Standardizing Education – Common Core’s Hidden Agenda


Anthony Cody’s article from last year Classrooms of the Future: Student Centered or Device Centered offers a very important analysis, looking at the hidden agenda of Common Core and the technology industry. Anthony believes that the goal of “aligning” tests and curriculum with Common Core is to “standardize” education the way computers and other forms of technology are standardized. This helps to explain why Bill Gates has poured so much money into Common Core and testing.

Think about your PC, all top-selling computers (with the exception of Apple) have the same standard design. That’s what allows Gates’s Microsoft company to maintain a global monopoly with their operating system. Whether your computer is made by Dell, Sony, HP, Samsung or Toshiba they are all configured to the same global industry standards, aligned with Microsoft Windows’ software.

Gates and others from the business, technology and financial industries see education as a new multi-billion dollar international market, especially if the Common Core standards go global. There is a not-so-hidden agenda here to take professional teachers, local communities and national differences out of the equation.  Anthony quotes Margo Day, the vice president of U.S. Education, for Microsoft:

“Personalized learning for every student is a worthy and aspirational goal. By combining the power of touch, type, digital inking, multitasking and split-screen capabilities that Windows 8 with Office 365 provides with these new Pearson applications, we’re one step closer to enabling an interactive and personalized learning environment.”

This is an attempt to give us an updated hi-tech version of the factory school model, first developed at the beginning of the last century. They are using the terms individualized and personalized as a marketing strategy, a way of hiding the truth that these technologies are standardized. Local autonomy, creativity and differences in study are to be eliminated. Student and teacher relationships are no longer central. As Anthony explains:

“In this mode of instruction, these devices become the mediator of almost every academic interaction between students and their teacher, and even one another. Students are assigned work on the device, they perform their work on the device, they share work through the device, and they receive feedback via the device. What is more, the means by which learning is measured—the standardized test—will also be via this device.

It is the appliance that now becomes “intelligent” about each student and the appliance is the vehicle by which lessons are “personalized,” because the appliance is what is keeping track of what the student is capable of, and where the student is weak.

Of course the teacher has the ability to oversee and monitor the assignments the device is making, but the whole idea is to automate this process. And this is happening in an environment where there is a clear desire to increase class sizes. Thus we have “personalization” via digital device, at the same time we make teacher-student relationships far more difficult because budget constraints are increasing class sizes..”


I believe that Anthony is right, that this is the hidden agenda behind both the standards and the data collection being planned. Common Core needs to be linked with computer testing and access to individual student data, in order for the technology industries to come in and make more of a profit.

Actually, to call this a hidden agenda is not quite accurate. This is the stated goal of the “Adaptive Learning Revolution” being planned by a certain faction within the technology industry. They want to transform schools in a very radical and mechanistic way. Key to all of this is a centralized system of personal data collection. The phrases personalized and individualized are trojan horses used to gain access and control over student personal data. It’s the only way to take teachers out of the equation, in their view. From the TIME magazine article linked above:

“Through sophisticated, real-time analysis of reams of student performance data, adaptive learning technology could lead to the end of the one-size-fits-all curriculum, making personalized education available to more kids than ever before. As a result, it’s a hot concept, embraced by education reformers who see it as key to solving one of America’s most persistent problems, and by heavyweights in Silicon Valley, who are betting that the reformers are right—and that the solutions will be lucrative.

Among the leaders in this emerging field is Knewton, a New York City-based start-up with deep pockets and bold claims about its potential to revolutionize how students learn. The company’s ultimate goal? A learning profile for every student — a sort of anonymous permanent record that travels from school years through college and onto employment. Think of it like the statistics on the back of a baseball card (though with a string of numbers in place of the player’s name).

“There’s going to be one company in the world that does this,” Jose Ferreira, Knewton’s high-motored founder and CEO, told me. “I think it’s going to be us because we’re so far ahead now.”

Understanding the larger “plan” helps to explain why so much emphasis by the reformers is being placed right now on “common” standards and testing. Over time they will be investing billions to develop more “user-friendly” data collection methods and technologies, that children enjoy, but the goal will be the same. They want to plug our kids into technology, collect the data, and then shape, monitor and control their learning.

Meanwhile, where are the smarter Silicon Valley folks sending their children? As the N.Y. Times reported, in this article, at the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, there are no computers to be found. Children are expected to work on hands-on projects, with art materials, reading books, making music, etc.

“The chief technology officer of eBay sends his children to a nine-classroom school here. So do employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard. But the school’s chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech: pens and paper, knitting needles and, occasionally, mud. Not a computer to be found. No screens at all. They are not allowed in the classroom, and the school even frowns on their use at home.

Schools nationwide have rushed to supply their classrooms with computers, and many policy makers say it is foolish to do otherwise. But the contrarian point of view can be found at the epicenter of the tech economy, where some parents and educators have a message: computers and schools don’t mix.”

