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High Tech High 2.0 146

Posted by kdawson
from the you-wanted-backward-compatibility? dept.
theodp writes "A week ago, in his How to Keep America Competitive Op-Ed, Bill Gates touted the Gates Foundation-backed High Tech High as the future of American education. One small problem. Two days earlier, tearful Bay Area High Tech High students — recruited by a Bill Gates video — were told that their school of the future has no future. So would Bill be too embarrassed to lay out his education plan before the Senate Wednesday? Nah. Not too surprisingly though, mentions of High Tech High were MIA in Bill's prepared remarks (PDF), which touted Philly's imaginatively named $65M School of the Future, built under the guidance of Microsoft, as the new school of the future. Committee politicians reportedly embraced virtually all of the suggestions made by Gates."
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High Tech High 2.0

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  • by o'reor (581921)
    I thought the reasoning of politicians had gone a little beyond the "let's suck up to whatever Bill Gates says for he always knows better than us". It seems we're still a long way from that...
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by observer7 (753034)
      tearful Bay Area High Tech High students -- recruited by a Bill Gates video -- were told that their school of the future has no future... teacher ,i had my homework but the dog eat my school.
    • The LA Time recently ran a story about the possibly troubling investment strategies of the Gates Foundation [latimes.com]. You can see more of their coverage here [latimes.com].

      There was also, more to the point, this story via the Register: Gates demands better schools as Gates-backed school closes [theregister.co.uk] and this much more detailed story [insidebayarea.com].

      If this is an example of how the deals are made and how things are managed, it points to another classic example of 'the microsoft touch' screwing things up. It quickly reads as a tremendous gift of techn
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by m0rph3us0 (549631)
      If you want to create schools that teach people useful knowledge the best thing that could happen is a school voucher program where parents receive a set amount of funding from the various levels of government and are free to spend those dollars as they see fit. Thus music programs and technological education can compete in a fair manner.
      • by westlake (615356)
        If you want to create schools that teach people useful knowledge the best thing that could happen is a school voucher program where parents receive a set amount of funding from the various levels of government and are free to spend those dollars as they see fit. Thus music programs and technological education can compete in a fair manner.

        Aren't you the cock-eyed optimist.

        Useful translates into one of two things:

        Skills which are marketable and courses which threaten no one.

        No difference, fundamentally,

      • Why do you think that would work? Why do you think the competition would be between music programs and technological education and not between who can move their schools furthest out into the exurbs?

        Odly enough, the free market results in residents of lower-income urban areas having fewer choices and paying higher prices thatn residents of the suburbs. Can you explain why the same lack of options and high prices and lower quality will not happen to urban schools?
      • by metlin (258108) *
        No, a society that does not value knowledge and learning will not magically change its stance just because you offer a few incentives. And even in that case, the learning will happen for the sake of the incentives, not for the sake of the subject.

        And that's not the way progress happens in the sciences and the arts. It happens because people love what they do, and want to do something worthwhile. Doing something for the sake of a candy bar will only make it worse.

        Why do you think people want to become lawyer
  • by greenguy (162630) <estebandidoNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday March 08, 2007 @11:31AM (#18276548) Homepage Journal
    Duuuuuuuuude!
  • naturally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @11:32AM (#18276556) Homepage
    Committee politicians reportedly embraced virtually all of the suggestions made by Gates.

    Of course they embraced his ideas. Hes the richest man in the world. Every politician want s to be him.
    • Re:naturally (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Capt James McCarthy (860294) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @11:35AM (#18276610) Journal
      I don't think they want to necessarily _be_ him, but what they do want to have happen is M$ come in and fork out some cash to help build 'better' schools in their districts. (and provide kickbacks, extra cash flow, visibility, etc...etc...etc..)
      • but what they do want to have happen is M$ come in and fork out some cash to help build 'better' schools in their districts. (and provide kickbacks, extra cash flow, visibility, etc...etc...etc..)

