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Dear Eric Schmidt: If I may be so impolite, our track record isn’t great, either.

28 Aug

Interesting to see the debate ensure, now that Google has stepped into the debate on falling education standards.

Google chairman, Eric Schmidt lectured the Brits saying “If I may be so impolite, your track record isn’t great,” noting that education in Britain was holding back the country’s chances of success in the digital media economy. His abrasive comments were made at the Edinburgh International Television Festival:

“The UK is home of so many media-related inventions. You invented photography. You invented TV. You invented computers in both concept and practice… Yet today, none of the world’s leading exponents in these fields are from the UK.”

Ouch!

But here’s the problem, Mr. Schmidt. While it might be shocking to not teach CS to students at a young age, isn’t it terribly frightening that we’re not doing enough to teach/inspire students how to read? This includes how to spend more time in a library and not in front of screens, how to look deeper and wider about a subject on ‘platforms ‘ that don’t have hyperlinks and cool info-graphics. The problem is not in the UK, but in the US!

This may sound odd coming from me, because I do promote digital literacy, integration social media into knowledge sharing etc. But I work with kids, too. I can see where we are headed. Down the cliff! I have heard people brag about how their Johnny is sooo good at computer games, and loves Angry Birds, but these same parents don’t even own a library card in the home.

It is not just low-income children who can’t/don’t read. After investing some $6 billion in such ambitions programs in the US, the nation that is producing tablets and eReaders, and the coolest reading apps, has essentially flatlined in reading scores.

Time to lecture to the home team, don’t you think, Mr. Schmidt?

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