Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Betsy DeVos likens education technology to “a thousand flowers” that have yet to bloom - The Hechinger Report

Betsy DeVos likens education technology to “a thousand flowers” that have yet to bloom - The Hechinger Report:

Betsy DeVos likens education technology to “a thousand flowers” that have yet to bloom

Education secretary praises technology and pans government interference in the classroom in speech to techies at `Davos by the Desert?’

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ALT LAKE CITY – A well-heeled crowd of venture capitalists, investment bankers and educators sat quietly in a cavernous ballroom Wednesday, listening to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos repeat themes she sounds regularly: Choice is good, government is bad, kids are trapped in failing schools.
Outside the Grand America Hotel was a different story: More than 100 protestors complained that DeVos is against public education, a perception that’s dogged the wealthy Republican donor since the historic tie-breaking vote put her in a job she had little experience for.
“We want someone who will actually be good for education and is not just in their seat basically because they have money and influence,’’ said protestor Kellie Henderson, of Utah Indivisible, an anti-Trump resistance group.
DeVos’ appearance at ASU+GSV, the annual tech and investment conference known as “Davos by the Desert,” gave her an unprecedented opportunity to speak with a non-confrontational audience on innovation and technology in schools.
She didn’t take it, however, and never went beyond the usual talking points about expanding school choice as the best option for helping children stuck in struggling schools. And there was no audience Q&A.
Instead, the crowd, which included hundreds of companies deeply involved in “disrupting” the education landscape, settled for hearing DeVos liken choosing a school to switching phone carriers: If schools aren’t meeting children’s needs, they are “failing that child,” she said.
“Think of it like your cell phone AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile,’’ she said. “They all have great networks, but if you can’t get cell phone service in your living room, then that particular provider is failing you.”
DeVos got no pushback; she was questioned by one of her most ardent supporters, Jeanne Allen of the Center for Education Reform, who threw one softball after another, such as: “What would you say to people about technology?”
DeVos gave an unrevealing reply before an audience steeped in the dense jargon of learning tools and new ways of thinking about the future.
“We’ve just scratched the surface in the role technology can play,” DeVos answered. “I only have to look at my young grandchildren to see how Betsy DeVos likens education technology to “a thousand flowers” that have yet to bloom - The Hechinger Report:

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