        Which is completely correct considering how corrupt the Philadelphia political scene, as a whole, is. The rest of the state funnels tens of millions of dollars worth of subsidies to the city every year to prop it up. For example, the South Eastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA), which provides bus se

      • by StikyPad (445176)
        I don't think they want to necessarily _be_ him

        They don't want to _be_ him? Well what else could they possibly.. oh. Right.

        Mr. Burns: Smithers, you see me as a God, right?
        Smithers: Yes Sir!
        Mr. Burns: And you'd kneel before me, right?
        Smithers: Boy, would I!
    • by HeyMe (935075)
      Embrace.

      Extend.

      Extinguish.

      Yep, I'd say that about says it all.

    • by sconeu (64226) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @12:02PM (#18276950) Homepage Journal
      Committee politicians reportedly embraced virtually all of the suggestions made by Gates.

      And then they'll Extend and Extinguish them?
  • by nharmon (97591) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @11:38AM (#18276642) Homepage
    I really wish Gates would stop touting the H-1B program as the solution to a lack of American scientists and engineers. All it does is allow companies to pay scientists and engineers low wages by pumping up the labor supply. This is a clear case where the interests of the companies are in stark opposition to the interests of America.

    If America wants to stay competitive, force these companies to start paying real salaries for scientists and engineers. People will seek these career fields if the salaries are right, and the supply problem will go away.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by maxume (22995)
      Your solution only works if paying 'real salaries' is profitable(leaving aside the discussion of whether they are or not, job creation depends on it being profitable to pay someone to do work).

      The real problem with the H1B program is that it exports a bunch of knowledge for no good reason. The bright folks who want to come here should be encouraged to stay, not to stay for a while.
      • Your solution only works if paying 'real salaries' is profitable(leaving aside the discussion of whether they are or not, job creation depends on it being profitable to pay someone to do work).

        More importantly, we have to ensure that it's profitable. America can't compete with the Third World on wages; it's just not going to happen. The cost of living here is just too high, and unless we want to reduce our standard of living in order to reduce the costs, we have to figure out a way to shield American compan
        • You can't build a house of cards from the top down. Our way of life is a result of how much we produce, not how much we consume. If we closed our borders perfectly today, some of us would be better off, but as a whole we would be worse off(by definition, trade is beneficial to the parties engaging in it; a third party often loses, but that is their problem). To the extent that we are currently unable to meet our resource demands internally, we need foreign trade, so it isn't really an option.

          The other probl
        • by Gospodin (547743)

          Fact: Relative to wages, America has quite a low cost of living. Think about it - how long do you have to work at an average job to afford a car in America? How long in Calcutta? Even goods that are more locally priced (e.g., food) are almost always relatively cheaper in America, particularly when quality and safety are taken into account.

          What you're advocating is protectionist trade policy, and this almost always hurts us at least as much as it hurts our importers.

          Furthermore, your facts are wrong - if

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 0xdeadbeef (28836)
        The bright folks who want to come here should be encouraged to stay, not to stay for a while.

        If green cards were easier to obtain, and they weren't beholden to the employer who sponsors them, they would.

        Of course, then they could shop the market, and they could demand a salary as high as the rest of us. So of course the corporations will never allow that to happen.

        The top-level poster is spot on, all these other excuses are to divert attention from the money. It is *always* about the money. In the long term
      • "The real problem with the H1B program is that it exports a bunch of knowledge for no good reason. The bright folks who want to come here should be encouraged to stay, not to stay for a while."

        I doubt they'd want to when they can go home and get more out of the money they were paid in america, cost of living in america = too high. For someone who was brought in on an H1B, these people aren't stupid.
    • by Nazlfrag (1035012)
      Or they will move their R&D offshore, which wouldn't help America at all. It's not about immigration, or R&D jobs and budgets. Think larger, think about how the Microsoft way is being taught at the institutions. Think about how warped a view on the world they will receive with this 'training'. Think about the lack of alternatives presented in such an environment. They are training the CIO's of the future. The ones we have now are already under Microsoft's thumb, hard. Imagine the future if MS has th
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      A DDJ blogger wrote yesterday of the pitiful disinterest in engineering as a career for American graduates, and cited, among other things, the lack of financial reward for engineers in the 21st Century.

