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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Parents, we've been duped.

It isn't about the kids. It's about the money.

It is no longer enough to opt out of the stand alone state tests, such as Pennsylvania's PSSA exams. Parents must realize that our kids are seen as data generators and that data is worth its weight in gold. Stand alone standardized tests are already in the process of being replaced by sneaky, low-quality, stealth testing, which I previously wrote about here. If you want to stop the dumbing down of our children's education, we need to opt out of adaptive technology, also known as "personalized learning." Personalized learning is directly tied into comptency-based learning.

Familiar computer programs, like Dreambox, Achieve 3000, ALEKS, Project M3 and hundreds of other "personalized/adaptive technology" programs are collecting our kids data, replacing teachers with algorithms, and lowering the quality of instruction our children receive.

Sadly, elementary students often enjoy these game-like programs and are easy prey for their Pavlovian reward systems. (In fact, anther term for this kind of technology is gamification.)
By middle school, many children complain about programs such as TeenBiz or Study Island. High school students are often worn out from the "rigor" and amount of homework schools are assigning which is difficult to balance with sports, part-time jobs, and the sleep deprivation teens experience from trying to get it all done. This makes them vulnerable to marketing schemes that promote the idea of "anytime, anywhere learning" AKA online learning. Our kids have good instincts and seem to acknowledge that they need more sleep, but many are too inexperienced to understand that with "anytime, anywhere learning", they will not get the same high quality learning experiences as they would by being present in school. I admit that I would probably have been one of the kids who just wanted to get my credits done and not realized that my educational experience was short changed.
It takes maturity (which children develop at different rates) and experience to realize this truth.

 Be wary of competency-based education. Be very wary.
 This Delaware blogger is spot on:

"Welcome to the Competency-Based Education era!  Instead of your child advancing through grade levels, they will now advance once they master the material.  Don’t get me wrong.  The state assessments will still be there.  But parents most likely won’t even know when their child is taking it.  Because it won’t be the same test.  It won’t be students cooped up taking the same test over a period of weeks in the Spring.  It will be all year... They laid the trap, and we all fell in it.

How is this even possible?  Through modern technology.  Through personalized learning.  Don’t be fooled by the term personalized learning.  There are actually two kinds.  The concept has been around for decades.  More one-on-one instruction from teachers, personalized on that student’s strengths and weaknesses.  A very humanistic approach which I don’t have an issue with.  But what the corporate education pirates want is the same thing, but take out the teacher.  Substitute it with technology.  With computers, and the internet, and cloud-based systems, and blended learning.  The teachers will still be there, but they won’t be the in front of the classroom teachers anymore.  They will facilitate, and guide the students through what the computer is teaching them.  Some states may push back a bit on this, and compromise with a blended learning system, which is a mix of both.  But make no mistake, the eventual destination is the demise of... public education as we know it."




Read the full short story by Isaac Asimov here.

Almost daily I find myself shocked to realize yet another science fiction idea from the 1950's is upon us. George Orwell and Issac Asimov were not merely creative writers, they were dystopian prophets.

The simple truth, if we don't wake up and opt out of computerizing our children's education, they will be cheated out of a real education. And the more money your school district has, the more the tech companies are positioning themselves to get their hands on your tax dollars...

Unless, of course, your district has been purposely financially starved and the sharks are still implementing ideas to make themselves rich. Think Chicago.

It isn't about the kids. It's all about the money.



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