A Signature Bloomberg-Era Education Initiative at a Crossroads

In the waning months of the Bloomberg administration, one of the mayor’s signature education initiatives, the so-called innovation zone, is being buffeted by a series of changes, from budget cuts to city-wide implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

As it embarks on its fifth year, the iZone highlights both the promise and the hype of the kind of outside-the-box thinking that was a hallmark of the Bloomberg years. It also demonstrates how challenging it can be to disseminate even the best ideas within New York City’s large and ever-changing public school system.

The premise behind the iZone is that digital technology, new approaches to scheduling the school day and teachers’ time, and projects based on real-world problems and tailored to student interests will both expand the horizons of the traditional classroom and inspire kids to learn.

Among the questions this story, which was published this week in Gotham Gazette, tries to answer:

–Where does classroom innovation come from?

–Is education technology a way to “teacher-proof” the classroom? Or does it work best when it is used by teachers to enhance their instruction?

–What role have businesses, such as Apple and Amplify, played within the education department and how do business ideas—everything from the role of strong leaders to “hackathons”—translate to the school house?

You can find the story here.

If you would like to listen to a podcast of my interview on WBAI’s Talk Back, please click here:

http://www.wbai.org/server-archive.html

 To access the radio segment, click on the “Tuesday, April 23, 2013 3:00 pm”. I was interviewed at 3:30, so you would need to fast-forward half-an-hour to hear the segment.
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