If I wanted to send my kids to cyber school, I would've.

This is a wake up call to all parents. Stop believing the PR and marketing about "21st century learning", "anytime, anywhere learning", and "innovation." Most kids I know are already overly attached and probably addicted to their cell phones and have way too much access to technology.
For this generation, technology is NOT innovative. It is overly accessible & is limiting the way growing minds learn. Like everything, technology is good in moderation.

Diane Ravitch agrees with me.
We need to take a look at what is going on in states who are ahead of PA in implementing these terrible education reform ideas. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but no matter how wonderful you think your children's schools are, they are slowly but surely leading us down the path of cyber schools for all.

Even in Pennsylvania our Intermediate Units (and many of our very own superintendents) support the 21st Century Charter School.

The thing is, I moved to my school district because I wanted my kids to actually go to their schools and be taught in classrooms by human, professional teachers in brick & motor rooms with their peers. Disrupting systems does not work in education and is downright unethical.

I am turning to the beautiful state of Maine, and the implementation of Mass Customized Learning (MCL). MCL is defined as, " The capacity to routinely customize products and services through computer applications and technologies to meet the specific needs and/or desires of individuals without adding significantly to the cost of the product or service."

Clearly, this is attempt to make it seem like our kids will get more with less money. We all know how that story ends every time.

What concerns me is that teachers felt the moral and ethical need to speak up, but were too scared for their jobs to share their names. That is sad because teachers are the very people we need to be the canary in the coal mines for our kids. Many teachers want to speak up, but they need to pay their mortgages and feed their families, too. It is with much respect that I share the letter the teachers of the RSU 18 School wrote to their school board. But first you need to understand a bit about MCL.

Mass Customized Learning is selling itself as the panacea to "assembly line learning".  I can assure you that in my classroom and the classroom of many other teachers, there isn't an assembly line in sight. Once again, some slick marketing spin has found a negative image to put in the minds of the public in the name of profiting off of children.

Stop experimenting with our kids.

 Mass Customized Learning reminds me of the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) fad that is already a failure and thing of the past at the university level. The infamously disruptive Clayton Christensen Institute has deemed them dead and is now pushing its latest fad – competency based learning online. In other words, investors in MOOCs your time is up. New edupreneurs have a newer idea to get their hands on the money of parents and tax payers. Rest assured that disrupting the k-20 education system constantly may not benefit students, but it sure will fatten up the wallets of those in the education market.

And public school parents, this is coming our way without a doubt. Listen for jargon (some are actually terms that have been coopted from their original intent) such as "Anywhere, anytime, learning", "21st Century Learning", "Personalized Learning", "Student Centered Learning", "Student voice", "Emphasis on skills", "innovation", "embedded assessments", "flexible and fluid schedules", "Flipped classroom", "Blended Learning", "Online learning", and many more. Look up your school district"s strategic plan and see what you find.

Back to the Maine Mass Customized Learning crisis. 

Do you want your kids to be guinea pigs in the latest education fad? THIS IS NOT INEVITABLE.

Teachers at the Oakland area schools are objecting to a controversial new teaching system they claim has turned their students into guinea pigs in a failed educational experiment, but administrators contend that Mass Customized Learning (MCL) is inevitable.

According to letters obtained by The Maine Wire, there is widespread dissatisfaction in RSU 18, a school district comprised of eight schools in China, Belgrade, Oakland and Messalonskee, with the MCL program which has been implemented over the last four years.

One letter, written by an anonymous group of “concerned, dedicated teachers from RSU 18,” paints a dark portrait of the emerging conflict between MCL’s supporters and those who wish to conserve the traditional system of public education.

“We write to you as members of the RSU 18 faculty who want to express the feelings of so many who are afraid to speak up,” the group of educators stated in a May 5 letter to the district’s school board and several concerned parents. “We must report to you that MCL has shaken this school system to its very core.”

The teachers wrote the letter anonymously because they fear administrators in the district would seek retribution if their opposition to MCL became public.

“We are afraid to voice our opinions,” the teachers wrote. “We know the repercussions that would occur if we voiced our real feelings to the administration. We wallow in sadness at the poor educational model that we are forced to subject the children to. It is the children of this district that are suffering the most.”

Read this article in The Maine Wire for the full story.

In this world it can be hard to know who to trust. Are you going to go with the people who spend their days with your kids in their classrooms or put your trust in the profiteers? The choice is yours.

I say trust the canary in the coal mine.


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