CW2K Formal Debate
As in Chapbook:

I (tednellen) also speak for the affirmative. I don't believe that technology is ruining the classroom, but that it is the classroom which is ruining education. If possible I want to raze the classroom and use technology to raise education. As a high school teacher of many years, I don't think reform is about teachers anymore. It is about the texts and the tests, the two things which have a strangle hold on the advancement of education. Teachers are between the rock and the hard place. Eliminate the text and the test and then something will happen. The Internet has great possibilities of helping us hold the textbook makers and the test makers accountable and to offer alternatives to the status quo. I want to put the teacher back in control and remove the outsiders who are messing up education. The Internet is a way this can be done, although the presumption is always the opposite. The current mess of texts and tests is vertically driven, commercially and politically controlled, with standards offered as the goal. But the standards of the elite and a way to control the pecking order and classrooms lend themselves to this too easily. The classroom does not offer freedom; it is the dangerous place. Change that and then education will happen. After many years of teaching I strongly believe that the classroom is the box, the coffin, the 2 dimensional, the limited, the cage, the cell that has outlived its usefulness. The affirmative position in this debate offers me the opportunity to present my point of view as an experienced high school teacher in a large metropolitan area.

Notes: adlibbed

Wed, May 24, 2000, NYTimes: unschooling, deschooling, eclectic schooling, organic schooling, and relaxed home schooling.
*respond to child's talents and interests: Armstrong's _AwakeningGenius_ from Gardner's theories on Multiple Intelligences.
*home schooling began in 80 with right upset with left bent of liberal public school. Now the furor is over the over regimentation.
*home schooling accounts for 3% and growing at rate of 7-15% a year faster than school pop.

Another report a couple of weeks ago showed the dropout rate from school esp high school climbing because ofte high failure rate on the school exit high stakes exams.

In this country public education is controlled and policy is directed by 50 white men. They are the governors of the states. Since 1989, they have met three times in closed meetings todiscuss with business leaders not padagogues the direction of educaion . They have been guided by textbook and test makers in making the educational policies for their respective states.

So what is happening is there is a quiet revolution beginning:
1. unschooling
2. boycotts of tests by students
3. student dropout rate is increasing.
4. perhaps the demise of public ed via vouchers, charters etc...

Solution is to use the Internet to achieve national curriculums via the teachers who teach. We have seen just in the CyberEnglish course how education can be organic. Teachers around the country use the model and adapt it to their students' needs and to the needs of the community. Let's call it reschooling.

The idea is to borrow some from the business world: have the kids come to a school, we shall continue with this name for now, and go tho their desks and stay there all day. Of course they stepout for lunch and go to the gym and to other places to do work, but essentially they have their own space. Teachers and mentors, and telementors come to them by visiting the rooms in which these scholars gather or via the Internet in synchronou and asynchronous manners. The business of education becomes community oriented or organic and pedagogiclly grounded.


The teacher is not godlike and decision making shouldn't be vertical, it should be horizontal. Decisions should be made by those most directly involved: teachers, students, parents, administrators, the community. And it isn't about the tools, either. Open Source provides some avenues of non-dependency. Virtual environment allows for wider range and many levels of multi-media presentation. It allows for diversity.

In this era of e-, remember education is already an "e" word.