      It seems to me that offshoring and H1B wage-lowering strategies are not going unnoticed by those in school and choosing a career.
    • No H1B requires competitive pay. What really angers me is that removal or decreasing of H1Bs would force companies to do something about the vast amounts of unused smart people that already exist in this country who simply for one reason or another have not been able to receive the training that would be necessary. But instead of companies helping to improve education in this country so that they can have a qualified work force, they are allowed to use another countries education system instead. Sad really,
      • by mpaque (655244)
        No H1B requires competitive pay

        As specified by the employer. You forgot that part.

        'Competitive' in the Silicon Valley, an area with a very high cost of living, is being defined as just under 40K/year for a Level 1 Engineer. That's the bottom quintile of starting salaries for a person with a title 'Engineer' in the DOL western region. After the H-1B wage slave pays taxes, and placement fees to the H-1B agency (or worse, works directly through such an agency structured as a consulting firm that takes a su
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by C3ntaur (642283)
      I think the H1-B program will soon be irrelevent. It hastened the inevitable, but the fact of the matter is that any job that can be offshored for more profit, will be. It started happening to our manufacturing industry 30 years ago, and it's been happening to our high tech industries ever since other nations with cheaper labor built up enough infrustructure to support it.

      The only advice I can think of for someone choosing a career today is to find something that cannot be offshored.
      • To avoid offshoring, become a lawyer or doctor.
        Why aren't companies getting H1B plumbers and electricians?
        Get some H1B Accountants.
        Leave my industry alone. Pay them a competitive wage? Go 2 years, have 200,000 open jobs
        and I'll have an auction for my services. Then we will see what competitive wages are.
        • by metlin (258108) *
          Join the military. :)

          That's a sure way of having a job.

          Of course, the "physical attributes" of most Slashdotters might be a tad problematic in that regard, but hey.
    • Right, let's correct a part of the article:

      The most important factor is our workforce. Scientists and engineers trained in U.S. universities -- the world's best -- have pioneered key technologies such as the microprocessor, creating industries and generating low-paying jobs so that I could make millions.
    • by metlin (258108) *
      The problem is also cultural. In the US today, science is being looked down upon by large sections of the populace. And science and engineering aren't exactly areas that are being touted or encouraged. I mean, you have people talking against evolution, science and you have the media showing that playing ball or being a Hollywood star is "cool" while being geeky or nerdy is mocked at.

      On the other hand, this is not necessarily the case in a lot of other cultures - Asian cultures place a much higher value on
  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @11:40AM (#18276660) Homepage
    So, um, exactly how far does that $65 million go after subtracting out the computers for every student... and all those Vista licenses? =)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Ummmmm... Let's see here.

      Divide by 42.

      Carry the one.

      "$#&%! We're $300 Million in the hole!"

      "Nah, we'll just ask congress to write it off until they're all paying social security, and get a huge tax break now!"
    • It goes to the teachers union.
  • While it is very nice of His Billness to donate a bunch of money, I think most of his flap is just that. He is obviously trying to salvage MS's public image with his personal charm.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Somehow that brings to mind Al Gore trying to salvage the image of the Democratic Party with his dancing.
    • by bryguy5 (512759)
      As the richest person in the world controlling one of the most influential companies everyone is gunning for you out of a combination of envy or fear. (I myself usually fall into the fear catagory against the windows monopoply.)

      Bill has way too much money for 1 person, what's wrong with him donating a few million here and a few million there. It's the equivalent to us putting a few dollars into the salvation army bucket as we go by.

      ---
      Need money for your school, sport, or civic, group - Help support a gee
    • by westlake (615356)
      He is obviously trying to salvage MS's public image with his personal charm.

      ---and, it would seem, very successfully, as well.

