Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Another Global List...

Today's NYTimes has formally announced that the US is definitely in crisis, once again. Another global assessment of needs and speed has been conducted and it is now confirmed that the US has the slowest Internet speed in the world.

"Internet speeds in the United States have long trailed those in other countries like South Korea. Downloading videos, games and other big files often takes far longer for Americans than their counterparts across the globe.
In the latest global rankings, the United States remained a slow-poke, placing No. 26 in terms of speediest Internet connections, according to Pando Networks, a company whose software is used for sharing large files. South Korea led the list followed by Romania and Bulgaria."(1.)
What is the country to do? The list of nations with faster baud-rates for Internet delivery reads like the list from the 2008 TIMMS assessment showing how the smaller countries are outdoing the US. The country went into lockdown mode, remember?

We became a "Nation at Risk". Learning standards were the cry of the day, followed by a swoon of wailing and moaning for more tests to assess the begeebies out of anything that smiles, breathes, or quirks in our schools. It was a national calamity that a list like that was made public. Three presidential initiatives were created to move the US closer to the top. The nation then began calling for charter schools as the only way to bridge the "gap".

And the turmoil continued into the common core standards, more assessments, and currently, teacher and administrator evaluation tied to student test performance. Boy, have we improved things!

And today, while observing our high school faculty working with our students I witnessed a wonderful interaction by a social studies teacher and his class discussing the real motivation behind the American Revolution. The Socratic style of the teacher created a classroom of expectation and participation. Students were engaged discussing the application of concepts and the synthesis of those ideas with the current events in Libya, Syria and Egypt. Relevance or boring?

The QuickDraw McGraw testing company will not be able to create an assessment to capture the creativity of that teacher or that class. The College Board does not have a question like that on the SAT's, do they?
But, that has become the yardstick we will determine how to get to the top of that proverbial "list".

Back to the slowest Internet speed in the planet. It explains much about how long it takes for my data and downloads to filter down. Do you think the Governor of NYS will launch into a political crisis to improve the Internet speed of the state so that two things will improve: the US will go higher up on the list and he will improve his chances to bully his way to national office?

I can hear Congress now, NO INTERNET LEFT BEHIND will become the new mantra to save our download speeds.

The list of the fastest download speeds by country:
1) South Korea
2) Romania
3) Bulgaria
4) Lithuania
5) Latvia
6) Japan
7) Sweden
8) Ukraine
9) Denmark
10) Hong Kong
11) Netherlands
12) Finland
13) Moldova
14) Taiwan
15) Norway
16) Russian Federation
17) Iceland
18) Aland Islands
19) Belgium
20) Slovenia
21) Switzerland
22) Germany
23) Congo
24) Czech Republic
25) Hungary
26) United States

1. Kopytoff, V.G. 2011. America: Land of the Slow. The New York Times, [online] 20 September. Available at: <http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/america-land-of-the-slow/?smid=tw-nytimesbits> [Accessed 20 September 2011].