In this high-tech age, a big education breakthrough was inevitable. But I thought the big breakthrough would happen here, in America. Instead, a French entrepreneur is the brains behind a revolutionary approach to "homework."
Stephane Boukris is founder of a website that helps schoolchildren turn in their homework on time. For a mere 5 euros (6 dollars), children can purchase answers to simple math problems. If they need additional "assistance," they can have older children do their homework for them. And, for the small fee of 80 euros (100 dollars), they can purchase their final exam, an end-of-year presentation, complete with slides and speaking notes.
The idea has outraged teachers in France. One teacher in a Paris suburb describes the website as "shocking" because it "defeats the purpose of education." Worse yet, it turns kids "into consumers," sending the message that "for the right price, you can get the results you want."
But Mr. Boukris defends his venture. He notes that there was a gap in the market, and he filled it-- "with a dose of insolence, a zest of arrogance, and the Internet." Besides, he says, letting kids buy homework isn't just giving kids the fish:it's teaching them "how to fish."
It won't be long before this business model reaches our shores. And I wouldn't be surprised if it's expanded:the US version would no doubt allow teachers to buy the right answers as well.