Friday, February 26, 2010

The Textbook Medium is The Message Of High School Education in the States

The inconvenient truth is that in High School education in the States approved textbooks supply the standards for education.

There is no longer any doubt in my mind that textbooks are now entering the tipping point into something new. It seems that education is traveling along the same trajectory.

Our usual focus is on the textbook as print. Today let's take a look at the political economy of education in the service of getting a more nuanced view.

In Rhode Island
All teachers fired at R.I. school. Will that happen elsewhere? { CSM }

All teachers fired at R.I. school. { CSM } "This will be a canary in the coal mine,”

Rhode Island is now ground zero for reforming America’s worst-performing schools { CSM }
The game changer is
US Secretary of #Education Arne Duncan applauded the Rhode Island decision this week." { CSM }
in Texas:
Texas "House Bill 2488 – the “open source” #textbook bill – is a watershed piece of legislation"

Open Source” Textbooks Are Reason for Grave Concern in Texas ( The Political Economy of #Education)
The game changer
Open Source” #Textbooks Are Reason for Grave Concern in Texas --> " weakening the duties of the Board,"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

If you still can't get clarity on one future for textbooks . . .

It's now clear to everyone that textbooks in their present form are over. A bit like a zombie bank waiting to be reorganized. Here's one example of what's next.
Remixable textbooks by expert authors. Free online and affordable offline. me: Read for Free. Pay for Print. Go Print !
1,000 students 30 schools in Spring '09; 40,000 students 400 colleges in the fall 2009 used free Flat World textbooks

I bet if you did the growth chart it would look like a hockey stick.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

IBM + Ricoh v Xerox v HP v ?? for MPS

Came across this piece this AM. So now it's IBM + Ricoh and Xerox(ACS) and HP. Wonder how Canon(Oce) is responding.

In any case it's all good for print. And my print-centric IRA.

IBM and Ricoh combine to help reduce print-related costs |

"IT company
IBM (NYSE: IBM PowerRating) and Ricoh (Nasdaq-OTCBB: RICOY PowerRating), a printer manufacturer, announced yesterday that they have partnered to develop an advanced device and printing management system which offers organisations the opportunity to reduce their costs and improve service availability."

Monday, February 22, 2010

What's up with Appleton Coated, NewPage, Sappi trying to get higher tariffs on Chinese paper.

To be clear all the info below comes from folks who represent Asia Pulp & Paper, the leading exporter of coated paper from China and Indonesia. It's fair to say they have skin in the game. But I consider the source and then see what makes sense to me.

To me it sounds like a couple of companies are trying to protect their market. That's not a problem. If I were a big company I would do the same thing. They do it because it's good for their company. If I were a shareholder that's precisely what I would expect.

But, please. No bullshit about good for America. Getting the United Steel Workers to join their suit, makes tactical sense, but give me a break.

Anyways here's what's on my radar so far.
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) is investigating accusations that Chinese and Indonesian paper makers have received unfair subsidies from their governments and dumped certain types of coated paper on the U.S. market. The DOC will issue an important preliminary decision on subsidies on March 1
Over at Dead Tree Editions Blog ,whose insights and info I've grown to respect. He says:
If you think prices for coated paper have declined a lot recently, hang on to your hats. A bigger drop may be just around the corner.
I'm not sure about Appleton and NewPage but am told that
"Sappi is a South African multinational corporation. Sappi is gearing up operations in Asia, while it is closing plants in the U.S.
Of course there is the whining about subsidies for foreign paper. I don't have the details handy, but I'm pretty sure my readers remember the tax credits the paper companies got from the fed for smart business decisions to take advantage of the rules.

To get the full story, Dead Tree does a serious rundown at Both Sides in Asian-Paper Debate Are Lobbying U.S. Printers
U.S. industry received about $9 billion in black liquor credits during 2009. NewPage and SAPPI received more than $400 million last year in black liquor credits, which critics claim is an abuse of a program that was intended to encourage production of new, environmentally friendly fuels.
I have no problem with the companies. They are supposed to play by the rules to maximize shareholder value. I do however, have lots of problems with a Congress that make rules without a full consideration of the unintended consequences.

Bottom line is this kind of using the government to protect margins and markets really has to stop. It's what got us into the trouble we are in.

For the more reasoned and nuanced explanation, I suggest a read through Super Capitalism by Robert Reich. or you can watch a 10 minute vid here or the 60 minute video here.

No more bullshit at Xerox. Ursula M. Burns in the New York Times

In 1969, Neil Postman made a presentation at the National Convention for the Teachers of English [NCTE], November 28, 1969, Washington, D.C.. The title is "Bullshit and the Art of Crap-Detection"

From what I think I see, Ursula M Burns knows all about it.
Xerox’s New Chief Tries to Redefine Its Culture

“Terminal niceness,” is how she describes an aspect of Xerox’s culture, during her all-hands speech. “We are really, really, really nice.”

Maybe the “Xerox family,” she says, should act a bit more like a real family.

“When we’re in the family, you don’t have to be as nice as when you’re outside of the family,” she says. “I want us to stay civil and kind, but we have to be frank — and the reason we can be frank is because we are all in the same family.”

Nods of recognition ripple across the audience.

“We know it. We know what we do,” she continues, describing meetings where some people present and others just listen. “And then the meeting ends, and we leave and go, ‘Man, that wasn’t true.’ I’m like, ‘Why didn’t you say that in the meeting?’ ”