class sizes to high teens low 20’s and focus on skills rather than test scores. Just a thought.

  4. […] Here, Edushyster defends Joel Klein against the outrageous claim that Rupert Murdoch is trying to make a profit by selling lots of stuff to the schools. It’s all about collaboration. It’s all about replacing teachers with technology to help with budgetary issues. It’s all about reform. Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Categories For-Profit, Klein, Joel, Privatization, Technology, Computers […]

  5. Michael Fiorillo October 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    This form of “innovation” will have the same result as the “financial innovation” (mortgage securitization, CDO’s, credit default swaps, etc) practiced by Wall Street in the lead up to the 2008 financial crisis: rampant looting, social vandalism and the redistribution of wealth upward.

    Mission Accomplished.

  6. Kids don’t want to read textbooks online. They want to listen to music, facebook and play games. So is motivation built in?
    I remember my high school years. I didn’t think ANYTHING I learned was relevant. I can’t remember one class or teacher. I was in elementary from K-7. I think that’s where I learned the most because I didn’t know any better and wanted a good report card. I loved getting my test scores back and the teacher telling me I read at a 12th grade level. To me, the Iowa test was a competition that I wanted to ace for my own personal satisfaction.
    But high school was a place I had to be until I could go home and do what I thought was important: listening to rock and roll, writing poetry, raising fish and mice, riding my bike, playing baseball in the street, reading tons of books I chose, going to the park, camping, fishing, making my own games out of scrap, talking on the phone, watching hockey, laying in the grass and listening to Ernie Harwell,swimming, ice skating, exploring the woods,board games, cards, writing to my 25 pen pals from all over the world, taking the bus downtown with 10 cents in my pocket, and whatever else I dreamed up.

  7. Another great piece; you’re knocking them out of the park!

    Here’s a follow-up: Joel Klein is a massive hypocrite who constantly questions the motivations of teachers and unions.

    http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2012/10/joel-klein-on-fainting-couch.html?spref=tw

  8. Don’t you just love the part where the parent is given “the opportunity” to buy an app that supports her kid’s education? If that isn’t a red flag calling Joel Klein a liar, I don’t know what is. At these prices, you’d think that supplemental materials would be included for free, but alas the company that is “not so concerned with profit” will nickel and dime you. It makes sense that not only kids are targets of these corporations since today’s generation of parents grew up on digital products themselves.

  9. […] turns out to be fiction too. But the ending, where Klein takes a job working for Rupert Murdoch, peddling edu-products to the public schools while playing the part of a high-minded innovator, that alas is all too […]

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