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Monday, July 11, 2016

High Tech Takeover of Our Schools

If you are a public school parent, even in the tree-lined suburbs, you need to know the facts below. If you like what you hear, that is fine. If you don't, it is time for you to speak up and let your school district know.

No matter what your district may call this, its real name is Competency Based Education (CBE).
As you can see below, Pennsylvania is near the top of the process in implementing CBE. One can't help but wonder why the roll-out of CBE has been so covert. Are they afraid parents won't want it?
Why not simply tell parents that these changes are happening instead of implementing them bit by bit?





In this Baltimore County blog, the bloggers describes themselves as, "A grassroots education coalition working to slow down the high-tech takeover of Baltimore County Public Schools." Is it inevitable that our schools be the targets of a hostile takeover by the tech industry, which want to get its hands on our tax dollars?

So what is Competency Based Education?

“CBE delivers curriculum, instruction and assessments through online programming owned by third-party (corporate) organizations that are paid for with your tax dollars. Proponents of CBE use catchy language like “personalized” and “individualized” learning. Translation? Children seated alone interfacing with a computer, which monitors and adjusts the materials according to the inputs keyed in by the child.”


Let’s summarize what the outcomes of the CBE paradigm of public schools will be:
  • Disenfranchises teachers who are replaced by computers and third party providers (now LEAs with access to student private data). This erodes a unionized teacher workforce.
  • Eliminates collaborative interactive learning activities in favor of individualized one-on-one learning with a computer program
  • Course credit will no longer be counted by credit hour but by completion of a series of exercises, tasks or data driven curriculum which provides the student with a “badge of completion” (see Pearson).  The amount of time spent in a classroom experience is no longer a determining factor in evaluating success.
  • And I add to this list: the push for blended learning, online learning, and flipped classrooms.

Here, Emily Talmage blogs about the slick marketing and PR used to manipulate the public into thinking that CBE is what we want. While private schools are teaching creativity, joyful learning, critical thinking, and learning to question world issues, public school parents are being manipulated that "back to basics" is what our kids need. They just don't want parents knowing that CBE is exactly back to basics, compartmentalization of skills and passive learning.



Read here to see how they provide a toolkit so leaders can reframe "... the education conversation through a core story approach."



They even suggest ways to tweet:



There is a place for technology in our schools. It is an important aspect of learning, research, and communication in the 21st century. That said, technology should be the slave, not the master.

The PR people want you to think their ideas are "valid" and that anyone who questions them is a "critic" who is soft or self-interested.

 

Should a bunch of parents and people who care about kids be labeled soft and self-interested? Only if you are interested in making money over doing what is best for kids, I guess.

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