A Call for the NH Attorney General to Investigate Student Data Mining

This week I sent a public email to New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald urging MacDonald to investigate student data mining occurring in the state of New Hampshire:

Dear Governor Sununu,

I am contacting you on behalf of children in the state of New Hampshire about the data mining and the release of personally identifiable information which includes mental health social, emotional, and behavioral data.  Our children are being universally diagnosed for mental health interventions in the classrooms of New Hampshire. These techniques are widespread in our state without giving parents informed written parental consent and any disclosure of harmful effects.

I have included in this letter an attachment with questions to the Commissioner of Education and the Attorney General concerning the legality of psychological and psychiatric assessments and treatment in violation of the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment and SEC. 4001 in ESSA, for Parental Informed Written Consent. Mental health identification and interventions in social, emotional, and behavioral programs are being initiated WITHOUT informed written parental consent. Many marketing propaganda materials are used to “engage” parents to agree to these conditioning concepts without truthfully explaining the appropriate meaning to such techniques and the future impact of their children with mental health coding on their records.

I have attached a list of possible violations that must be investigated to sort out the illegalities of data mining, data sharing and mental health treatment that is being implemented in New Hampshire without the informed written consent of parents.

I am also including information from correspondence between myself, school administrators in New Hampshire and, researchers at Plymouth State University.  They will reveal the practice of assessing, diagnosing, treating children and sharing this sensitive data with vendors and researchers.

Teachers in New Hampshire have revealed to me their discomfort with their new role and admit, they are not educated or qualified to treat students.  Yet, that’s exactly what they are now required to do in the name of social and emotional learning.

With the recent passage of the amendment to the New Hampshire Constitution that states,  “An individual’s right to live free from governmental intrusion in private or personal information is natural, essential and inherent,” this also applies to students attending public schools in New Hampshire.

I am requesting that you intervene immediately.  Please request that the Attorney General call a halt to educational data mining activities, and force compliance with all privacy laws for the protection of our children in New Hampshire. Informed written parental consent must be initiated, with penalties for violating our children’s’ privacy through data mining or sharing of personal information.

I will be looking forward to your reply,

Ann Marie Banfield
Education Liaison, Cornerstone Action


Violations of Privacy Laws and Data Mining Personal Data on Children

Data Tracking: Collection of PII (Personally Identifiable Information) on babies, children, and teachers identified with a unique national ID, contracted by Institute for Educational Sciences, NCES/IES. Compliance to Obama’s FERPA Executive Order 12866 expanding FERPA to collect and share data.

Data Trafficking: Release Of Personally Identifiable Information, PII, to 3rd Party Contractors: State DOE’s and local schools are able to enter into written agreements with businesses, foundations, higher education, and other Departments, releasing PII because of the loopholes in FERPA, (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) that redefine school officials. PII, Social,Emotional Behavioral Data, and “womb to workforce” data, is freely given to 3rd party contractors through written agreements contracted by each state DOE.

Treatment, Interventions, Psychological Abuse: ESSA mandates PII collected on attitudes, values, beliefs, and dispositions (grit) carried out by IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). All students, birth through college-aged students are identified under Title I for social, emotional, and behavioral change, Child Find. Techniques defined in ESSA include mental health interventions: Positive Behavior intervention and Supports, Response To Intervention, Multi-Tiered System Of Supports, Universal Design For Learning which are performed WITHOUT informed written parental consent.

Privacy Violations: Sharing and Re-Disclosure of PII continues, including data collected on attitudes, values, beliefs, and dispositions, without the knowledge or consent of parents. Directory information is cross-referenced with a unique national ID aligned with teacher collected social/emotional behavioral data collected on the local level. No privacy disclosures are used. Children are being used as a commodity.

Violations Under ESSA, Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, PPRA: Violations under Title I school-wide through the use of psychiatric, psychological examination, assessment, evaluation, or testing; Psychiatric or psychological treatment/interventions deceptively used in classrooms without the knowledge, disclosure, or written permission of parents. ESSA forbids mental health screening without consent, yet the abuse continues.