      But the Geek always stumbles badly when he equates his opinion of Microsoft with the public's opinion of Microsoft. How Boss's Deeds Buff A Firm's Reputation [wsj.com]

      The point spread is narrow between companies that score well. Cold comfort for the Geek in that.

      1 Microsoft
      4 Google
      8 Sony

      11 Amazon
      13 Disney
      16 Intel
      22 Apple
      23 Dell
      37 Verizon
      38 HP
      40 Wal-Mart
      49 Time-Warner
      58 Co

  • Bill Gates shown to be giant hypocrite in favor of his own solutions! News at eleven!
  • That's all, he's just a douche.
  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @12:01PM (#18276944)
    I read the article and don't think I remembered hearing about parents at all.

    That may be intentional or not & might be true or not in the actual school experience, that parents are ignored, but without parent involvement, encouragement & support, there will not be the achievement that everyone wants.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TrinSF (183901)
      No, parents were *very* involved in the school. I used to spend as many as 8 hours a week there, coaching a quiz team, etc. Parents pretty much paid for much of the school, donated supplies and equipment, ran the front desk for the first couple of years. The problem was not parental involvement. Honestly, really? The problem was hiring a *marketing guy* to be the principal. No, really. Not kidding.
  • ... and learn how to speak English?
  • by MyIS (834233) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @12:08PM (#18277038) Homepage
    Bill Gates is a shining example of the kind of competitiveness we do not want. His empire was built on undercutting the right enemy at the right time and cramming technological mediocrity down consumers' throats. And this is not me being a frothy-mouthed anti-Microsoft zealot; anyone can compare, say, OS/2 with Windows 95 and agree with that statement, grudgingly or not.

    And so, is this the man we want as an example of technological brilliance? He should be inspiring young kids in MBA school, not the future engineers and programmers. His business sense goes against the entire philosophy of having a high tech school - it seems that he made his money by preventing technological advancement.
    • by guruevi (827432)
      Compare OS/2 with Windows XP and you'll see the same results. If OS/2 would have had Win32 compatibility back in the day...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by poot_rootbeer (188613)
      anyone can compare, say, OS/2 with Windows 95

      Windows 95 came with a TCP stack included. OS/2 required you to spend an extra $80 to get the "Warp Connect" package if you intended to use the Internet. In 1995.

      IBM's OS/2-native Web Explorer browser was also at all times at least one full major release behind Netscape, feature-wise.

      Windows 95 took the market because it was a better consumer OS than OS/2.
      • by MyIS (834233)

        IBM's OS/2-native Web Explorer browser was also at all times at least one full major release behind Netscape, feature-wise.
        I fail to see what Netscape's innovation has to do with Microsoft's tech reputation.

        OS/2 required you to spend an extra $80
        I was not talking about marketing/pricing prowess. I was talking about technological advancement, pure and simple.

        Bill Gates made a brilliant move, business wise. But it was not based on genius technicians in lab coats generating cutting-edge technology. I

    • by westlake (615356)
      His empire was built on undercutting the right enemy at the right time and cramming technological mediocrity down consumers' throats.

      He didn't cram anything down anyone's throats.

      He sold operating systems and software for hardware platforms which were entry-level at the time of their release.

      That is the mass-market solution pioneered by Henry Ford. The solution which always generates more money and greater opportunities for development than the handcraft work so admired by the Geek in his own technolog

    • by Seumas (6865)
      Clearly, the best way to keep America competitive is to avoid the expensive costs involved in educating Americans and, instead, invest a fraction of that budget into enticing foreign labor. You also have the added benefit of being able to drastically affect the value of labor in each field of expertise by importing the labor to reduce overall costs.

      The mistake that a lot of non-corporate entities continue to make is believing that Americans need to spend a couple hundred thousand dollars each to educate the
  • Poker (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @12:12PM (#18277088) Homepage Journal
    Bill Gates was known as a master Poker player in college. Many think this is the skill that allowed him manipulate his way past competitors and cripple giants like IBM. Offshoring and visa workers are making tech skill a cheap commodity. Perhaps we should teach our kids Poker. As W shows, we are the land of con artists. We might as well embrace our comparative advantage and welcome our sneaky overlords.
               
