Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn on HB5000

Edward Cherlin echerlin at
Tue Apr 8 18:49:52 EDT 2008

I talked with Ryan Croke of Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn's
office today. They are keen on this project, and would like to arrange
for us to assist in getting the program designed for the best possible
outcome. HB5000 is moving rapidly through the House, and will then go
to the Senate, which is likely to turn it over to the Education
Committee for public hearings. We should organize to bring our XOs and
our children to Springfield for the hearings.

Among the questions:

Schools will be allowed to choose from among the available laptops.
The program should capture the differences in outcomes between schools
using different hardware and software, using appropriate measures LG
Quinn's office agrees. Nicholas Negroponte is strongly opposed to
"bake-offs", but the world doesn't work the way he wants.

We need to work with the legislature, the Education authority, and
with schools on appropriate integration of laptops into curricula, and
provide at least draft versions of electronic textbooks on all
requested subjects. Much of what we want to do has yet to be designed.
In fact, the software that we want to build the textbooks on has in
some major cases yet to be designed. How much can we promise for the
start of the next school year in September? That depends very strongly
on who steps up to do it.

It is very important in pilot projects to do good experimental design
before hand so that the results contain usable information, not merely
data. We need to talk to people who know something about these issues,
who also understand what we are trying to measure.

What training can be put together for the summer before? We need to
demonstrate the meaning and value of learning by doing through
collaborative discovery, aka Constructionism. Then we need to provide
the toolkit for teachers to apply it, and provide feedback mechanisms
so that their experience and insights steadily improve the process.

This program requires dedicated resources, and management, on our side
and several others. That means that we need to look for funding.
Anybody know a good grant writer?

No Child Left Behind creates perverse incentives that can interfere
with the program. Can we get waivers from the Federal Government for
the trials?

Edward Cherlin
End Poverty at a Profit by teaching children business
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."--Alan Kay

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