Civil Rights Violations: Interventions, treatment, and re-education of attitudes, values, dispositions, and beliefs of children are profound violations of 1st Amendment protections of our God-given right to “right of conscience” and the 4th Amendment protection of our God-given right “to be secure in their persons.”
                                                                                            
Public Law 103-33, General Education Provisions Act, Sec 438: Federal Government is supervising and directing curriculum creating a “model national curriculum” and a national test. NCES/IES evaluates and monitors students, teachers, funding, principals, schools, districts, and states for mental health data.

Malpractice and Maltreatment of Children and Babies by Teachers and Preschool Caregivers: Teachers/preschool caregivers, (exceeding their professional certifications), are required to screen, evaluate, perform anecdotal behavioral assessments, conditioning, and implement mental health remediation of the child’s attitudes, values, beliefs, and dispositions called social, emotional learning to comply with global initiatives under ESSA. Standards defined by Department of Labor SCANS Report, create the process of  “supply-chain management to humans.” This system sets up schools to begin Medicaid reimbursements. All Illegal.

Standards and Accountability Do Not Create Flexibility

Photo source: PureParents.org

Sandy Kress who was a senior education advisor to President George W. Bush pushed back at The 74 against education reformers who believe we need to get away from standards and accountability.

He wrote

Here’s another baffling question: Why are reformers lambasting standards-based reform? Don’t they realize that without measurement and accountability, there is no effective way to show whether the status quo is succeeding and, thus, no basis to press effectively for reforms to the status quo

Simply put, without accountability, there is, for the most part, no strong case for reform or reformers. The keepers of the status quo will happily hold power and exercise it fully, especially if there is little data-based pressure from the outside to force them to do better or face change.

I understand what he’s trying to say here, but the problem is, however, standards and accountability have not created flexibility, quite the opposite.

Instead, we have a culture of “mother, may I?” at the federal level that never existed until President George W. Bush passed No Child Left Behind. This did not succeed in raising student achievement, but it did reveal the state of K-12 education in the United States.

So, if that was the goal, congratulations I guess.  There perhaps were some modest gains initially, but no one can deny we are stagnant. The standards and accountability movement has not raised student achievement. 

What it has accomplished is to create layers of bureaucracy both at the state and federal levels and has taken local control away from elected local school boards.

That’s not a win.

I do have to wonder what education reformers are arguing for this? None that I have seen. 

Ending Distractions Is Not Worth Letting Schools Play Big Brother

Photo credit: Nick Youngson (CC BY-SA 3.0)

With the onset of using laptops and computers in the classroom along with students bring smartphones to school kids being distracted is a real problem. 

A new start-up, NetRef, provides a solution. Using the school’s network teachers can restrict what a student can access online (this, of course, wouldn’t work with phones that are using a wireless network instead of the school’s wi-fi to go online, but teachers can also restrict whether or not phones can be out).

Robyn Shuls at Forbes interviewed Joseph Heinzen, the President and Founder of Zoozil, who works closely with NetRef. He said something that jumped out at me.

Shulman: What else does the software do?

Heinzen: The second component to NetRef is providing edtech usage reports. Because we have taken a network-based approach, NetRef works with student-owned as well as school-owned devices. This capability allows schools and districts to see aggregated usage data for edtech software for every student on each device.

Shulman: Where is the data stored?

Heinzen: The data stays on-site in their network and gives administrators a clear picture of what tools have been adopted and are increasing academic achievement.

Heizen states that it provides edtech usage reports, but it goes beyond that. The NetRef features page states that the software, “shows real-time Internet activity by student, classroom and school. Usage reports are accessible to educators based on their access level.”

Also, they state, “NetRef allows teachers to immediately identify which students are connected to the network and adhering to the Acceptable Use Policy.”

That is not just edtech usage. There are some data privacy concerns here. At the bottom of their features page, they cite FERPA, COPPA, CIPA, PPRA, etc. Unfortunately, none of those laws prevent the government, in the form of your local school, of playing Big Brother. 

How about offering software that does not track internet usage? 

Better yet, let’s limit screen time in the classroom altogether. 