    • by StikyPad (445176)
      <tinfoil>They don't want the plebes to know how to play poker, maaan! Why do you think they banned online gambling?!?</tinfoil>
  • That seems like the usual Microsoft strategy, when the new version comes out, the old one is ignored and shut down! (probably a coincidence in this case, but it's still funny).
  • MS != US (Score:5, Insightful)

    by darekana (205478) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @12:14PM (#18277122) Homepage
    However stupid "High Tech High" sounds,
    it is not grounds to dismiss Gates' points.

    America needs smarter citizens.
      (who respect intelligence, and don't vote for certifiably stupid leaders)

    America needs to be attractive to the best and brightest from around the world.

    This requires focusing on education and immigration policy reform.

    Please lets not get sidetracked on the MS bashing stuff when bigger issues abound.
    • America needs smarter citizens. (who respect intelligence, and don't vote for certifiably stupid leaders)
      This requires focusing on education and immigration policy reform.

      Policy reform won't do a darn thing. You're talking a MAJOR cultural/mental shift for many Americans. Many people don't feel the NEED for education, so never pressure their kids to study. After all, their Little Bubba's the next NFL star! Coach said so!
      • Many people don't feel the NEED for education, so never pressure their kids to study.

        Perhaps, though I think a far bigger factor is that many people either are only rarely around their kids because if they weren't working multiple jobs, their kids would be living on the streets, or don't see any realistic prospects from the education available to their kids, so don't force them to study.

        Of course, lots of parents (even, often, despite those negative factors) try to make their kids study, but are stuck with

    • America needs smarter citizens.
      Ever considered emigrating?
    • America needs smarter citizens.

      Nonsense. America already *has* plenty of smart citizens.

      The problem with America is that many of its very smart/skilled citizens are currently unemployed or underemployed, but a very small investment of time could make those people productive again. A few hours of time in some cases, or even no training at all in some cases.

      When I was unemployed a few years ago, I was turned down for literally *dozens* of positions that I could have easily stepped into with a few hou

      • by alienmole (15522)
        So apparently America's managers are not smart citizens? Doesn't that support the grandparent's point?
        • In many cases, especially in large companies, the large majority of candidates are removed from consideration by HR before hiring managers get to see the resumes.

          I don't think the problem is stupid managers as much as it is a corporate hiring system which is focused on only hiring specialized personnel. Whether that is a stupid approach or not depends on who you ask.
    • Sorry, but historically its a lot easier to drag the smart people down than it is to bring the stupid people up.

      Thus the modern edumacashun system.

      Besides, if we are ALL the BEST, then wouldn't that just make everyone AVERAGE ??

    • While I agree with most part of you post, I disagree with the subject. No matter how good a school is, it cannot make a person intelligent. It can only make him/her knowledgeable.
  • by Caspian (99221) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @12:16PM (#18277150)

    "Committee politicians reportedly embraced virtually all of the suggestions made by Gates..."

    Infuriating, but not at all surprising. Outside the geek world-- and very few geeks seem to realise this-- people think Bill Gates is a role model to be followed. He's the richest guy in the world, so people in our highly capitalist, money-obsessed society are prone to hang on his every word. Much like Christian apologists, they note the good ("Bill Gates gives billions to charity") whilst ignoring the bad (e.g. "he made those billions via anticompetitive, illegal means" / "his Foundation is a huge tax break and PR boost for himself, and has been used as a tool to push Windows on developing nations who can't afford it"). They believe that simply because he is obscenely wealthy, he is necessarily a good guy. Everyone likes to root for the biggest fish in the pond. Everyone likes to root for the winner, and Bill Gates is undoubtedly a winner. It's sad, but true-- most of the world thinks Gates is a great guy.

