[Edu-sig] Computer Languages via Immersion Experiences

Tom Hoffman tom.hoffman at gmail.com
Sun Oct 24 21:17:15 CEST 2004

On Sun, 24 Oct 2004 13:36:04 -0400, Arthur <ajsiegel at optonline.net> wrote:

> The medium answer is that when Kay addresses an auditorium full of educators
> convened by Disney while on the payroll of Disney, and addresses the room
> about the future of the education of our children he is doing either on
> behalf of Disney or on behalf of our children.  Whichever one he is doing,
> he is being unfair to the other.  And if he is asking us to believe there is
> no potential conflict, he is being outrageous and insulting in the extreme.

Not that this is going to change Arthur's mind, but I can add a little
context to his concerns about Disney in education.

Disney made a very generous grant to a public charter school in
Providence that aided the school's staff immensely in establishing an
innovative and successful inner city school.  All Disney wanted in
return was to promote the project and thus gain good PR.  This was
probably eight years ago, and I imagine Disney was flush with money
then.  A couple years later I think they had to tighten their belts
and virtually eliminated the entire project nationwide.  I'm guessing,
but I think Squeak's Disney period may have occurred in a similar
timeframe.  I would speculate that because these investments DIDN'T
have strings attached, the limited PR benefit Disney was getting from
them caused them to be axed when money became short.  Nonetheless,
schools that got grants still received hundreds of thousands of
dollars that they wouldn't have seen otherwise.

People who look for reasons to complain about the sources of money in
primary and secondary education obviously don't work in schools, or at
least not US schools.  There are strings attached to every dollar, and
government money these days has more strings than corporate money.  In
fact, the most successful strategy for funding a school seems to be to
tell whatever the grantor whatever they want to hear, take their
money, and then do whatever you were going to do in the first place,
but I digress.

Making blanket judgements about which sources of money are acceptable
isn't a smart way to run a school.  You have to look at each case and
make an individual decision based on the entire context of both the
product in question and the needs of your community.

Tom Hoffman

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