Is the U.S. Education System “Mean-Spirited”?

Mary Tedrow, a retired high school teacher, who is now the director of the Shenandoah Valley Writing Project at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. recently had the opportunity to tour Finnish schools. She said that while in Finland she realized how “mean-spirited” the U.S. K-12 system is. 

Finland, as you probably know, is considered to have one of the top education systems in the world. They score at the top on PISA and have been at the top since 2000. I wrote about some distinctions at Caffeinated Thoughts in 2014, and here are some differences:

  • Finnish children don’t start formal reading instruction until they are 7-years-old, and compulsory attendance is age 6-16.  In the United States, we are pushing early education with most children starting school at 5-years-old and many children beginning when they are 4-years-old with preschool, and there is a significant push to make preschool universal, and I wouldn’t be surprised down the road if there is a push to make it compulsory.
  • They have less homework than many of their international peers.  The amount of homework students in the U.S. varies by local school districts, but there is a trend for more and more homework for students, even elementary students.  Common Core-aligned math homework has exasperated this for some.
  • Finnish students only take one standardized test given in their final year of high school. American students can expect standardized tests at least in Grades 3-8 and 11th Grade. Some school districts and states assess even more. 

Tedrow writes about the differences between the two systems and the problem of high school drop-outs.

She describes the Finnish system: 

Though students are required to go to school only until age 16, those who leave before secondary school are considered dropouts. Programs designed to entice these youngsters — typically those who struggle academically for a variety of reasons — back into education address the national 5 percent dropout rate. We visited one of these classrooms where teachers rotated three weeks of instruction with three weeks of internships in area businesses.

We toured a secondary school with both a technical and academic wing. The teachers were experimenting with melding the two programs. In the technical wing, we visited a classroom where adults were receiving training to make a career switch. Free.

The fact that students can fail and return, or work and return, or retire and return had a palpable effect on the mood and the tone of the buildings.

She also notes that Finland provides free dental, medical and psychiatric services for students, but people who take note of this seem to fail to grasp that the United States has decidedly more students than Finland. 

She contrasted this with the United States saying our education system is “mean-spirited” by comparison:

Our students enter at around age 5 and have some 13 years to attain a high school diploma. Failure to earn a diploma is a dead end for most. In the United States, when students fail at school — or leave due to many other factors, sometimes just as resistant teenagers — we are done with you. Sure, there are outliers who are successful through luck, sweat, connections or all three, but for most, the lack of a diploma is a serious obstacle toward advancement.

She also provided this contrast: 

 Unlike the Finnish competency system, ours is based on meeting a prescribed set of standards by passing tests of discrete knowledge. Our students face a gauntlet of tests, even though any standards can be woefully outdated by the time a graduate enters a quickly evolving job market. The Finns take matriculation tests (there is choice in these as well) at the end of secondary but all interviewed said the scores did not have much bearing on what students could do next.

So is our education system “mean-spirited”? 

There are a number of lessons we can learn from Finland. One thing people have to understand that Finland is also more homogenous, they have fewer students so their investment can go further. 

That is not the case in the United States. 

Workforce Development Pushed in Kansas Regardless of Governor’s Party

Kansas Governor-Elect Laura Kelly

Kansas will have a Democrat Governor when Governor-Elect Laura Kelly is sworn in, and it seems like a workforce development project started under outgoing Governor Jeff Colyer (R-Kansas) will continue under the new administration:

The Hays Daily News reports

When he lost his bid to secure the Republican nomination for governor, those invested in the council’s work — including some who were part of a similar, unrewarded effort 10 years ago — realized they would need to complete their assessment by the end of this year. Now, as Gov.-elect Laura Kelly prepares to take office, council members are bolstered by the thought of delivering their recommendations to a longtime education ally.

“We’re happy,” said Diane DeBacker, a former Kansas education commissioner who oversees the council, “and I guess I have confidence that Laura Kelly will continue something like this.”
DeBacker, director of business and education innovation in the state commerce department, outlined suggestions she anticipates the council will offer.

