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Two Million Minutes: The 21st Century Solution Debuts Thursday

Nothing in media, let alone film, has captured so well how American schools are being outperformed as Bob Compton’s Two Million Minutes. The original 2MM showed how 6 high school students – two each from the US, India and China – spent their two million minutes in grades 9-12. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t ruin it for you, but I’ll tell you this: there’s a difference.

The film raised several general questions: What do we do about it? Is anyone already doing anything? Is it even possible?

Sounds like “Two Million Minutes: The 21st Century Solution” addresses a few of those questions. I’ll find out Thursday night what this mystery school does that the others don’t.

Event will unveil new documentary, Two Million Minutes: The 21st Century Solution, demonstrating that ordinary students can excel if given the right environment

(Washington, D.C. – September 15, 2009) – The Education Equality Project (www.edequality.org) and American Solutions (www.americansolutions.com) announce today that Reverend Al Sharpton and Former Speaker Newt Gingrich will host a major education reform event on Thursday, September 17 in Washington, D.C.

The event will feature commentary from Gingrich and Sharpton and be the platform for the world premiere of a new documentary called Two Million Minutes: The 21st Century Solution. The film, conceived and produced by venture capitalist and entrepreneur Robert A. Compton, is a sequel to his 2007 internationally acclaimed film Two Million Minutes – A Global Examination. This first film analyzed how six students from the U.S., India and China prioritized their four years or “two million minutes” of high school and demonstrated that the Asian students were, academically, years ahead of their American peers.

Now, two years later, Compton will unveil the sequel. In Two Million Minutes: The 21st Century Solution, Compton discovers and reveals an open-enrollment school in the U.S. that teaches “ordinary” students at an extraordinarily high academic level. This school, located in a largely low-income area, beautifully demonstrates that American students are capable of competing academically with the best in the world given the right curriculum, the right teachers and the right inspiration and expectations for success.

“I was shocked to find what I consider to be the world’s best high school in one of the poorest parts of America,” said Compton. “This school is educating its students at a level that is globally competitive and preparing them to compete in the 21st century economy. As Education Secretary Duncan and President Obama have both stated, charters are supposed to be laboratories of innovation that we can all learn from.” The U.S. needs to take some pointers from this school and apply them widely across our public school systems to sufficiently prepare our students for the global workforce.”

The school and its location will be revealed during the film’s premiere on Thursday.

“This is one of the most important events I will participate in all year,” said Gingrich. “Education reform is crucial to America’s success, and Compton’s films bring the issues and solutions into light. I implore every American to watch these films and demand change. Our future depends on it.”

The event and film premiere will take place on Thursday, September 17th from 6-9pm ET at the National Association of Homebuilders, located at 1201 15th Street, NW, Washington D.C. 20005. Attendance is by invitation only.

For more information on Compton or to purchase copies of his documentary films, visit www.2mminutes.com.

World Trade Center and Pentagon Terrorist Attacks, 2009 Update

Last year we were winning 7-0; now it’s 8-0.

I show no mercy – none – to the folks in education who say that NCLB, various teaching/administrative/reform initiatives, etc. inspire “terror” in children or that their practitioners are “terrorists.” On this point, I am almost entirely alone in terms of vocal, specific criticism.

Watch the video embedded in my re-post below – you’ll see why I never, ever let it slide.

[Originally posted in September, 2008]

We’re winning 7-0, and I’d like to go for the shutout.

I don’t really use the phrases “9/11″ or “September 11.” Instead, I refer to the events 7 years ago today as what they were – a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the United States. I understand that “9/11″ and the like are shorthand; it’s a convenient way to refer to a complex event. But I don’t bother with the day for the same reason I don’t say “December 25″ when I really mean Christmas.

Mark Steyn has reprinted his September 12, 2001 column called “A War for Civilization” and added a bit of perspective – it demands a careful read, and should be read annually.

For those of you who don’t yet read Evan Coyne Maloney’s Brain Terminal, start with his brilliant, harrowing ‘Hell on Earth’ essay. Then watch the video memorial Crystal Morning, edited from David Vogler’s footage:

I got a package in the mail from my brother about two days after the attacks [it was beef jerky and apple cider]. It included this note:

world trade center attack note

The Useless Education Media, Chapter #42,783: EdWeek Edition

The education media is, as a whole, ineffective at educating the public. [Yes, there's a little bit of irony there.] Sometimes ed writers don’t know enough about a subject or practice to write a complete story. Sometimes they turn to tabloid-style baiting, partly because it’s easy, partly because it can be entertaining.

The biggest problem? They’re just plain lazy.

It’s a brash blanket statement, but it’s one that coverage of the most recent education blockbuster bears out.

There’s a bit of fatigue related to the Obama-education-speech coverage, so now’s really not the time to go into detail. Having said that, I’ll present a tiny variation on the theme.

EdWeek’s new “District Dossier” blog is right on top of another controversy [!]. Arlington Independent School District [Arlington, TX] chose not to broadcast President Obama’s speech as it happened – they didn’t want to interrupt instructional time/schedules, they said – but is busing fifth graders to Cowboys Stadium for a Super Bowl-related education event. The list of speakers at that event includes former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura.

Fear not! EdWeek’s on the scene!

Well, they’re on the scene – if linking to other news outlets’ stories and failing to present the situation with any degree of relevant detail is “on the scene.” The kicker is that they give you the issue, then make you do all the work to get to the truth.

Lazy.

At the end they ask you to make a judgment based on their useless coverage. They’d like you to spur on that “conversation” web 2.0 wants so desperately – i.e., you comment on their story and they get traffic. Giving you complete news simply isn’t a priority.

Here’s the response I left on the District Dossier site:

“What do you think? Is there a double standard at work or are some people being overly sensitive?”

It’s impossible to tell from such incomplete coverage. In order to answer the question, we’ve got to dredge up the information EdWeek didn’t – or that EdWeek didn’t bother to lay out for us.

EdWeek failed to explain what the Super Bowl ed program is about. By reading this summary, you’d think the event revolved around George W. Bush. Does it? To what extent? What’s on the docket at this event?

Research it yourself, folks – EdWeek’s not interested in telling you.

We want to read facts about the story – real details, not gossipy, incomplete speculation or the illogical rambling of yet another interview subject residing on the fringe.

Give us something to work with and we might be able to answer your question.

The investigative talents of the current ed journalists make Maxwell Smart look like Hercule Poirot. The education sector and the general public are worse off for it.

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