from Wrench in the Gears
March 21, 2018
No, Ted Dintersmith is not coming to save our schools, because to him they’re obsolete. Last week Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post pitched Ted Dintersmith’s new book “What School Could Be,” and many ed-activists ate it up. I thought by now a “philanthropic” white male technocrat investor with absolutely no teaching experience coming on the scene to tell us how to fix our broken-on-purpose schools would be met with a healthy dose of skepticism. Dintersmith might say what we want to hear. His pitch might validate our concerns about punitive high-stakes standardized testing and the psychological damage caused by developmentally inappropriate education standards. He may criticize AP classes and the College Board; but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Consider his quote from a recent EdSurge article “the focus should really be on funding schools the produce future entrepreneurial adults, instead of entrepreneurial adults today funding obsolete schools.”
Dintersmith’s is the face of Ed Reform 2.0. The new paradigm for education he envisions replacing our “obsolete” schools with is one where:
Competency or mastery-based education is the norm.
Skills are uploaded to online portfolios via apps.
Mindsets and habits of work are tracked.
Children teach one another.
Students are expected to be “in charge” of their learning.
Teachers become “mentors;” or are even replaced by volunteers.
Out of school internships are prioritized.
Instruction may be outsourced to community or work-based organizations.
Students are expected to have a passion and a pathway to the workforce.
With such a model, bricks and mortar schools and certified teachers could wither away and eventually disappear.