Many would say Education is a Human Right, one of those "self-evident" rights we were given by our Creator.
Yet not all of education out there is quality education. There is "good enough", there is "better", and even "best", and, alas, there's a lot of "insufficient" and "failed" education, especially in poor countries, and according to some, even in our own developed world cities.
Many, many initiatives exist already to do something to fix this.
In spite of all the effort and expense, right now there is no education initiative anywhere in the world that delivers:
free, quality education for all
There are pretty good learning materials already out there, as well as methods, technology. whatnot.
Most cost money, or target only certain students or neighborhoods, need specialized teachers, or require huge infrastructure investments, very often all of the above... missing those who need quality education, but cannot afford it, or were just unlucky on where they were born.
I want to team up with you so we can
- gather usable and free/open educational resources and content and learning activities K-12+4 (that is, including professional teacher training). And not just more of it (quantity), but best of it, as it focuses toward better attitudes and values (quality)
- figure and set up best practices
- deliver it for free, or as close as possible for free
- and since we are at it, document the experience so others can improve on it, adapt it, and use it anywhere
Sugar becomes the platform of choice for this purpose.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can play a huge role in making this a success, and Sugar is probably the best ICT4E solution. Yes, I am also involved with the OLPC community, OLE, ICT4D, and quite a few other initiatives and groups, some of which have figured out part of the problem and even have a partial solution. I know this initiative is big, needs a lot of us.
As far as I know, and I have looked really hard, nobody has yet managed to make it all come together. This is our chance, to actually bring together a lot of different resources and ideas, so the right to quality education is not just theory, but something widely available.
Because of the complexity of the problem there is room for all kinds of people: technologists, educators, enthusiasts of all walks of life, people who really care that others will have a chance to grow and to learn and to excel, whatever their geography, language or riches, or lack of them, even starting with our own kids right here, who could also benefit from quality education. I want to meet with those who want to make it count, to put their skills and gumption to nothing less than changing the world, as kids everywhere can as they grow up, if just given the chance.
Oversight Board Election
The main reason I am presenting my candidacy to the 2009-2010 election is to help, in the very limited ways that I can, to keep Sugar Labs connected and aware of real needs of the teachers and learners. Having seen the approach to education that OLPC has shown, I am very concerned we might be also facing a lesser, but still genuine risk of ending up with Sugar being a most wonderful and perfect system, but not really useful for the real world needs of kids that need it most.
In many ways this aims beyond Sugar as a purpose in itself, to something like seeing Sugar as a tool for a purpose.
I am not much of a programmer, I sincerely am in awe at those who can manage the nitty gritty of coding and putting things together. I barely have found some success in working communication with the Sur list, OLPC News, and such fori. I've been a classroom teacher over 15 years, in Uruguay, the US. This to say that I just want to help things along, with feet on the ground - I do not have all the solutions, alas. This is a team effort thing, and the team, IMHO, needs to be wider and deeper.
My proposal is that, besides the great work done with code development, we will listen to the needs of the teachers, of kids and families, and focus our assembled geek abilities to help them achieve quality education, definitely not just what we think this means, but rather what they actually face as real priorities and needs that we can help with, with Sugar.