Nick and Ted's
Excellent IBM E-venture:

Whose Standards?
Opinioning on E-mail about the Education Summit II

By Nick Carbone and Ted Nellen

In late March a number of the nation's governors and business leaders met at IBM's Palisades Conference Center to discuss the state of U.S. education, drawn by a genuine concern for schools and children, at what is called, The 1996 National Education Summit. In this electronic mail exchange, Nick Carbone and Ted Nellen take a look at the Summit based on the information contained at its web site.

Jump right in to the discussion:

To Nick from Ted
To Ted from Nick

Or check out some background:

The Education Summit Web Site included a forum open to all who could reach it to participate in a discussion of the issues raised. The forum had three areas: (1) Technology and Education, (2) Standards and Education, and (3) Comments about the Summit website. Ted posted one of the first messages in each forum:

  1. Technology in Education
  2. Whose Standards?
  3. Where are the Educators?

Below is Ted's first message to Nick, wherein Ted suggests a way for he and Nick to begin their discussion. In it, Ted notes that one response he received to his post On Standards and Education was signed Bill Gates. Naturally Ted was curious to see if perhaps the most powerful man in computers and media had actually written the piece, so Ted e-mailed a copy of the message to Bill Gates. Below is the e-mail Ted sent to Bill and Bill's reply.

Shortly after their exchange, the bogus message was removed from the forum.

On Wed, 17 Apr 1996, Ted Wrote to Nick:

Ok I'll start.
I would suggest that we begin with my posts. I posted 3 of them, one to each of the three forum areas on the first day the forum opened up. On Technology and Education I was the second person to post. On Standards and Education I responded second to the first post. On Comments about this website I was the first to post.

Perhaps we can begin with my posts and then take on other issues as they arise.

Some fun history:
An interesting thing happened on the standards post. A person named Bill Gates responded to my post. I wrote to Gates (see **** area below for our correspondence.) asking him if he really wrote this post. He didn't and had it removed. The site says post removed. We have it because I saved it.

Boy did he act fast.

From: Ted Nellen[SMTP:tnellen@mbhs.bergtraum.k12.ny.us]
Sent: Monday, March 25, 1996 7:57 PM
To: Bill Gates
Subject: Setting Standards The Old Fashioned Way: The Marketplace

Mr Gates,
Did you really write this letter?
If so I will respond, otherwise, I will disregard it. Thanks for your attention to this matter.


The post from the forum, now deleted from the forum archives (and thus a Kairos exclusive) as forwarded to Bill from Ted:

[Forum Masthead]

Setting Standards The Old Fashioned Way: The Marketplace

Standards and Education

* What do we mean by Standards? by VT Peacemaker, 3/24/96 [NEW]
o Whose Standards? by Ted Nellen, 3/24/96 [NEW]

Setting Standards The Old Fashioned Way: The Marketplace
by Bill Gates, 3/25/96

Ted Nellen's sad lament about how "a society without standards" can even dream about setting educational standards reminds me of a joke quite popular these days regarding Microsoft software engineers. The joke raises the question, "How many Microsoft programmers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?" The answer: None --- Bill Gates just redefines the standard as darkness!" In education, especially American public K-12 education, there has recently been many heated debates that echo Ted Nellen's desire for multi-culturalism, multi-standards, and a different set of standards for each diverse community. That approach would quickly turn America into a Yugoslavia, or even worse, a Miami. Sorry, Ted, but you're way off track. America needs to graduate kids from our high schools who can read, write and computer --- whether it's with my Windows95 or Lou's OS/2. All of us --- in the information industry or the education business MUST set measurable standards of performance and accountability for our students and schools AND our teachers and administrators. Perhaps Educational America can learn a few lessons from Corporate America about goals and standards setting and accountability. And I don't expect the Bureaucracy in the education establishment to like being woken up --- or downsized and replaced or augmented by technology to like it any more than the deadwood businessmen and politicians liked it when they got kicked out of office. Setting standards for the emerging global economy and marketplace which will be brimmed full with competition is today's reality. And redefining standards based on everybody's individual take on diversified cultures all being equal is stupidity


Ted 8-)


>From billg@MICROSOFT.comTue Mar 26 14:41:21 1996
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 1996 09:54:00 -0800
From: Bill Gates [billg@MICROSOFT.com]
To: 'Ted Nellen' [tnellen@mbhs.bergtraum.k12.ny.us]
Subject: RE: Setting Standards The Old Fashioned Way: The Marketplace
No I did not write this. Where did it appear?

To Nick from Ted
To Ted from Nick

KAIROS Kairos: A Journal for Teachers of Writing in Webbed Environments.
Vol. 1 No. 2 Summer 1996