Education: A Golden Age

“The education sector’s structure and policies will change more in the next 3 years than they changed in the last 2,500 years”

The Baton Passes to Asia

It’s the end of the era of the white man.

I know your head is spinning. The world can feel like one of those split-screen TVs with images of a suicide bombing in Baghdad flashing, and the latest awful market news coursing along the bottom, and an ad for some stool-loosening wonder drug squeezed into a corner.

The jumble makes no sense. It just goes on, like the mindless clacking of an ice-dispenser.

On the globalized treadmill, you drop your eyes again from the screen (now showing ads for gourmet canine cuisine) to the New Yorker or Asahi Shimbun. And another bomb goes off.

There’s a lot of noise and not much signal. Everywhere there is flux and the reaction to it: the quest, sometimes violent, for national or religious identity. These alternate faces of globalization — fluidity and tribalism — define our frontier-dissolving world.

But in all the movement back and forth, basic things shift. The world exists in what Paul Saffo, a forecaster at Stanford University, calls “punctuated equilibrium.” Every now and again, an ice cap the size of Rhode Island breaks off.

The breaking sound right now is that of the end of the era of the white man.

I’d been thinking about this at Dubai airport in the middle of the night, as the latest news came in from the United States of the bloody end to the mother of all spending binges. I was watching the newly affluent from other parts of the world — Asians and Arabs principally — spend their way through the early-morning hours.

The West’s moment, I thought, is passing. Money and might are increasingly elsewhere. America’s little dose of socialism from Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson might stave off the worst but cannot halt the trend.

Then I arrived in Hong Kong. The talk was all about how U.S. economic woes could impact Chinese growth. Might it tumble to 8 from over 11 percent? And what of India, powering along with growth of a mere 8 percent or so?

The West should have such troubles! Even revised downward, these growth rates are at levels Europe and the United States can only dream of.

Decoupling — another Hong Kong buzzword — is not possible in an interlinked world: export-led Asian economies are vulnerable in some measure to U.S. troubles. But that measure dwindles as the Chinese, Indian and Vietnamese domestic markets explode.

Asian statistics can be numbing. With one third of humanity, the numbers get big. There are now 450 million cell phones in China.

But take another — the likelihood that some 300 million people will move from rural to urban India in the next 20 years — and you get a sense of the shifts underway. By 2030, India will probably overtake Japan as the world’s third-largest economy behind the United States and China.

But in the end, transformation is not about numbers. It’s about the mind. Come to Asia and fear drains away. It’s replaced by confidence and a burning desire to succeed. Asian business leaders are rock stars. The culture of education and achievement is fierce. China is bent on beating the U.S.A.

What you feel in Asia, said Claude Smadja, a prominent global strategist, is “a burst of energy, of new dreams, and the end of the era of Western domination and the white man.”

Hong Kong purrs. Its efficiency and high-speed airport train make New York seem third-world. All the talk of Shanghai rising and Hong Kong falling was wrong: they’re both booming. Mainland Chinese tourists come here in droves to play and spend.

I went to see Frederick Ma, Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce. He’s suave in that effortless Hong Kong way, the shrewdness wrapped in a soothing patter of bonhomie. How is it that this is the only place on earth where people think of what you want before you’ve thought of it yourself?

He eased seamlessly from talk of mind-boggling infrastructure plans involving bridges and high-speed trains to a gentle lament for America.

“I am very worried about the U.S. economy right now,” he said. “When I was visiting last November, I asked a banker friend what’s going on, and she told me that a Wall Street problem was soon going to be a Main Street problem.”

Yep, it’s a Main Street problem all right when people lose their homes and realize overnight they’re illiquid and have 1930s visions as Bear Stearns goes “Poof!” in the night.

Everything passes. In the 17th century, China and India accounted for more than half the world’s economic output. After a modest interlude, the pendulum is swinging back to them at a speed the West has not grasped.

It’s the end of the era of the white man; and, before it even began in earnest, of the white woman, too.


2008/03/31 Posted by | Policy | 1 Comment

Sweden: Free global math education for one Grade 6-entering student at every school

125px-flag_of_swedensvg.png img_0150-250p-wide.jpg

2008/03/31 Posted by | 2008 mathematics initiatives, Europe, Mathematics, Middle school, Sweden | 1 Comment

The Netherlands: Free global math education for one Groep 8-entering student at every school

125px-flag_of_the_netherlandssvg.png img_0150-250p-wide.jpg

2008/03/31 Posted by | 2008 mathematics initiatives, Mathematics, Middle school, Netherlands | Leave a comment

Free global mathematics education for Grade 6 and 8 students in thousands of locations


Our world-leading international math program is allocating a free slot, in classes running from 2008/June until the end of the 2008/2009 school year, to one mathematics-oriented 11-year old student in each of thousands of locations in the US and Europe.

2008/03/23 Posted by | Policy | Leave a comment

National Mathematics Advisory Panel final report released


We congratulate our American sub-team members and friends Richard Askey, Karen Fuson, Roger Howe, LiPing Ma, R. James Milgram, and Wilfried Schmid on their Panel contributions.

“Mathematically gifted students with sufficient motivation appear to be able to learn mathematics much faster than students proceeding through the curriculum at a normal pace, with no harm to their learning, and should be allowed to do so.”

2008/03/19 Posted by | Mathematics, Policy, US | Leave a comment

Jens Stoltenberg – fem punkter for å styrke skolen – nyttige dersom detaljene blir riktige


1. Styrk lærerrollen: Gi lærerne mer tid til å drive med læring og mindre tid på papirarbeid, dokumentasjon og å skape ro.

