Not sure just how much learning I’ll be bringing back from this conference, at least not in the vein of technology’s role in educational change. (If I was here trying to figure out how to make a million dollars while changing education I might be having a better time of it.) But here are some random snippets from today:

  • If you are a woman in business, I mean high level business circles, you need to wear pointy shoes. Very pointy shoes. Shoes where the points get into the room about five seconds before the rest of the body. I’m trying to picture the average female high school teacher in these shoes…and find myself totally unable to do so.
  • A quote from a panelist discussing his students in the “Changing Post-Secondary Education to Meet the Needs of a Global Economy session: “Increasingly, they want it on demand. They want just what they want. They want to control it. They want choice.” Wonder how that translates to K-12. (Btw, Liz and David Weinberger blogged this session comprehensively.)
  • I got a chance to speak briefly with Dr. Susan Zelman who is the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Ohio Department of Education and I asked her about a comment she’d made on yesterday’s panel about losing students from the system to charter and voucher schools. She told me that they’ve lost upwards of 75,000 students to these alternatives. I said something along the lines that “That must pose quite a challenge.” Without missing a beat, she looked at me and said “Not enough of one.” I wonder, as I’m sure she does, how many it will take before the system recognizes its growing irrelevance.
  • From the useless statistics dept: 67% of Americans can name the Three Stooges. Only 17% can name three Supreme Court justices. 87% of college educated Americans can’t locate Iraq on a map. 65% can’t find France. China will soon become the number one English speaking country in the world. In China, kids with college degrees make nine times more than those without. In the US, they make less than twice as much. Oy.

More after the panel I’m sure…