    History doesn't look upon, say, Andrew Carnegie as a good guy simply because he gave away obscene amounts of money, but the average American today is lot more greedy, selfish and short-sighted than their counterpart of Carnegie's time, evidently...
    • by operagost (62405)

      Much like Christian apologists, they note the good ("Bill Gates gives billions to charity") whilst ignoring the bad (e.g. "he made those billions via anticompetitive, illegal means" / "his Foundation is a huge tax break and PR boost for himself, and has been used as a tool to push Windows on developing nations who can't afford it").
      Err.. you don't know many Christian apologists. Any apologist like your straw man would lose many a debate.
      • by Caspian (99221)
        I know quite a few Christian apologists. They all, without fail, try to work negatives into positives, simply ignore them, or shrug and say "Man cannot always understand God". Religion is like that, and in America, capitalism is the state religion as much as fundamentalist Christianity is.
    • [Most of the world thinks Bill is a great guy.]

      And that is the power of money and mindshare. My x-father-in-law and I had many debates about the merrits of Bill. He believed that in order to be one of the richest men in the world, he had to be really smart, innovative, have a great business savvy, work ethic, and could do no wrong.

      I argued (from experience) that his business practices were shady (and driven from the top, so him and Balmer), that his success was from right time and connections, many succes
      • by westlake (615356)
        I argued (from experience) that his business practices were shady (and driven from the top, so him and Balmer), that his success was from right time and connections, many successes were built upon the unrecognized work of others, and pointed out his philanthropy came very late in life.

        Your father would argue that 45 is not "very late in life." Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [wikipedia.org] (est. 2000)

        Warren Buffett [wikipedia.org] was 76.

        Hardball capitalism is the American national game, with Poker a close second.

        • Consider when Bill had billions and it puts it in perspective. Bill didn't start active philanthropy until a couple years after his mother died from cancer. And she was big UnitedWay board member. (So... '96, Bill became a Billionaire in '87.)

  • by Eternal Vigilance (573501) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @12:24PM (#18277266)
    The failure of HTH clearly shows the lack of high school students we face in this country. There simply aren't enough American teenagers available! If HTH had been able to recruit teenagers from India, they'd be thriving. But no, anti-free-market immigration laws have put the school out of business.


    Would *you* ever want to be described as a "committee politician"?
  • This is all because politicians, much like gorillas, do love getting pubic lice from Bill Gates, if you know what I mean.. wait... or is that the other way around?
  • That HTH went to blue screen of death?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by GringoCroco (889095)
      There's more to the blue color than what meets the BSOD
      quiting from the dress code pdf on HTH's website:

      In order to make HTHB a community where everyone feels safe, until further notice there will be restrictions on red and blue clothing.[...]

      • Shirts that are both red and blue are permitted
      • Shirts that have some red/blue such as plaid designs, are permitted as long as red/blue are not the main colors that stand out
      • Light blue and pink are permitted
      • Blue jeans are permitted
      • No solid red/blue clothing including undershirts that are visible
      • No solid red/blue belts, laces, jewelry, or hair accessories
  • http://www.nclr.org/funding [nclr.org] The "Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation" funds La Raza.

    and just a couple of articles down from this one on the slashdot's main page:

    http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/07/234 825 [slashdot.org]

    Bill gates speaks out against immigration policies - he wants to make it
    even easier

    Driving down wages and salaries by taking in foreigners who will work for
    cents to the dollar is not about making America competitive... unless of
    course we're competing with third world sweat shops that is.

    click on th
  • When you have billions and throwing it around politicians are definitely going to kiss your ass and the press will to. Bill's schools are dropping like flies, and he happily deflects blame because money will keep the ideas moving whether or not they are worth a shit. In Denver, one of the high schools he funded fell flat on its face. It was exposed in a Business Week article entitled "Bill Gates Gets Schooled" (http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_ 2 6/b3990001.htm), but not really exposed that
  • by radarsat1 (786772) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @01:13PM (#18277904) Homepage
    Am I the only one who thought this article was going to be about some kind of new designer street drug?
  • A few weeks ago, an anonymous person emailed me this list. They said it fell out of Bill Gates' briefcase:

