Rupert Murdoch is slated to attend ed tech event in San Francisco
Reported by Ana Tintocalis
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush says he knows how to fix education in America and he’s convening a national summit in San Francisco today to promote his ideas. Bush formed The Foundation for Excellence in Education after he was termed out of office four years ago.
For this week’s event, he’s recruited media tycoon Rupert Murdoch to be a headliner. For those who don’t know what the controversial name has to do with education, it brings up some questions.
“I was dumbfounded. Rupert Murdoch as the keynote speaker? Would you want your children in a classroom with him?” said Ken Tray a San Francisco history teacher and union leader.
What Tray and others might not know is that last year, Murdoch purchased Wireless Generation, an ed tech company that produces learning software, and is behind the School of One program in New York, which tailors each students’ day based on data-driven performance records.
Patricia Levesque, from Foundation for Excellence in Education, says Bush has been on the forefront of provocative reforms, including expanding access to online schools.
In fact, the key focus of this year’s summit is innovation in classroom technology – specifically blended learning. Levesque says the foundation chose San Francisco as the site for the Continue reading
New York City schools and Wireless Generation (owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.) are forming close alliances.
According to WNYC, the New York Department of Education “plans to award a no-bid contract for building a data system to the same company that built New York City’s ARIS system for tracking student achievement.”
The Brooklyn-based Wireless Generation will receive almost $27 million for its work on the project. In a document given to the state comptroller’s office, education department officials in Albany explained why it wanted to give the project to Wireless Generation without considering other bids. They stated that the cost of using Wireless Generation is reasonable, that it had experience in New York City, and that the state only has four years to build the new data system.
Though former Chancellor Klein is now a vice president for educational technology at News Corp, and was involved in the ARIS project for New York City, Wireless Generation insists he had “nothing to do with” the new state contract.
Company spokesman Zach Silverstein says Wireless told the state it was interested in the contract back in June of 2009, a year and a half before Klein joined News Corp. The state wanted to build a system for tracking children from kindergarten through the end of high school as part of its Race to the Top application. It eventually won the $700 million federal grant.
And yesterday, News Corp. announced its hiring of two public-school officials to helm its education division, including Kristen Kane, the former COO of the New York DOE, who will take over as the COO of the New Corp. unit.
I spoke with Christopher Rush, the co-founder, Chief Product Officer School of One yesterday about plans for the program’s growth possibly outside New York City, and will report on that in the coming days.
Joel Klein believes they could, according to a New York Post article.
The former New York City Schools Chancellor, under whose leadership the School of One project was launched, now works for News Corp., which owns The Post.
From the article:
Klein was hesitant to delve into details about his new endeavors, but he said one project would likely attempt to address teacher shortages in high-poverty countries by using cellphone technology.
Picture students learning how to add through animated math video games delivered onto their cellphones, for example.
“Part of my theory on Africa is to think about how you design a system for a continent where there’s a lot of communication mechanisms and no teachers,” he said.
News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch‘s mega-media company also recently bought Wireless Generation for $360 million. Christopher Rush, co-founder of School of One, also works for Wireless Generation.
From the Wall Street Journal:
People familiar with the matter said News Corp. is interested in making other acquisitions and investments in technologies designed to change the way children learn, though it expects future deals to be significantly smaller and focused on bolstering Wireless Generation. The company, which also owns The Wall Street Journal, will likely consider technologies aimed at improving how teachers teach and how educational materials are distributed, among others, one of these people said.