They include giving thought to training in soft skills, like communication and collaboration, and navigating liability concerns to allow students to experience what the work world is like before they graduate.

One idea is to create a road map for private businesses that want to work with technical schools to develop skills the employers need. DeBacker said the gold standard is at Topeka’s Washburn Institute of Technology, where students learn to handle heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment.

When it comes to taking action over K-12 education at the state level, there, unfortunately, isn’t much difference between Republicans and Democrats even when there are significant differences in terms of rhetoric.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. 

Are We At The End of Education Policy?

Michael Petrilli, president at the Fordham Institute, made a bold statement in an op/ed at Education Next this week. He said as a nation we are at the end of education policy.

He writes

We are now at the End of Education Policy, in the same way that we were at the End of History back in 1989. Our own Cold War pitted reformers against traditional education groups; we have fought each other to a draw, and reached something approaching homeostasis. Resistance to education reform has not collapsed like the Soviet Union did. Far from it. But there have been major changes that are now institutionalized and won’t be easily undone, at least for the next decade.

Namely: We are not going back to a time when urban school districts had the “exclusive franchise” to operate schools within their geographic boundaries. Public charter schools now serve over three million students, many of them in our large cities, cities where 20, 30, 40, and even 50 percent of the students are now in charter schools. These charter schools are not going away. Another half a million students are in private schools thanks to the support of taxpayer funding or tax credit scholarships. Those scholarships are not going away either. At the same time, the meteoric growth of these initiatives has slowed. Numbers are no longer leaping forward but are merely ticking up.

Meanwhile, alternative certification programs now produce at least a fifth of all new teachers. We are not going back to a time when traditional, university-based teacher preparation programs had the exclusive right to train teachers.

And even testing—that hated policy with no natural constituency—is now entrenched, at least until the Every Student Succeeds Act comes up for reauthorization. It appears, knock on wood, that the testing backlash is starting to recede, thanks, I would argue, to policymakers addressing many of the concerns of the testing critics. The underlying academic standards are stronger and clearerthe tests are more sophisticated and rigorous, and encourage better teaching; and the state accountability systems that turn test results into school ratings are fairer and easier to understand; and teacher evaluation systems have been mostly defanged. And truth be told, school accountability systems no longer have much to do with “accountability,” but are really about “transparency”—telling parents and taxpayers and educators the truth of how their schools and students are performing, but mostly leaving it to local communities to decide what to do about underperformance, if anything. All of this has made testing and accountability, if not popular, at least less unpopular.


This was like staying the “Cold War” was fought to a draw and then taking a victory lap. 

He is right that the changes made are not easily undone. While I don’t share his view of the Common Core State Standards, I recognize that efforts to repeal them have ground to a halt. It has been discouraging to see that effort end in rebranding.

ESSA is not going away anytime soon. 

I think we may see a rekindling to repeal Common Core in some states like Georgia and Florida if their new governors follow through on campaign rhetoric. 

Standardized testing is likely here to stay, but there will always be the battle over what test. That said, “what test” doesn’t matter so much if a state still has lousy standards that ESSA requires the test to be aligned to. 

However, I believe we’ll continue to see push back on school data privacy and parental rights. 

Instead of broad, wide sweeping changes from Congress and state legislatures, what I think we’ll primarily be subjected to, for the time being, is policymaking via philanthropy and groupthink. We are seeing that with education tech, social-emotional learning, and personalized learning in a school by school basis.  Washington, DC and state capitols have not been driving that.

Petrilli also notes that we need a “golden age of educational practice.” Unfortunately, his reforms have made that impossible. 

What are your thoughts?

No Correlation Between a Lift In State Standards and A Rise in Student Performance

Daniel Hamlin and Paul Petersen with the Harvard University analyzed states’ 2017 proficiency standards at Education Next and what they found should not surprise anyone who reads Truth in American Education. 

There is no evidence to suggest they increase student achievement.

Here is an excerpt:

So, has the starting gun been fired on a race to the bottom? Have the bars for reaching academic proficiency fallen as many states have loosened their commitment to Common Core? And, is there any evidence that the states that have raised their proficiency bars since 2009 have seen greater growth in student learning?

