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One Laptop: When Reforms Get Fetishized

P1020317-1_article I don't know much about some of the suggestions made in this Miller-McCune article -- the benefits of de-worming kids, for example isn't anything I could speak to with any knowledge-- but I like the somewhat fresh look it takes at one of education's most highly-touted reforms:  the One Laptop initiative. 

As seems to have happened with One Laptop, sometimes smart people get really really excited about something that sounds good.  (Performance pay is another example.  So is charter education.) They end up fetishizing the reform they've picked.  Their thinking gets rigid and insular.  The ego kicks in along with the time and money.  Research is delayed or dismissed.  Mistakes aren't admitted and adjustments don't get made.  The effort eventually gets de-legitimized, and public confidence falls.  

Even acknowledging that it takes vision and tremendous salesmanship to get anything done, it's an unfortunate kind of churning that goes on around reforms that are sold - and abandoned -- this way.  A little restraint and flexibility wouldn't hurt.  

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Good post. Same could be said for the edu-fad in math that's been going on over the last 20 years thanks to grants from NSF-EHR and dubious standards from NCTM. Care to comment on that?

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