Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education

Overview

"Technology has transformed all aspects of our everyday lives.From online banking to social networking, we communicate, connect,and consume in ways radically different from the past. Yet, theaverage classroom is not that different from the classroom of fiftyyears ago."

What's wrong with this picture? Terry M. Moe and John E. Chubb,two thought leaders on education reform, tell a dramatic storyabout the pitched battle to bring about real change and improvementto America's schools—a battle that pits the innovative ...

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Overview

"Technology has transformed all aspects of our everyday lives.From online banking to social networking, we communicate, connect,and consume in ways radically different from the past. Yet, theaverage classroom is not that different from the classroom of fiftyyears ago."

What's wrong with this picture? Terry M. Moe and John E. Chubb,two thought leaders on education reform, tell a dramatic storyabout the pitched battle to bring about real change and improvementto America's schools—a battle that pits the innovative forcesof technology against the entrenched interests that powerfullyprotect the educational status quo.

The timing could not be more critical, as the United Statesstruggles to keep pace with a world economy that places a growingpremium on education. Right now, technology has a tremendouscapacity to promote learning—for all students, regardless ofbackground or neighborhood—by opening up a dazzling array ofnew opportunities that can literally customize education to theneeds, schedules, styles, and interests of each student. But it isbeing blocked in the political process.

Controversial and compelling, Liberating Learning maps out adynamic vision of the nation's educational future, showing how theideas and innovations of technology will ultimately transform thepublic schools to the great benefit of the nation and itschildren—and how learning will be liberated from the specialinterests, and from the dead hand of the past.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this follow up to the authors' Politics, Markets, and American Schools, Moe and Chubb "think of public education not as the current institution, but in terms of its vital responsibility," in which case "technology promises to be a very good thing." When focused on this thesis, the Hoover Institution associates (Moe is a political science professor, Chubb founded an education consulting group) make a consistently intriguing case-not just for computers in the classroom, but for a full-scale system revamp. Unfortunately, they spend much time blaming teachers and teachers' unions for standing in the way, and fail repeatedly to address the realities of teaching. Many of the authors' assumptions will strike elementary educators as plainly wrong; for example, the idea that "computer-based approaches... simply require far fewer teachers per student" ignores the fact that teenagers can rarely be counted on to do what they're asked. It's also highly unlikely that parental demand will bring about a merit pay system; any school teacher will tell you that parental disinterest or neglect is rampant. Finally, and most distressingly, Moe and Chubb seem oblivious to the challenges poverty presents. Unfortunately, shallow thinking and a seeming lack of real classroom experience short circuit an important topic.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Moe (political science, Stanford Univ.) and Chubb (founder, EdisonLearning) provide yet another look at how to improve the American educational system. Technology, they write, has changed most major aspects of American society, but not today's classrooms, which look much as they did 50 years ago. The authors prescribe technology as the answer to improving U.S. education, along with freeing the system from the grip of special interests and entrenched politics. Until schools are free to experiment with technology and can experiment without interference from the government, teachers' unions, and other vested interests, educational reform will not get very far. The authors support their claims with well-documented examples; a final chapter gives their prescription for real change in American education. The book is thoughtfully written and with well-defended arguments. However, on an issue that's been discussed for years this book doesn't really cover any new ground. Conservative thinkers (pro-autonomy, pro-technology) will agree with the conclusions, while more liberal researchers will argue against them. VERDICT The book is recommended for those studying or working in our educational system because even though it doesn't provide many new arguments, it strongly defends existing arguments.—Mark Bay, Univ. of the Cumberlands Lib., Williamsburg, KY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470442142
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/27/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry M.Moe is the William Bennett Munro Professor of PoliticalScience at Stanford University, a senior fellow atthe HooverInstitution, and a member of Hoover's Koret Task Force on K-12Education.

John E. Chubb is founder and Chief Development Officer ofEdisonLearning, which partners with school districts and charterschools nationwide to improve student achievement. Dr. Chubb isalso a member of the Koret Task Force on K-12 Education.

Moe and Chubb are the coauthors of Politics, Markets, andAmerica's Schools.

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Table of Contents

The Authors.

Preface.

1. The Seeds of Change.

2. The Need for Achievement.

3. The Politics of Blocking.

4. Technology on All Fronts.

5. The Resistance.

6. A New Era.

Notes.

Index.

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