8.02.2008

Accountability in Educaion and the Public Sphere

If you are interested in accountability and bottom-up transformation, here is something we in education should think about.

Most accountability programs are top-down (big stick.) Power is vested way upstream in a licensing authority of sorts such as a state's department of education rules that essentially decertify a professional under a specified set of circumstances that are documented under a routine review and filtering process.

There is a huge volume of writing and public assertion about giving the public "choice" but that is usually defined in an on/off paradigm of either using a public institution or leaving and going to a private institution. Choice means giving the public the choice pundits want to give them. I could rant about religious fundamentalism here and the damage it has done to the corporate mentality of the American public. But I won't do that.

Instead, how about empowering the public with tools for change?

This is a post at Howard Rheingold's site Smart Mobs titled:
Citizens use YouTube to keep gov’t in check

You have seen it working with the Los Angeles Police. But as people realize the benefits of social network software giving a low threshold for attention, it is possible to extend to other public spheres. Public nuisance is certainly a good example, but opening the classroom like a fruit is another interesting example.

We already have open curriculum to the extent we use Moodle where authentication can be given to anyone as opposed to a centrally managed system like WebCT. We have toyed with putting webcams in classrooms.

To tell the truth, I believe that student posting of school events whether in class or not is inevitable. All I am really talking about is giving it a forum.

Let's say Rate My Professor decided to allocate a hunk of bandwidth to video and students could capture, edit and post within minutes in a discussion format.

Whoever gives shape to the first marketplace entry will frame the discussion.