"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, March 06, 2015

Kevin Carey Suggests Credentialing Teachers with Electronic Merit Badges

With his latest offering at the NY Times, I would argue that Kevin Carey has finally unseated Marc Tucker as the king of crackpot education reform ideas. 

Carey has a new book to sell, and obviously he believes that the more outrageous and demented the content, the more books he is likely to ship.  Of course, if he comes up with something really crazy that will appeal to Gates and Broad and the other efficiency zealots of CorpEd, then it doesn't matter if anyone else buys it. 

Enjoy this riff that Carey tears off when talking about replacing the best university system in the world with the new MOOC-versity.  For all the good teachers without degrees.  Personally, I want a merit badge for psychiatry; I have some recommendations to treat Carey's repeated thought disorders.
Most important, traditional college degrees are deeply embedded in government regulation and standard human resources practice. It doesn’t matter how good a teacher you are — if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, it’s illegal for a public school to hire you. Private-sector employers often use college degrees as a cheap and easy way to select for certain basic attributes, mostly the discipline and wherewithal necessary to earn 120 college credits.

Free online courses won’t revolutionize education until there is a parallel system of free or low-fee credentials, not controlled by traditional colleges, that leads to jobs. Now technological innovators are working on that, too.

The Mozilla Foundation, which brought the world the Firefox web browser, has spent the last few years creating what it calls the Open Badges project. Badges are electronic credentials that any organization, collegiate or otherwise, can issue. Badges indicate specific skills and knowledge, backed by links to electronic evidence of how and why, exactly, the badge was earned.

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