Economist hosts debate on education

September 25, 2007

It’s a distinguished magazine. Analysis in the magazine is typically stellar. They promise to invite top people to debate. It might be interesting.

I got this e-mail, below from the Economist. I plan to check it out, and vote.

Publisher's newsletter

Introducing The Economist Debate Series. A Severe Contest.

Dear Reader,

I’m delighted to invite you to be part of an extraordinary first for

Our new Debate Series is an ongoing community forum where propositions about topical issues will be rigorously debated in the Oxford style by compelling Speakers. The first topic being debated is Education and The Economist is inviting our online audience to take part by voting on propositions, sharing views and opinions, and challenging the Speakers.

Five propositions have now been short-listed to address the most far-reaching and divisive aspects of the education debate covering: the place of foreign students in higher education; the position of corporate donors; and the role of technology in today’s classrooms. The highest ranking propositions will be debated, with the first launching on Oct 15th.

Cast your vote

Choose the most resonant propositions to be debated from the list below:

Education – The propositions:1. This house believes that the continuing introduction of new technologies and new media adds little to the quality of most education.2. This house proposes that governments and universities everywhere should be competing to attract and educate all suitably-qualified students regardless of nationality and residence.

3. This house believes that companies donate to education mainly to win public goodwill and there is nothing wrong with this.

4. This house believes that the “digital divide” is a secondary problem in the educational needs of developing countries.

5. This house believes that social networking technologies will bring large changes to educational methods, in and out of the classroom

Join the Debate

The debate schedule is as follows:

  • Sep 17th-Oct 12th – Vote for your favorite proposition and join the open forum to discuss topics
  • Oct 15th – Winning proposition is revealed and the Debate begins
  • Oct 18th – Rebuttals. Share your comments on issues so far and vote for your winning side
  • Oct 23th – Closing arguments by the Speakers. Post any additional comments you would like to share and vote for your winner
  • Oct 26th – The debate winner is announced.

To receive debate updates sign up now. We will then contact you to announce the winning proposition and details of the debate as it unfolds.

I look forward to you joining us and your fellow Economist readers for this lively debate. In the meantime, check the site to track which proposition is winning, and to view guest participants and the announcement of key Speakers at

Yours sincerely,

Ben Edwards

Hey Bush, Perry! Texas hurricane victims need your help

September 25, 2007

Don’t forget about the victims of Katrina who still need help. But add to your worries the more than 50,000 families in Texas whose homes were seriously damaged by Hurricane Rita who have had no inkling of help, now two years after the storm.

Hurricane Rita hitting Texas

Gov. Rick Perry declared the state disaster; Pres. George Bush declared the national distaster — but only about 1% of the money allocated has been spent, and Texans are hurting.

FrecklesCassie, the author of the blog Political Teen Tidbits, makes the case for action here: “Hurricane Damage isn’t the Only Problem .”

Drop a letter to Rick Perry; drop a letter to George Bush. Tell them to get off their duffs and do something. That’s what they get the big hair and make the big bucks for.

Copy Cassie’s post and send it to your best friends in e-mail; put up a blog post and link to Cassie’s post.

Where are Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn when Texas needs them? Cornyn is up for election next year, and he’s not all over this?

Looks to me like the Democrats could pick up a U.S. Senate seat in Texas, too. Texas wouldn’t be ignored like this if Phil Gramm and George Bush were still alive . . .

Public education entrenched in Utah

September 25, 2007

From the Utah History Encyclopedia on-line, we get a solid if brief description of the highlights of public education in Utah.

Here are the roots of the deep opposition to vouchers in Utah.  Several times Utah communities started their own private schools, only to turn them over to public entities, especially after 1890.  Utahns regard public schools as their own.  Voucher advocates seem unable to notice that an assault on the public schools is an assault on Utah communities, for that reason.

Plus, as The Deseret Morning News reported Sunday, Utah’s schools often achieve excellence.  Utah parents don’t like the idea of taking money away from successful schools their kids attend to fund untested, unregulated private schools.

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