August 5, 2006

Willard Daggett, demotivational speaker

Last Monday, the teachers in Hillsborough County had to suffer through a bus ride downtown and stuffing themselves in our portside arena to hear Willard Daggett, most well known for ... well, for talking and making lots of money talking about whatever strikes his fancy. From one friend in the system who e-mailed me:

He was a huge disappointment. I thought that at least he might be entertaining, but he wasn't even that. Also, at least half of what he said was pure hogwash. It seems we could've done much better.

Daggett's received a Rotten Apple from Gerald Bracey for spouting homespun "hogwash," as my friend puts it, and he then tried to sue Bracey for his work in publicizing David Lloyd's exposé of what Daggett said at an "in-service" in Grosse Point, Michigan. I've seen Daggett speak once, and it seemed to me that, yes, he spoke a lot of hogwash—e.g., I remember that when speaking at my college in the late 1990s, he claimed that there were instances of doctors performing surgery over the internet. (As far as I'm aware, there are only experiments involving long-distance surgical techniques right now, not actual surgeries, and certainly none at the time he spoke. Do you want your appendectomy done using Windows software?) My dear wife read through several of his speeches (or what was transcribed from them and available through USF's library) and decided that he hasn't seen a bandwagon he hasn't jumped on.

The cost? I'm guessing that Daggett makes $10-$20K a pop, but that's far less than the other costs—renting a facility, paying for the gas and the driving of buses, paying for security around the facility, and then paying a day's wages for everyone shipped in. Hillsborough does some things very well, but I can't see this as anything but a waste of money.

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Posted in Education policy on August 5, 2006 9:47 AM |