In a nutshell, the answers to these three questions are no, no, and, so far, none.

On average, state proficiency standards have remained as high as they were in 2015. And they are much higher today than they were in 2009 when the Common Core movement began. That year, the percentage of students found to be proficient in math and reading on state exams was 37 percentage points higher than on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), an exam that is widely recognized as maintaining a high bar for academic proficiency. By 2015, that gap had narrowed to just 10 percent. Now, recently released data for 2017 reveal a difference of only 9 percent.

The news is not all good. Even though states have raised their standards, they have not found a way to translate these new benchmarks into higher levels of student test performance. We find no correlation at all between a lift in state standards and a rise in student performance, which is the central objective of higher proficiency bars. While higher proficiency standards may still serve to boost academic performance, our evidence suggests that day has not yet arrived.

Emphasis mine.

Read the rest.

Where I beg to differ with the gentlemen is that Common Core represents a “lift in state standards.” It doesn’t. 

Intel and Its Data Privacy Sham

Lately, talk about data privacy is taking center stage in Washington. And, recently, technology giant Intel has joined in the public discourse by creating a draft bill for a federal data privacy law.

As a mother that has followed the big tech firms over the past few years and their gold-rush for my children’s education data, I am completely skeptical of this proposed law. And, there is ample evidence that what Intel wants is data interoperability, not data privacy.

Evidence:  Intel’s partnership with UNESCO, Microsoft, Cisco and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)

In 2011, Intel partnered with the United Nation’s education division UNESCO—along with Microsoft, Cisco and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). These groups have been behind standards for data interoperability since their inception and have worked tirelessly to ensure that neither teachers nor children could escape the long arm of big data. They developed UNESCO’s “ICT Competency Framework for Teachers” which is used to train teachers, worldwide, how to implement technology for teaching and learning. 

What’s so bad about using technology for teaching and learning? Well. For me, it’s about who controls what is taught and learned. Interoperable data systems serve two purposes:

  1. to enrich technology companies and their “education” partners
  2. to eliminate local curriculum and assessment control

With the help of these groups and their partners under Race to the Top reforms, most of the major assessment and curriculum companies have adopted common data standards so that systems can interoperate (share) children’s and teacher’s private learning information across platforms. This was made possible through the Every Student Succeeds Act (see here). So, while Intel’s data privacy law may look benevolent, it likely carves out loopholes that it and its “education” partners can benefit from while gutting the privacy rights of children and teachers.

Important facts that unveil the goals of these groups…

UNESCO:

UNESCO is one of the largest data overlords in the world, operating the Global Education Monitoring Report to coerce nations and states into adopting UNESCO’s Education 2030 Framework for Action. The Education 2030 Framework uses nations’ and states’ education accountability laws to control what children are taught and tested. US states were coerced into this Framework when they adopted Race to the Top reforms, after which UNESCO’s ICT Competency Framework was embedded in US Education law through the Every Student Succeeds Act. The technology Framework ensures that US states and schools comply with international requirements for “innovative assessments” (computer-adaptive assessments) and that schools hand over children’s private learning data—in real time. 

Of UNESCO’s ICT Competency Framework for Teachers, Microsoft wrote:

“…it is not enough for teachers to have ICT competencies to be able to teach them to their students. Teachers need to be able to help students become collaborative, problem solving creative learners through using ICT so they will be effective global citizens.”

Microsoft:

Microsoft has been a UNESCO partner since 2004 and shares their political goals. What they are telling parents is that a child will not be an “effective global citizen” unless the data shows that they are “competent.” A child will be deemed “competent” when they use technology to advocate for UNESCO’s political goals.

Intel:

Intel’s Vice President of Government and Education, John Galvin, co-chairs a work group at UNESCO’s Broadband Commission with UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova (*see important note below).

