The Future Ready Pledge
Has your superintendent taken the pledge?
Probably not-- the Future Ready Schools pledge is yet another one of those federal bully pulpit PR initiatives that must have seemed like a good idea at the time, but refused to go viral.
But the pledge, whipped up in October of 2014, is worth a look because it tells us what the USED thought the future would look like back in those halcyon days of Almost Two Years Ago.
FRS got tangled up with the Alliance for Excellence in Education in 2015. A4EE is one of those groups that exists in a magic land, the place where the revolving door between government agencies, private interests, and "advocacy" groups is spinning so fast that it looks like all three types of organizations are really just the same people wearing different party hats. A4EE is headed by former WV governor Bob Wise and includes Linda Darling-Hammond (Stanford), Frederick Frelow (from the Ford Foundation), N. Gerry House (former superintendent, current big cheese at Educational Testing Services), some tech guys (amazon), and some policy wonks. A4EE loves it some reformy stew, from Common Core to digital learning.
The Alliance "partnered" with the USED to push Future Ready Schools through the first half of 2015. They sold the pledge hard, along with the various policies attached to it. What is the pledge, you ask? Let's take a look.
The opening is simple enough:
I, _______________________, Superintendent of _________________________ do hereby affirm the commitment of this district to work with students, educators, families, and members of our community to become Future Ready by engaging in a wide range of activities such as:
And then we get to the List of Goodies.
Fostering and Leading a Culture of Digital Learning Within Our Schools.
The language here is plenty familiar. Leaders are supposed to use "the power of technology to help drive continuous improvement."
Helping Schools and Families Transition to High-speed Connectivity.
The pledging district is supposed to do analysis of tech connections, which is not a biggy. I regularly analyze my students' access to high-speed connectivity by a technique I like to call "Asking them." FRS are supposed to "work with community partners to leverage local, state, and federal resources to support home Internet access outside of traditional school hours." What do you mean, "leverage?" High speed internet connections cost money, both to pay for the connection as well as the equipment needed to connect. That equipment will have to be upgraded, maintained and replaced on a regular basis. Again, this is not rocket science-- it takes money. In rural areas like mine, a big pile of money that nobody here hasCURMUDGUCATION: The Future Ready Pledge: "The Future Ready Pledge"