[Edu-sig] more economics of Python...

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Tue Mar 31 17:04:12 CEST 2009

Two things I got feedback on, actually three:

(0) linking increasing FOSS mastery in schools to more merit pay, with
already-employed teachers getting time to learn on the job (called
"inservice") is a likely model, charters an easier place to start
where inertia runs high

(1) having bevy of numerate FOSS-trained faculty run more of an
inhouse stack, with students apprenticing, leaving records (school
lore), is a side-benefit of getting these new competencies, shows
teachers applying their skills daily (good role modeling, more than
just making Moodles)

(2) Pycon is committed to a private sector business track but could
spin off a more academic incarnation.  Jeff Rush and I were yakking
about marketing something like:


class Edu(Pycon):
   where = "in Portland, 2010"
   def __init__(self, me):
       self.me = me

>>> lucky_me = Edu("registered!")
>>> lucky_me.where
'in Portland, 2011'

i.e. we could do an EduPycon at a college campus someplace (instead of
a hotel).  Pacific University?  No need to wait for Portland (a FOSS

Gregor, sorry to miss your talk on the turtle module.

Ian Benson, Steve Holden and I managed to take in the Bucky Fuller
exhibit on Sunday, though we went through pretty quickly, given Ian
and I both had planes to catch.  I bought a museum membership, maybe
will make it again before it closes in June?


Thinking more about (0), there's this tendency to want to escape high
school teaching if the skills get that good i.e. when I was doing grad
school courses towards becoming a high school math teacher (which
happened later that year), a lot of the students at St. Peter's
College were going the other direction i.e. increasing technology
skills to move on from teaching (too much burnout, not enough academic
freedom, too low status).

New charter designs could fix a lot of these problems e.g. LEP High
blends in an entrepreneurship model wherein seniors start apprenticing
and/or running their own prototype businesses.

This keeps the teachers actively engaged in a more private sector
mindset, means bridging Pycon and EduPycon shouldn't be that hard.

Small wrinkle is the state teachers' union (or some minority within
it) hates LEP High because it makes everyone else look bad, in terms
of its using Edubuntu, teaching more relevant tracks, emphasis on
early college enrollment etc. (not unlike Matsu District AK in that

Moves by the board to close it down are only serving to draw attention
to the contrast, i.e. has the potential to backfire big time.

The Obama Administration is already on record in support of
charter-driven reforms so this is not some traditional "labor democrat
versus aristocracy" puzzle (LEP High mostly serves underprivileged, is
a bona fide public school when it some to philosophy, recruitment,
emphasis on citizenship (in the sense of developing skills for
participation in democracy)).

Anyway, not wanting to bore ya'll with a lot of local politics, just
thinking out loud about the "FOSS API" in our school systems i.e.
where is the interface and how is it shaped?  I expect we'll explore
this at OS Bridge in June, among other venues.  Maybe think about
coming?  Portland is a great town and we have a 400 room hotel we'd
like to put you in. :)  Last day for early bird registration and/or
talk submission is today though.


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