March 22, 2013: State Board of Education President Michael Kirst (his second go-round on the job; he was a member of the SBE in the first adminisration of Governor Brown -- 1975-82, serving as president from '77-'81) is Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford. Yesterday, New America Media 's Peter Schurmann posted a Q&E with Kirst on "Bringing Equity Back to California School Funding." In one characteristically candid exchange, Schurmann asks Kirst,at left, about education reform efforts and, particularly, the innovations offered with on-line learning.
Kirst: There have been predictions of technological overhauls in the classroom ever since radio began. When I first started my career in the federal government we were distributing tens of thousands of television sets, and we certainly thought that would be a big change and that all the better teachers would come into classrooms through television sets in the corner of the room. That never worked.
When I left the state board presidency in 1982, we were at the cusp of the technological revolution and there were three computers at the back of a classroom. I thought, “Well, that’s the beginning.” I came back to state office in 2011, and went to visit schools: three computers in the back of a classroom. I was then told, and believed, that once we got handheld computers it would happen. I actually made speeches like that for 15 years. Still, no big impact.
So the way I would summarize it is: Technology has met traditional classrooms and traditional classrooms win.