    High Tech Education Concept - Windows Vista Ultimate High Class Descriptions

    • Econ 105 - Renouncing Your American Citizenship (mandatory class)
    • Econ 106 - Obtaining Citizenship in India, China and Eastern Europe (mandatory class)
    • Econ 107 - Applying for an H1B Visa (mandatory class)
    • Econ 108 - Working at Microsoft (optional)
    • Lit 10A - Reading EULAs and Obeying Them
    • Civ 13 - Reporting Software Pirac
  • See:
    http://billkerr2.blogspot.com/2007/01/why-educatio n-technology-has-failed.html [blogspot.com]
    http://patapata.sourceforge.net/WhyEducationalTech nologyHasFailedSchools.html [sourceforge.net]

    "Ultimately, educational technology's greatest value is in supporting "learning on demand" based on interest or need which is at the opposite end of the spectrum compared to "learning just in case" based on someone else's demand.

    Compulsory schools don't usually traffic in "learning on demand", for the most part leaving
  • ...in San Diego. They have three high school campuses and one middle school that are up an running, and they just opened two more in the north part of the county for the coming school year. Their robotics team is one of the top in the country. I think the problem with the San Francisco campus was more of an administrative one (i.e. the administrators were not in line with the institution's philosophy or something along those lines)
    • by TrinSF (183901)
      You're completely correct. I've said elsewhere that the HTH concept *works*, and I was actually really hopeful when San Carlos High School converted to being a HTH school, because I thought having the strong curriculum and established model would help. But bad choices in the administration really drove a lot of students away -- things like keeping instructors on after it became clear they were incompetent, stuff like that.

      Parents and others have been putting the blame on the money situation, but as I've rep
  • Nice! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tony (765) * on Thursday March 08, 2007 @02:40PM (#18279022) Journal
    This is just wonderful. Politicians will listen to Bill Gates, but not to actual teachers.

    No wonder education in America is fucked.
  • Ray of Hope (Score:2, Interesting)

    by HycoWhit (833923)
    If computer history has taught us anything--it is the mighty companies get very few mistakes. Remember when IBM, Visicalc, Novell, and WordPerfect ruled the industry. Vista will never run on 90% of the machines in my county's school district. Many still run Windows 98 and many servers are Win2K--none of which are supported by Microsoft. The cost of hardware and software upgrades to support future Microsoft products is infeasible.

    Next week I'll be attending a conference bringing all the state techni

  • Is that the only reason Gates/Microsoft are behind this is to getting Microsoft products (only) and Microsoft brainwashing into the up-coming generation of engineers and managers, just to further strengthen the Microsoft monopoly.

    Can anyone who actually goes to these MS-funded schools tell me how Linux or opensource software are viewed (or ignored) there and if they are even allowed to use it on campus?
    • by TrinSF (183901)
      I answered your question elsewhere. The folks who set up the school infrastructure were opensource/Linux guys, and the hardware was Apple. There was explicitly no limit or stictures relating to using MS products, etc. There was also no MS class content, despite the jokes. The students used computers a lot and did a lot of multimedia presentations and things. I was *very* wary about these issues when they announced the changeover, but it was never a problem. If you didn't know that there was Gates money, it
  • I live in Wichita, KS and I can tell you that this most recent move (seemingly) to a (possibly the?) $65M school of the future is a bit behind the times. Great concept, but "dude, that's a lot of cash." Some of you might already know that Wichita, KS is the "air capital of the world." Regardless of whether or not any of us is willing to go quite that far with that particular description of Wichita, everyone must know that the Wichita economy is driven by what I call "affective hit points." That basicall
    • this is actually somewhat of a logical progression. A couple hundred years ago, you went to a university to become educated. Not in a specific field. But wholly educated. It was entirely possible for an educated person to be an expert in ALL fields. However, as our collective knowledge increases, this is no longer possible. Since one man cannot learn anything, they focus on a specific field of study and become an expert in that. As time goes on, it is entirely reasonable to see this specialization st
  • by TrinSF (183901) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @03:58PM (#18280032)
    Wow, it's interesting to see this show up on /. -- stories haven't been about things happening to me personally since the coverage of Be Inc. dying. Anyway, my son was one of the first students at High Tech High Bayshore. The first year, 2003-2004, they were actually just "San Carlos High School", because the deal with the HTH franchise came later. Originally, the idea was to have the school be run on the HTH model, not be an actual member school.

