Politik

Kan Silicon Valleys Salman Khan och hans Khan Lab School modernisera USA:s traditionsbundna skolväsen

Medan USA:s stora universitet är världsledande, så brottas landets skolväsen med väldiga kvalitetsproblem. För de rika är det inget större problem, men för medelklassen och de fattiga är det en helt annan sak.

Vilket bl.a. har lett Facebooks Mark Zuckerberg att donera hela $100 miljoner till Newark i New Jersey, ett av USA:s många undermåliga skoldistrikt. Resultatet efter fem år är att alla pengarna är slut och ingenting har förändrats.

Joe Nocera skrev i New York Times i början av september: Zuckerberg’s Expensive Lesson

It’s just hitting bookstores, but Dale Russakoff’s new book, “The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools?,” has already become a source of enormous contention, both in Newark, where the story takes place, and among education advocates of various stripes.

The plotline revolves around what happened to the Newark school system after Mark Zuckerberg, the young founder and chief executive of Facebook, donated $100 million in 2010 to transform the city’s schools, a sum that was matched by the prodigious fund-raising of Cory Booker, Newark’s former mayor (now the state’s junior senator). The stated goal of the grant, according to Zuckerberg at the time, was to turn Newark’s schools into a “symbol of educational excellence for the whole nation.” Five years later, with the money basically gone, I think it is fair to say that hasn’t happened.

Nu hoppas Salman Kahn, berömd för sin Kahn Academy på YouTube att en ny metod ska lyckas.

Jason Tanz skriver i Wired Magazine: The Tech Elite’s Quest to Reinvent School in Its Own Image

a few years ago, Khan began arguing that videos weren’t enough. They were supplementing traditional education, when the entire system needed to be rethought. He wrote a book called The One World Schoolhouse that spelled out his vision, one in which schools abandon outdated practices—like homework, daily schedules composed of distinct 50-minute periods, grades, and classes organized by age—and embrace radical new methods to prepare students for the post-industrial world. Khan argued that the traditional lockstep approach to education, in which students all learn the same material on the same schedule, is anachronistic and crude; kids who are capable of learning faster are compelled to slow down, while others are forced to move on before mastering a subject, dooming them to a lifetime of incomprehension. Instead of inspiring students to think creatively, classes are filled with soul-killing lectures and emphasize conformity and obedience over passion and individuality. “The old classroom model simply doesn’t fit our changing needs,” Khan wrote. “It’s a fundamentally passive way of learning, while the world requires more and more active processing of information.”

Salman Kahn är smart och han behärskar sitt ämne. Silicon Valley leder redan en undervisningsrevolution med MOOC-rörelsen. Så jag är optimistisk. Och om Salman Kahn skulle lyckas så bör det också ge svenska lärare en chans att använda samma metoder hos oss.

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