The first time I met with Joel Klein, the chief executive of Amplify and an executive vice president of News Corporation, he checked his e-mail on his phone a lot, even as we talked about the concern that technology isolates rather than connects people. I pointed this out, and he, in turn, expressed wonder that I don’t even allow the use of laptops in my classroom.
We were discussing his frequently stated view that education is “ripe for disruption.” Entrepreneurs sound boldly unconventional when they talk about disrupting an industry, but they also sound as if they’re willing to break something in order to fix it — or just to profit from it. Klein, who was chancellor of New York City’s public schools from 2002 to 2011, begins from the premise that our schools are already broken.
“K-12 isn’t working,” he said, “and we have to change the way we do it.” Citing global assessments that rank the United States well behind the leading countries in reading and math, he said: “Between 1970 and 2010 we doubled the amount of money we spent on education and the number of adults in the schools, but the results are just not there. Any system that poured in as much money as we did and made as little progress has a real problem. We keep trying to fix it by doing the same thing, only a little different and better. This is about a lot different and better.” <Read more.>