    Anyway, here's what the articles aren't saying: the school sucked. The articles are making a big deal about the money issue, and yes, they are closing because of the money, but the reason they don't have funds is that they're incredibly under enrolled, and they're under enrolled because they've had so many students leave.

    Initially, we had really high hopes for the school, and the first year wasn't that bad -- some good teachers, some mediocre teachers. The next year they had a new principal, and there were more mediocre teachers. As an example, that year all 10th graders (like my son) were in Chemistry. They had no lab equipment, and the instructor frequently taught them just *wrong things*. Wrong as in, the wrong value for Avogadro's number. Since the class was supposed to be a lab science, they were told they had to be doing lab work weekly. To meet that requirement, they did a "learning to measure" lab. And the next week, they did it again. For weeks on end, they essentially repeated the same basic labwork, so that the school could say they were participating in a lab component. At the end of the year, the administration apologized and admitted that they hadn't actually learned any Chemistry. Oh, and at the end of that year, many of the remaining *good* teachers left.

    So, by this year, they had something like 30 seniors, and were losing those fast. They've had attrition at two ends of the spectrum. They lost students dropping out or failing out, but they have also continued to lose students at the high end of the academic spectrum. My son, for example, studied two years of math in one year in his first year there, because he was allowed to have a more independent study approach. His sophomore year he was studying Calculus with two other students, but the teacher they had assigned to oversee them -- the "10th grade math" teacher -- couldn't actually *understand* math at the pre-Calc or Calc level, so he didn't give them any tests, couldn't grade their homework, etc. For the second semester, the school agreed to have the students take community college math classes instead. That would have been fine, except the next year, they decided the students should rejoin their grade level math classes -- now 2 years behind -- and just do that.

    I have tons of stories like this -- my son being taught flat out wrong things, having some classes where they learned a lot about one "project-based" subject, but had huge gaps in other areas. While some of the instructors were incredible people and really engaged my son, increasingly that wasn't true.

    But what made him leave in the end was the paucity of college assistance. My son's aiming pretty high for schools, but the school was pretty much set to tell students "Pick a University of California school you want to apply to, and a Cal State school, and you're done!" Son has watched some very gifted students fall through the cracks because there wasn't enough coaching in place to help kids find and apply for schools other than that. So we reached a point where it began to appear that staying at HTHB was going to negatively impact his ability to be accepted at the schools he really wanted to attend. He ended up transfering to another small charter school, where he's doing his senior year now.

    It sort of frustrates me as a parent to see all the focus be on the money situation at the school. If the school hadn't had ongoing problems with the quality of education, if it hadn't driven away high-achieving students by saying things like "academic quiz teams are not in keeping with the school's
  • by TrinSF (183901) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @04:03PM (#18280092)
    By the way, we're Linux people in our household, so one of the questions we asked about the school during the High Tech High changeover and funding is "Will this mean the students are stuck using Microsoft products?" No, they weren't. The school was Gates-money funded, but the computers were all Macs and the network was Linux-based. I think the only Microsoft there was the Office suite on the Macs.
  • It's obvious where he's going to go.

    Linux and OSS are making huge inroads into education.

    So Gates decides to be the "philanthropist" again - by dreaming up a notion and tying it to US "patriotism" disguised as "competitiveness" - with the end goal of making sure everybody in education loads up on Microsoft software.

    Total Gates bullshit, as usual.

    For Gates, spending $65 million on a school is obviously much better than using FREE software since the latter directly threatens his entire market.

    Anybody who can'

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