Continue reading

2008/03/19 Posted by | Biology, Chemistry, Elementary school, Mathematics, Middle school, Norway, Physics, Policy, Post in Norwegian, Teacher education | Leave a comment

Oslo: Rektorer ikke lenger nødvendigvis tidligere lærere


Vår kommentar: Vi mener Oslo kommunes oppdaterte kriterier understreker rektorrollens lederaspekt på en fin måte. Tilsvarende har man ved sykehusene gått bort fra at direktørene skulle være leger (!) Og de rene pedagogiske miljøene er ikke kjent for å være de som er mest på hugget når det gjelder kompetanseledelse.

2008/03/19 Posted by | Norway, Performance - school, Policy, Post in Norwegian | Leave a comment

Old-system NCLB being watered down


Our comment: Another end-of-era tug-of-war. From now on performance will be measured per teacher, not per school, and students and parents will be the ones choosing who gets to teach what.


U.S. Eases ‘No Child’ Law as Applied to Some States

Published: March 19, 2008

2008/03/19 Posted by | National standards, Policy, US | Leave a comment

Washington, DC: towards student-demand-driven teacher allocation


A Contract for Change

Reform of D.C. schools hinges on new teacher rules

Washington Post editorial | Friday, February 22, 2008

Rules that put the interests of teachers ahead of the educational needs of children must be changed if Ms. Rhee is to succeed in transforming the system.

Continue reading

2008/03/19 Posted by | Policy, US, Washington DC | Leave a comment

New Republic covering Obama and charter schools and vouchers and the new generation of teachers – but not the biggest picture


Our comment: but “even” this article fails to mention that teacher salaries – and teacher employment – from now on will be rapidly increasingly based on demand from students and their parents – again based on web-based rankings of thousand and thousands of teachers all over the world. What we are witnessing now are the final spasms of a 200-year education system era.


Reform School

The education (on education) of Barack Obama.

Josh Patashnik, The New Republic Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 Continue reading

2008/03/14 Posted by | Performance pay, Policy, Unions, US, Vouchers | Leave a comment

2007- : Parents continuing the struggle for educational freedom


2008/12: Voucher March on Washington?

2008/12: Et hav fra Stortinget til Youngstorget av engasjerte foreldre?

2008/03/8 Posted by | Charter schools, Performance - school, Performance - teacher, Performance pay, Policy, Vouchers | Leave a comment

Kunnskapsdepartementet: Krav til ungdomsskole-matematikklærere om 60 studiepoeng fordypning

125px-flag_of_norwaysvg.png dep_symbol.gif
Vår kommentar: vi er klare til å hjelpe ungdomsskolene med å møte Kunnskapsdepartementets krav. Våre matematikklærere har alle minst Master-grad i matematikk – mange har doktorgrad.

2008/03/7 Posted by | Languages, Mathematics, Middle school, Norway, Performance - school, Performance - teacher, Performance pay, Policy, Teacher education, Vouchers | Leave a comment

Norge: gratis global matematikkundervisning for en kommende 6. trinns-elev ved hver skole i hele landet

125px-flag_of_norwaysvg.png 200px-nor_storting.jpg img_0150.jpg

2008/03/7 Posted by | 2008 mathematics initiatives, Mathematics, Norway, Post in Norwegian | Leave a comment

Washington D.C. area: performance pay for teachers


Pilot Plan for Incentive Pay Unveiled

By Nelson Hernandez
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 5, 2008; B05

Prince George’s County education and labor leaders unveiled a much-anticipated pilot program yesterday that will offer teachers and administrators at 12 schools incentive pay for good performance. Continue reading

2008/03/7 Posted by | Performance pay, Policy, Unions, US, Washington DC | Leave a comment

Los Angeles: Free global math education for one Grade 6-entering student at every school

125px-flag_of_the_united_statessvg.png ca.gif 369947027_7929eeccc4_m.jpg img_0150-250p-wide.jpg

2008/03/5 Posted by | 2008 mathematics initiatives, California, Location, Los Angeles, US | Leave a comment

New York City: Free global math education for one Grade 6-entering student at every middle school

125px-flag_of_the_united_statessvg.png 100px-seal_of_new_york_city.png 477688072_04811e96a0_b-blog-in-line.jpg img_0150-250p-wide.jpg

2008/03/5 Posted by | 2008 mathematics initiatives, Mathematics, New York, New York City, US | Leave a comment

Sweden/England/Wales – wonderful voucher policy advances, but great and rapid academic progress will require globalized instruction


Sweden’s voucher program as a blueprint for full “voucherization” of the school system in England and Wales. Continue reading

2008/03/5 Posted by | Performance - school, Policy, Sweden, Vouchers, Wales | Leave a comment

Sweden: tremendous voucher policy progress


“The variety of schools has increased throughout Sweden. The voucher system means that all students, irrespective of family income, can attend non-public schools. Even in rural areas there is now a wide choice of schools and it seems that the overall quality of Swedish schools has benefited from competition. The very existence of non-public schools has created a demand for reform also of public schools. If there is a difference, it also seems that non-public schools often are better at dealing with children with learning problems.

…three features seem particularly important when looking at the experience gained. Reform was based on a combination of public and market systems. It was general in its form, without demanding that non-public schools had to be special in order to be licensed. And reform reached out to cover all students.

This is what Sweden can offer, probably the most ambitions voucher system in the world but screwed into a social framework that is deeply rooted in the country. It is worth studying because, at the end of the day, it is using common principles of competition in an area where earlier such principles had not been generally accepted. One thing is for sure. “No change” is not an acceptable alternative.”

2008/03/5 Posted by | Charter schools, Europe, Performance - school, Policy, Sweden, Vouchers | Leave a comment