Fordham Releases ‘Education Reform for the Digital Era’

The Fordham Institute has release a new publication: Education Reform for the Digital Era. It is available in e-book or PDF form and discusses whether the digital-learning movement will repeat the mistakes of the charter-school movement or learn from them and be smarter about propelling high quality online and blended learning solutions to educational success.

The publication addresses policy issues such as quality control, staffing, funding and governance and discusses how existing arrangements need to change if the new instructional technology is to fulfill its great potential.

The starting point of the argument in the volume is that the current, familiar, education delivery system hasn’t been changed in a century. The methods that worked then, or at least worked to the best of available technological, don’t necessarily work for the modern era. Technology has also made enormous strides and is now capable of fundamentally altering the traditional delivery method. This technology should be utilized for the benefit of all concerned. In short, the traditional method of education that employs content delivery in the classroom is a waste of teaching time, and obsolete.

Technology cannot keep its promise to accelerate the modernization and reform of K–12 education unless reformers and policymakers understand that potential, embrace it, and clear the obstacles that today block its realization.

The introductory chapter identifies three main barriers to true modernization: Self-serving groups whose vested interests are in the maintenance of the status quo; organizational capacity within the public education system and the current system’s lack of malleability regarding potential changes; and, the core governance and financing structures of the K-12 system.

Table of contents:
• “Introduction,” by Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Daniela R. Fairchild;
• “Teachers in the Age of Digital Instruction,” by Bryan C. and Emily Ayscue Hassel;
• “Quality Control in K-12 Digital Learning: Three (Imperfect) Solutions,” by Frederick M. Hess;
• “The Costs of Online Learning,” by Tamara Butler Battaglino, Matt Haldeman, and Eleanor Laurans;
• “School Finance in the Digital-Learning Era,” by Paul T. Hill; and
• “Overcoming the Governance Challenge in K-12 Online Learning,” by John E. Chubb.

Throughout the text, the authors examine the approach of the charter school movement to look for the pitfalls that lay ahead for the digital learning movement and analyze how to do things differently so that they don’t suffer the same roadblocks and restrictive conditions.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute is the nation’s leader in advancing educational excellence for every child through quality research, analysis, and commentary, as well as on-the-ground action and advocacy in Ohio.