January
5th 2010
Disrupting Class Means Future Change for School System, Teacher Unions

Posted under Education Politics & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Online Schools & Teachers

So with this new year of 2010, I’m really thinking all futuristic. Yesterday it was brain skills testing. But what about technological changes that promise to transform our education system?

That’s what Harvard professor Clayton Christensen writes about in his 2009 book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. If you can’t afford the time or the money for the book, then you’ll at least want to check out this audio/video presentation on the topic by Dr. Scott McLeod (H/T Mike Antonucci).

What’s most fascinating is that Dr. McLeod’s presentation is made directly to the NEA Board of Directors, representing the nation’s largest teachers union and one of the most powerful political forces in existence. Toward the end of his presentation, he candidly tells his audience that the implications of disruptive innovation for the NEA are:

  1. More teacher duties can be outsourced, so there will be a need for fewer teachers; and
  2. With a smaller and more dispersed membership base, the NEA’s political and financial power will be weakened.

Nothing like a little frank talk to help stir the union to adapt to new realities or face the threat of future irrelevance. Interestingly, McLeod’s message is very similar to the one I shared with you from Dr. Terry Moe’s iVoices podcast interview last summer. His book Liberating Learning — co-authored with John Chubb — is another one you may want to get your hands on.

We’re boldly heading into the future, but that doesn’t mean we all can’t get in some more old-fashioned reading, too.

3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Disrupting Class Means Future Change for School System, Teacher Unions”

  1. Remainders: Tisch hosts RttT summit for lawmakers in Brooklyn | GothamSchools on 05 Jan 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    [...] Harvard professor told the NEA that technological advances will mean schools will need fewer [...]

  2. ceolaf on 06 Jan 2010 at 8:39 pm #

    So, a business school professor predicts what is going to happen to schools?

    Not a historian. Not an education expert. Not an expert in distance learning.

    But he’s from Harvard, and that mean’s he right?

  3. Ben on 07 Jan 2010 at 11:17 am #

    If you don’t want to believe the Harvard business professor’s analysis of business activity is applicable to schools, you also can check out the other book cited — co-authored by an education entrepreneur and and a longtime education researcher.

    No one says you have to agree with their conclusions. But you should work to find a much stronger case to dismiss them summarily.

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