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What’s Wrong With Letting Tech Run Our Schools

June 14, 2017

My newest Bloomberg View column is out!

What’s Wrong With Letting Tech Run Our Schools

You can see all my Bloomberg columns here.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. June 14, 2017 at 8:26 am

    What do we know? That every single educational reform that was tried in the last 50 years failed. Fake successes were achieved by moving the goal posts. This is especially true in math education. As for tracking, that unfortunately existed way before this latest technology push. So, I say give it a chance. Let’s see how it does before sending it to the graveyard with “new math,” “integrated math,” “common-core math,” and various other attempts. At least, IMHO, it cannot make things any worse.


    • June 14, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      What do we know? That every single educational reform that was tried in the last 50 years failed. Fake successes were achieved by moving the goal posts. This is especially true in math education.

      So, why should this be any different? And on top of that, they’re tracking every keystroke of our most vulnerable population. We must demand accountability.


      • June 14, 2017 at 8:53 pm

        It should be different, just like Google is different from everything before it (including alta vista and previous search engines). Look at census bureau data and look how hard it is for average Joe to find relevant data. I hear there is an effort to Google-ize the data. I hope it succeeds.


  2. June 14, 2017 at 8:40 am

    abekohen, your optimism is misplaced. As Cathy clearly states education is political and while it has always been problematic that public officials make these decision at least they are accountable to their constituents; the tech gods are not.


    • June 14, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      Accountable? Look at the political hot potato regarding the NYC subway system. We are failing our children. We’ve tried every conceivable “public official” solution to no avail. Let’s give the techies a chance. Where would we be today without Google? I use it for medical info, programming questions, and almost every facet of my life. Let’s stop vilifying tech.


  3. June 14, 2017 at 8:45 am

    “Although they undoubtedly mean well…” That seems a bit naive. This is about social control and profit. What most don’t realize is that much of this will be linked back into predatory public-private “pay for success” partnerships that will replace public funding for education and demand data-driven performance measures to justify those outside investments-see “efficacy” and “evidence-based” programs. Digital classrooms are nodes of Smart Cities and will turn children into data laborers. They are already creating “smart” blockchain contracts tied to social impact bond programs; SIBs are being vetted for Smart City infrastructure finance; payments and deliverables will be automated-overseen by the technocrats and out of the hands of citizens. Children will suffer. BTW Bloomberg Philanthropies is deeply involved in all of this.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lynne
    June 14, 2017 at 10:02 am

    What’s wrong?
    Here is a researched list:
    The years old Technocratic move to shift education.
    The Global Silicon Valley initiatives with the 21 steps (where school boards are obsolete).
    The Annual International Data Mining Conferences, where the express intent is hiding how information is harvested. Many of the education reformers either present or use what comes out of these.
    The massive amount of taxpayer money ESSA has earmarked for increasing digital resources.
    That an Obama administration contrived set of programs (Digital Promise and Computer Science for All) were codified in ESSA.
    That all US Federal cabinet agencies and untold third parties harvest the private information every single day. School and student data is the new cash cow. Those very vendors claiming to be updating resources for classrooms is taking in billions in data mining profits.
    That the current Trump Administration has a federal budget with lots of loops for educrats to manipulate via technology.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. David Andrews
    June 14, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Oh, I don’t know, perhaps the complete alienation of humanity that will undoubtedly ensue?!? Why should we allow private, for-profit entities to run education “like a business”?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. June 15, 2017 at 8:19 am

    They start out meaning well – both the politicians and the tech people and then it moves to “we can do some good, why not make a little money on the side” to convincing themselves that what the’re doing is actually in the best interests of the kids. It’s really sad to see.

    There’s really one test that anyone who pushes ed reforms – tech or otherwise should be given. It’s simple and revealing — would you force your product or idea onto your kids and your kid’s schools?

    Just about every one of these politicians and oligarchs send their kids to schools with small classes, experienced educators, and diverse programs. Their schools have the tech but it doesn’t drive the education – the educators do.


    • June 16, 2017 at 7:27 am

      The problem is that adaptive learning ed-tech models are making their way into private schools as well. Zuckerberg’s AltSchool brand is now targeting Montessori and Reggio Emilia schools. They will brand them differently. Poor communities will get call-center type Rocketship academies, while the affluent kids who are plugged is may sit on wool rugs and be surrounded by wooden blocks. But the two models are converging even though their presentation differs. Look up micro-schools. It’s the “new” thing coming down the pike. My guess is that DeVos and her associates are aiming to create “value” model micro-schools using ed-tech that will cut staffing costs. As public schools die, anyone who has the ability will grab a voucher and head to a value ed-tech operation. They will still probably need to take out a couple of thousand in loans to cover the remaining tuition beyond the vouchers, which will further enrich the student loan companies. It is the loan interests like Nellie Mae (spun off Sallie Mae) and Lumina who are working hand in hand with the tech sector to advance this mode. Just look to Acton Academy and their growth projections. The argument that these “reforms” are not going to show up in private schools is no longer going to be the case. Yes, perhaps in the most elite private schools, but people should be aware a new ed-tech oriented private industry sector is being built.


  7. Al
    June 18, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    The school system in the USA is not terrible, once the PISA results are controlled for poverty (the PISA is the main test used to compare educational systems internationally). http://news.stanford.edu/news/2013/january/test-scores-ranking-011513.html

    Plenty more places to find this information.

    We are generally in the top 10, but our poverty impacts so many people and is so deep, that it leads to very low scores that impact all scores. Those that score high on these tests are in general very equal societies, Finland (very low poverty), or China (known to cheat).


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