Monday, November 1, 2010

The Times They Are Changing

AECT 2010 has come and gone. Now I am the Immediate Past-President with new and different responsibilities, including finding folks to run for President-elect next year and serving as the AECT Board liaison to the ECT Foundation. The conference was a tremendous success, thanks to Barbara Lockee, Miriam Larson, Lois Freeland and Dalinda Bond. The organization is healthy with new collaborators and affiliates all around the world; there were 30 Indonesians at AECT 2010 and they added insight and diversity to a meeting already quite rich in terms of quality and multiple perspectives. AECT is now in the very capable hands of Barbara Lockee.

The American educational system, however, does not have such a bright outlook, especially with the November 2nd election looming large in the USA. I wish I could somehow magically transfer what I have learned working with Indonesians the last five years to the voters who decide how well to support their school districts and schools. I have seen how highly Indonesians value education, from remotely located multi-grade rural schools to the Ministry of Education. It is not just talk about how an education should be valued - the Indonesians are putting substance and meaning to such words. It seems like we used to do that in America, and I am sure it happens here and there ... but considered as a large-scale system, my sense is that American public education is faltering.

With my new found free time I wish I could think of something to do that would yield substantial and sustained improvement, but I just do not know what would really help. Please help me learn how to help improve our schools - I am a slow learner, but I am willing to learn.

Mike Spector

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