In this post, which originally appeared on the Getting Smart blog, guest blogger Tom Vander Ark analyzes Paul T. Hill’s paper, “School Finance in the Digital-Learning Era,” the latest installment in Fordham’s Creating Sound Policy for Digital Learning series. Click here for his analysis of “Teachers in the Age of Digital Instruction.”
The second paper released yesterday deals with the digital learning implications for school finance. Author Paul Hill leads the Center for Reinventing Public Education. His work over the last two decades has done more to shape my views about how to design delivery of public education than any other scholar. Like the Hassels’ paper, the recommendations presented in School Finance in the Digital-Learning Era are well aligned with the recommendations of Digital Learning Now.
Dr. Hill lays out in some detail all the ways that the current haphazard system is “stacked against innovation.” Rather than tinkering, Paul suggests that states should “start from scratch and create a new school-funding system.” He suggests a central design principal, “Make funding for education follow the child to any school or instructional program in which he or she enroll.”
He recommends that a technology-friendly funding system would need to:
- Fund education, not institutions
- Move money as students move
- Pay for unconventional forms of instruction, and
- Withhold funding for ineffective programs without chilling innovation.
Digital Learning Now recommends that funding should
Yesterday, the Fordham Institute released the latest papers in its Creating Sound Policy for Digital Learning series, including Bryan and Emily Hassel’s “Teachers in the Age of Digital Instruction.” Digital learning is often portrayed as a threat to the teaching profession, swapping teachers for computers in order to cut budgets. The reality, the authors argue, will be both more complicated and rewarding for educators:
We have little doubt that the digital future will transform education. But rather than an either-or decision between technology and teachers, we propose that digital education needs excellent teachers and that the teaching profession needs digital education.
Today Fordham is releasing the latest installments in our Creating Sound Policy for Digital Learning series, offering a glimpse at what the digital future may hold for teachers and school finance—and addressing potential pitfalls on the way to realizing that promise. In one paper, “Teachers in the Age of Digital Instruction,” Bryan and Emily Hassel argue that the growth of digital learning should greatly alter the roles and compensation of educators—although not necessarily at the expense of teachers—by “unbundling” their responsibilities. In the other, “School Finance in the Digital-Learning Era,” Paul T. Hill warns that the outdated way we fund schools threatens to cripple innovation in online education. Taken together, today’s publications present an appealing, 21st-century approach to education—a future threatened by our existing approaches to teaching and school funding. Be sure to check out Flypaper over the coming days as experts post their reactions to the release; for now, download and explore the papers yourself.
Fordham released two important papers today as part of the Creating Sound Policy for Digital Learning series. The first, Teachers in the Age of Digital Instruction, is by the co-directors of Public Impact. Bryan and Emily Hassel are the Malcolm Gladwells of education—they point to profound truths hiding in plain sight. In short, this is the best current description of the implications of digital learning on learning professionals.
The Hassel’s primary assertion is that in the age of digital learning, “Teacher effectiveness may matter even more than it does today.” I buy the argument that edtech will increasingly build basic skill but they run the risk of being trapped in a Rocketship Education rut—tech does easy stuff, teachers promote critical thinking. That’s one currently useful pattern, but innovative delivery models are advancing other alternatives.
Their conclusion that “The elements of excellent teaching that are most difficult for technology to replace will increasingly differentiate student outcomes,” may be projecting a bit of the individual practitioner past into a team based design-centric future.
The Hassels write about the implications for individuals but I’m a fan of design thinking—systems and cultures matter more than individual effort. Rick Ogsten has good teachers, but Carpe
About the Editor
Michael J. Petrilli
Executive Vice President
Mike Petrilli is one of the nation's foremost education analysts. As executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, he oversees the organization's research projects and publications and contributes to the Flypaper blog and weekly Education Gadfly newsletter.
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