Vicki Bigham and I did a show with Larry Jacobs on Education Talk Radio this morning about EdNET.  We had some fun bantering about the conference and trends in the industry.  I got a chance to brag on the Packers and shared that I own an actual stinking badge (see below).

Enjoy:

stinking_badge

stinking_badge

 

Yesterday, in a discussion about on-line opposition to certain ideas, a lawyer employed this term and I was quietly charmed. I’ve been engaging in wanton and irresponsible bloggery since 2007.

I combines several powerful base words into one all inclusive and deliciously snide put down:

Blogging (obviously)

Posted in:
Updated:

http://www.educationbusinessblog.com/files/2013/09/Screen-Shot-2013-09-11-at-4.28.36-PM-e1379029825425.pngOne of the hard lessons I’ve learned over my career is that anything worth doing needs to be done several times before you can evaluate it.  The Experience Curve as a concept has been with us since 1885, yet many are still unaware of this common sense insight on how people learn and what it means for management decisions.

Here are a couple of examples, one from observing schools adopt new curriculum materials and one from my experience as a CEO.  Both are relevant to education companies.

New Curriculum Materials

Merge sign
The Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) and the Association of American Publishers School Division (AAP) announced their intent to merge last week. I’m currently the Board President at AEP. As one of the principals in the deal I thought it would be useful to share my perspective on why we are combining forces.

Why does an association exist?
It helps to start with a quick review of why professional and trade associations exist. Speaking only for myself, these four issues form the core of why I have invested time in several associations over the past 20+ years.

FilamentLogoI’m jazzed to report that I started as Filament Games’ new CEO this week. I consider Filament the global leader in crafting learning games with an emphasis on the classroom. Over the past eight years Filament has worked with more than 40 organizations, built over 50 learning games, and won numerous awards. It is a very cool company doing important work.

Long time readers know that I am passionate about tackling the power of games for formal learning (see the Serious Games thread), so this is a natural move.

The learning games space is experiencing a boom – more than half of the most recent SBIR grants from the DOE were for cutting edge learning games. Filament was one of the awardees. Games are a bright spot in a troubled industry.

DSC04543
The Common Core Standards are causing a lot of angst across the world of education.  Fortunately Brandt Redd is here to help.

Over at Of That he lays it all out in a lucid and well linked overview “The Common Core State Standards – For My Concerned Friends.”   He cuts through the BS clearly and cleanly and describes how CCSS fits in the overall scheme of the Gates Foundation’s vision for personalized education.

Last week’s announcement by the Republican National Committee (RNC) that they are opposed to CCSS has added to the uncertainty hanging over the direction of the market in the next 3-4 years.  If CCSS becomes more than minor skirmish in the political wars we’ll have a period of extended uncertainty about how materials should be crafted.  The angry maw of lens hungry politicians could make a six course meal of various conspiracy theories.

Operations Department Sign CAEducation publishers have taken a lot of fire in the last few years – many believe that we are too big, too powerful, and that things would be better if teachers just wrote their own materials or used free stuff.

So why do we continue to exist? Are publishers a necessary evil soon to be eliminated by a tsunami of free OER content, or is there an ongoing beneficial role in public education that publishers can fill?

This post is one publisher’s take on what justifies our place in education. This isn’t intended as a direct refutation of critiques of publishers, any industry as large as ours (over $10 billion) has plenty of opportunities to improve what we do. Rather, I focus on some of the lesser appreciated positive contributions we make. It also isn’t a takedown of OER materials, which have earned a permanent place at the table.

Gas Shut Off SignWe’ve all heard the voices of DOOM about the looming budget cuts from the sequester. I call BS, at least as it affects K12 education.

Laziness often drives how we talk about education funding. Because it is easy to track federal spending we focus our energy there. But this willfully ignores the plain fact that 90% of funding for education comes from state and local government, the Feds only account for 10%.

Do the math. A 10% sequester driven cut in Federal spending means a 1% cut to total education spending.

PCI LogoPCI Education was sold to PRO-ED, Inc. in mid-December 2012. Since then I’ve fielded a lot questions about the sale. This post is an attempt, from my perspective as PCI’s former CEO, to answer the big questions in one place.*

What Is The Rationale For The Deal?

There are several good reasons for combining the operations.

Foot on nailsLast December I penned (keyed?) a relatively optimistic piece about education spending, with the conclusion that the textbook adoption market was in a crash but supplemental materials were in a short-term stall. I had it right on the first point and wrong on the second – we have seen a full blown market crash across the board this year. There are still sound reasons for long term optimism, but the near term remains grim.

After the election I decided to read Nate Silver’s book “The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – But Some Don’t”. I was hoping to find insights on why I’d gotten it wrong, and so far I’ve not been disappointed.

Early on he outlines the distinction between risk and uncertainty in a way that is highly relevant to how we understand where we are in education publishing.