John Galvin wrote the foreword to UNESCO’s Digital Skills Framework (again, this Framework is embedded in the Every Student Succeeds Act). In the foreword, Galvin wrote,

“I am honoured to serve with my fellow Broadband Commissioners on our shared commitment to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. I look forward to increasing our collaboration to enable individuals everywhere to develop the twenty-first century skills required to thrive within our fast-changing broadband society.”

I don’t share in any UNESCO commitments. In fact, I find their education commitments to be an affront to my personal liberty. But, Intel supports UNESCO and its data-for-control Framework, not the privacy rights of teachers, children and their families. And, Intel also supports UNESCO’s definition for “twenty-first century skills.” Of these skills, UNESCO says  “The world faces global challenges, which require global solutions. … Education must fully assume its central role in helping people to forge more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies.”

What UNESCO defines as “global challenges”, I don’t. And I don’t think my children’s educations should be geared to helping UNESCO with their political goals. UNESCO likes to talk about “tolerance” and “inclusion, yet consistently attacks people of religious faith.

*(For parents fighting Comprehensive Sexuality Education, it is important to really think through the fact that Intel’s John Galvin works arm-in-arm with UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova to require that teachers use technology for teaching and learning. Bokova is a staunch supporter of Comprehensive Sexuality Education, see here and here.  With the help of the International Society for Technology in Education (details below) UNESCO can ensure that Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) will, eventually, be taught in all subjects through online learning. The “ICT Competency Framework for Teachers” sets the stage for CSE to be taught across most academic subjects, see: here.)

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE):

ISTE sets international standards for teaching and learning. ISTE is headed by the Obama administration’s former Director of Education Technology Richard Culatta (more about him below). This is not by coincidence. ISTEcreated international education technology standards for teachers and students. These standards are effectively being used to control what teachers teach and what children learn—aligning teaching and learning to UNESCO’s political goals.

The ISTE standards are taking Common Core standards and making them international. (This explains why US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has joined with the UN and the G20 education agenda). Common Core standards were designed to end local control over teaching and learning.

Consider this:

States typically revise their education standards every 7-8 years. Common Core was adopted in most states in 2010. It’s now 2018. Schools are now being shifted into the ISTE technology standards for teaching and learning without parents even being aware. National education standards really did mark the end of local standards, curriculum and assessment control. This gives new meaning to Secretary DeVos’ claim that “Common Core is dead.” 

Of their ISTE Standards for Students (see pages 6-7), ISTE says, “At their core, the ISTE Standards are about pedagogy, not tools.”  ISTE quotes UNESCO on global citizenship and then says, “technology provides a forceful means to enable students to connect with others and empower them to collaboratively and individually tackle authentic problems.” 

Again, those “authentic” problems are political goals defined by UNESCO. 

More about ISTE’s Richard Culatta:

Richard Culatta was a key player—if not, THE key player—behind the data interoperability and computer-adaptive curriculum and assessment reforms enshrined in the Every Student Succeeds Act. He knew that Common Core standards were setting the stage to control what a child learns. In fact, in his 2013 TedX talk, he bragged that personalized learning systems can track 100,000 pieces of personal behavioral information on every child, every day.

Think about this. If your child’s behaviors can be tracked, their political and moral values can easily be reshaped through computer-adaptive curriculum.

Richard Culatta moved from the US Department of Education to head up the technology reforms in Rhode Island (where ESSA’s data-based reforms were spearheaded) and then magically ended up as the CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (Things that make you say, “hmmm?”)

ISTE and IMS Global:

IMS Global is the interoperable data guru of the data reforms in Race to the Top—now, enshrined in the Every Student Succeeds Act. In 2015, ISTE and IMS Global unveiled their white paper about building a “standards-based ecosystem for technology adoption and integration” in the classroom. The paper is called, “A New Paradigm for Decision-Making: A district leaders guide to standard-based technology adoption and integration.”

IMS Global is very open about their role in using Race to the Top and Common Core standards to push school districts into digital teaching and learning and data interoperability. Interoperable data systems mark the end of local curriculum and assessment control. See here and here.

Intel’s Lead Data Scientist Kathleen Crowe spoke at IMS Global’s 2016 quarterly meeting about Intel’s role in moving children into computer-adaptive learning. How can Intel’s lead data scientist speak at IMS Global without turning their backs on children and data privacy? They can’t.

