by Stephen Downes
Aug 02, 2016
I think that the people arguing for the privatization of education are going to have to come up with better arguments. Writing for US News & World Report, Ian Lindquist says, "Education is not the only sector that provides public goods. Indeed, there are many public goods handled by private companies: hospitals, prisons and transportation systems operated by for-profit providers ensure public health, public safety and public transportation." These examples prove quite the opposite. The privatization of hospitals, prisons and transportation has proven to be to the detriment of all three services, resulting in lower standards (sometimes verging on abuse) and higher costs.
It has always puzzled me what writers mean when they label a video "rare" as in this case. Is there only one copy (now a billion copies on the web)? Is it a subject that doesn't come up a lot? Whatever. Get out of your comfort zone. Watch this video. Ponder life, existence and death. And what it all means. (RIP Seymour Papert)
Seymour Papert passed away on Sunday and the web is - not surprisingly - full of tributes. I remember him most as an artificial intelligence researcher, and colleague of Marvin Minsky, but he is more widely recognized as an education innovator and theorist. I met him only once, back in 2003 or so, at a conference in Quebec City. These last few days the web has been full of tributes, not surprisingly.
From Paulo Blikstein, some links:
Tributes and such:
This is exactly right: "the attempt to define what ‘exists’ within a given system is usually a conservative, essentialist move. It’s often concerned with retro-fitting new things into the current status quo, a kind of Kuhnian attempt to save what might be termed ‘normal science’." What follows this promising start is an interesting and useful discussion of Richard Rorty and "dead metaphors". I agree with Belshaw's scepticism of ontologies. And as Douglas Rushkoff says, "It’s this automatic acceptance of how things are that leads to a sense of helplessness about changing any of them."
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