Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wall of Change

How many times have you read the quote from Ronald Reagan's famous speech at the Berlin Wall in 1987, "tear down this wall," used as the lead in to a talk, article, or a number of blog posts? Probably a bunch, but it is affective for engaging audiences as it was a moment in history that brought change and freedom many thought was impossible. It also brought David Hasselhoff, in a flashing leather jacket, singing about freedom a couple years later while standing on top of the wall, but that is a separate issue. There are a number of historical events that led up to the fall of the wall and the end of the Soviet Union, but many will credit those famous words as the point of change. The question I have today is when are we going to hear another speech that will go down in history as the one that changed the face of education in the United States. The speech that defines the turning point to a system that has remained relatively unchanged for over 100 years.

I recently attended the Education Innovation Summit at ASU Sky Song. Twice in one day the question was asked when would we see real reform in public education and twice the answer was something to the affect of when schools financially hit rock bottom, then K-12 will be forced to change the current structure. There are many more opinions on education reform and what or when it will happen, but it causes me concern to think it will take a financial crisis to make meaningful change. One thing I do believe we can count on is that technology will play a key role in the transformation of schools, it will not be a silver bullet, but it will allow the environment to look different and cause disruption that will lead to change.

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