Let’s not kid ourselves about Intel’s data “privacy” goals. Intel is all about data interoperability to help UNESCO indoctrinate children.

Years ago, I met a Microsoft engineer that said he was concerned when he realized that his 3rd grade daughter was using computer-adaptive curriculum at school. He said that there was absolutely no role for computer-adaptive curriculum or assessments in K-12 because, by their very nature, they are designed for behavioral assessment, not academic assessment. He was astonished that so many parents and schools have embraced it. And, he remarked that there was an obvious agenda behind it being pushed into schools.

Do you agree? Find out if your child’s teacher sees your child’s online curriculum or assessments, or if the teacher simply uses a data-dashboard to assign curriculum and assessments. That’s how UNESCO and ISTE—and the State Education Technology Directors Association (see here)—are training young teachers. Intel’s proposed federal “privacy” law facilitates UNESCO’s education vision

Students Rebel Against Summit Education Program, Personalized Learning

John Jay Educational Campus in Brooklyn, New York City that houses the Secondary School of Journalism where the walkout was held.
Photo Credit: Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons (CC-By-SA 4.0)

High school students in Brooklyn walked out in protest of the Summit Education Program, a personalized learning program, funded in part by Mark Zuckerberg. 

Read this excerpt from the New York Magazine piece on the walkouts:

Summit was designed roughly six years ago by a network of West Coast Charter schools, and developed later with software help from Facebook engineers. It’s now funded by Zuckerberg and several other billionaires and foundations. The idea is to help kids take charge of their own education, in part by working independently on the software instead of listening to teachers lecture. Some families love it, and the leadership says the dissenters make up a small minority, magnified by their presence on social media. It’s impossible to get an objective overall picture, because there are no empirical studies on satisfaction rates, and the data on outcomes is limited.

At SSJ in Park Slope, some of the students’ complaints echo those that have arisen in Cheshire and elsewhere. “I didn’t like that it was a more self-taught kind of thing,” said Akila Robinson, a senior who helped organize the protest last week. “A lot of kids are more comfortable learning the more traditional way.” Other students have said it leaves them feeling stranded and requires an uncomfortable amount of screen time.

One teacher, who asked to have her name withheld, said most kids using Summit clearly haven’t been able to concentrate. “I’m walking around thinking, This is absolutely insane. They’re not learning,” she said. “I tell the kids to come off that Walkman, tell them to come off the phone, tell them to come off the website they’re on and go back to their modules.”

It is insane. Kids are not learning under personalized learning. This trend is leading K-12 education in a troubling direction

Of course, the excuse in New York is that it was hastily implemented. That seems to be the standard excuse for any ill-advised education reform that goes badly. 

It can’t possibly be that it was a stupid idea to begin with.

Read the rest.

Ed Reformers Turn Against Testing, But For the Wrong Reason

Photo Credit: J. Sanna (CC-By-2.0)

Chalkbeat reports that education reformers turned against standardized testing, but not for the reason you and I are against standardized testing. 

They say standardized testing goes against personalized learning.

I say both are dateless examples of education reform that have turned K-12 education on its head with nothing to show for it.

Matt Barnum for Chalkbeat writes:

Those comments reflected the prevailing mood at the event, where testing was criticized for being at odds with the increasingly popular “personalized learning” models that allow students to progress through material at their own pace. Others, including Ferebee, complained that in their states, testing regimens have changed too frequently to be useful.

Such rumblings of discontent with testing are not entirely new among the education reform crowd. Free-market-oriented advocates like Betsy DeVos, for example, have downplayed test scores, suggesting the more important issue is whether parents are satisfied with a given school.

But the pervasiveness of the complaints about testing was striking, given that many education reform advocates have long championed using test scores to measure schools and teachers and then push them to improve.

It would be great to see they are wisening up to the foolishness of the testing and accountability method of education reform, but, unfortunately, they are jumping to another top-down education reform which is just as foolish since it’s the shiny new thing in the education reform universe.