Something about the NYTimes doesn’t compute


There has been much uproar over the recent series of education articles published by the New York Times, Grading the Digital School. At first I didn’t think much of the articles because I was unaware that it was part of a series aiming to access the benefits of technology in education. However, after this last Sunday’s article, A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute, it became very clear that the NYT has an anti-edtech agenda and the conclusions that it draws are inaccurate, and misinformed. As someone who feels passionately about closing the achievement gap in education, however it should be measured, I firmly believe that technology can help us get there.

To deny public schools the opportunity to have technology in their schools is continuing to exert the existing power dynamic between the haves and the have-nots. The article further drives this issue home by holding schools with underserved student populations to higher testing standards while schools with liberal educated parent populations are apparently free from such restraints of assessment. This is the thing that does not compute. For higher-ups, often over educated with sustainable income, to pass judgement on schools that need to increase their engagement and ignite passion for learning is just not right. That’s like me telling someone who lives halfway across the world what he should eat for breakfast.

While I don’t believe that technology has all of the answers for fixing education, I do think it can solve some problems. When it is used correctly, with proper interest and support. What I am a big supporter of is meeting kids where they are and giving them all the resources they need to be awesome. The question shouldn’t be “do we have technology or not?” but rather what tools and effective teaching practices are going to get us where we need. Whatever students’ interests, learning differences, or background, school should be the place where children learn who they are, how they can change the world and the skills they need to accomplish their goals.

For further reading on this subject, please check out Ira Socol’s blog and Jonathan Martin’s post.