public perception flawed champions

FLAWED CHAMPIONS: OK, so EdSurge wasn't there but we're watching the controversy over Rupert Murdoch's appearance at last week's National Summit on Education Reform in SF. (Here's the full text of his keynote). The charged, anti-corporate "Occupy [city]" atmosphere adds another acrid flavor to the debate. Activist Joe Hill, dressed as the Count from Sesame Street, got a quick boot. So did Steve Begley, a blogger from the K-12 News Network, for an "inappropriate" question about News Corp.'s revenue goals for the education market. (At least he didn't show up in Cookie Monster garb.) If MotherJ is being fair ("Salt grain?" inquires EdSurge's Matt) then we've got to side with Begley over the organizers: pointed questions are fair game. Still, the hecklers go too far. Indiscriminately damning for-profit corporations in education is a slippery slope that will result in everyone missing out on a lot of great innovations. Think what you will of Murdoch, the man is right about the need to Steve-Jobsify edtech. Sexy, learner-centric and teacher-centric tools are badly needed. Convincing a lot of smart folks to devote brainpower to this issue is important. And then candidly airing the strengths and weaknesses of the tools and approaches--well, that's why we get up in the morning.

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