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I know you mean well, so please understand that this is not intended as an attack. Tone does not come across well in something like this

I do, no problem.

Are there 170,000 quality singing acts that you can find on iTunes? Not a chance
Yes, that was the point, I don't need 170,000 ways of singing a pop song. So for a lot of primary school courses, it seems like we don't need to spend money on 20 different text books (across the country) on 4th grade math, for instance. We could use a "best expert" course on that. Students (assuming internet access, which is mostly true these days) could access these types of course as school and at home. Some money saved, give some of it to the good teachers. A technology that allows teachers to better gauge each student continuously also allows teachers to directly interact with specific students on the topics they are having problems with. Maybe class sizes can get bigger with no detriment to students or teachers because of this better feedback. Money saved, give some of it to the good teachers. In my organic chemistry class in college there were at least 100 students, but in my Mark Twain class there were 12. Some subjects lend themselves to large classes and some don't. We don't seem to take that into account in primary schools.

Maybe KahnAcademy is just a first step. Maybe I just have a belief in the future and that things can change for the better if we think outside of the box.

how exactly do we define competitive
That should be easy. I am guessing private schools have that figured out. They pay what it takes to get teachers that are good enough to attract parents that will pay the tuition.

In my first 4 years of teaching, my salary dropped each year due to various budget issues
and if there had been layoffs, you would go before a really bad lazy teacher with seniority.

I got out of that system and now work in a top-notch private school. The difference is night and day. While I understand that there are major monetary reasons why things are different, there are also many things that are done here that JUST MAKE SENSE!
yes, that is my biggest point! forget technology or Kahn, etc. Allow flexibility. Allow accountability. In DC, the union spent $2million to unelect a mayor that was making a difference via Michelle Rhee. That made me so sad. My good friend has a Masters in biology from a good school and is paid well to teach in a private school. She is not allowed to teach in a public school because she does not have a "certificate". No credit for years of proven teaching ability and success? Who makes some of these silly rules? Who has an interest in blocking competition? Hmmm.

I embrace technology when it is helpful and useful. But it should not replace basic learning
Yes a tool, one of many. A piece of the puzzle, but maybe too small right now.

Maybe one day we will all figure it out.
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