At times it seems like there are two revolutions being planed, one for the children of the clever, wealthy and powerful, and one for the children of everyone else. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The paradigm of the future is creative, localized, community-centered and learner-centered, not technology-centered, test-centered or standards-centered. So-called reformers like Gates know this, and are providing such an education for their children, but are being deceptive.

I sometimes wonder if we would be fighting Common Core if Steve Jobs were still alive. Apple always enjoyed their niche of the market, providing technologies that encouraged creativity and autonomy, but they never tried to collect data and control content like this. Bill Gates, on the other hand, has always had a monopoly, focusing more on maintaining dominance and expanding market than encouraging autonomy and creativity. After Steve Jobs died, Gates began to expand his mechanistic “empire building” approach into education, a field where Jobs had been more prominent.

Anyway, what can we do about this?  Don’t over-use technologies, encourage your students and children to read more books, to be creative and self-directed with their learning, organize with others to fight Common Core standards, take control locally and opt-out from standardized testing.

They have the money and the technology, but we have the people and the power. Viva la resistance!!!

~Christopher Chase~

Mother _Child-Reading

“It is understandable why people who have made their fortunes on the transformation of commerce and industry through the almighty combination of computers, software, data and the internet would project a similar revolution in our schools. However, there is a fundamental difference between commerce and the classroom. Our students learn in a social environment in which human relationships remain central. A model which makes a device central to the learning process is flawed.

These devices have some value as tools. I am not suggesting they be abandoned. I am suggesting that they are being greatly oversold, and the imperative to standardize our classrooms so they become uniform “sockets” that will allow these devices to readily plug in is misguided. We stand to lose far more from this stultifying standardization than these devices can ever provide.” ~Anthony Cody


More Than Just Test Scores, by Henry Levin * Self-Direction is the Key to Mastery  * A Nation’s Schools Reveals Our Hearts – John Kuhn * Flow- The Psychology of Optimal Experience * Understanding How Our Brains Learn  * Every Child is an Artist by Nature * Toward a More Creative & Holistic Model of Education * Educational Malpractice – The Child Manufacturing Process * Walmart, Gates, Hedge Funds & Charter Schools (Business Insider) * Real Learning is a Creative Process  *


About Christopher Chase

Co-creator and Admin of the Facebook pages "Tao & Zen" "Art of Learning" & "Creative Systems Thinking." Majored in Studio Art at SUNY, Oneonta. Graduated in 1993 from the Child & Adolescent Development program at Stanford University's School of Education. Since 1994, have been teaching at Seinan Gakuin University, in Fukuoka, Japan.
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43 Responses to Standardizing Education – Common Core’s Hidden Agenda

  1. Pearson…the anti-Christ. When one of their salespeople contacted me and offered me their package so I could “professionalize” my composition classes, I was ready to kill. After more than 30 years successfully helping students excel as writers, some snot-nosed text-book pusher is going to “reach out” (that phrase makes my teeth itch) to me and help me “professionalize” my classroom? I hate them and everything they represent, standardizing and commodifying. I have used their texts successfully over the years in my own NOT “professionalized” classrooms, but never any other part of anything they have to sell. I have long suspected a hidden agenda — money, of course, but more insidious, the killing of the soul and the destruction of the knowledge driven moral center. I saw that in my university students over the final two years of my career.

    • Hi Martha. Yeah, we have Pearson involved in similar foolishness over here in Japan where I work. Teaching to the test (aka “washback”) is big business, especially in the field of Language teaching (and testing). Last year we were “strongly encouraged” at a University where I teach part-time, to use a $3o Pearson texted “aligned” with the international TOEFL exams. The book was all about practicing test taking, learning test taking skills, etc. I told my students the text book was optional and that I wouldn’t be using it, but most teachers felt forced to use it and I could have gotten into trouble if caught.

  2. OMG Chris I pray some one is paying you for all your research like a President Your worth a big penny for peoples thoughts! Much Love Bro for the Kids and teachers

    • LOL, thanks Glenn. I am very very lucky to be teaching in a wonderful department at a private Japanese University where all the courses (and the pedagogy of my peers) are aligned with a skills-based learner-centered approach. Also, since my blogs are targeted mostly to a non-Japanese audience I’m able to get away with “revolutionary” writing that might be discouraged if I were strongly criticizing education here in Japan.

  3. Dan McGuire says:


    Thanks for a very thoughtful post, but you’re not offering much in the way of direction forward. “Don’t over-use technologies, encourage your students and children to read more books, to be creative and self-directed with their learning, organize with others to fight Common Core standards, take control locally and opt-out from standardized testing” is milk toast, at best. Changing the U.S. education system in a way that empowers teachers and students instead of corporate interests will require a much more detailed and comprehensive strategy. That strategy much include teachers taking ownership and responsibility for all learning technology, and an acknowledgment that classrooms grouped in buildings, paper books, chalk and slate are just forms of technology that has been in use for a very long time. Fighting against new forms of literacy tools will only hasten a take over by those who currently control the new literacy devices. The way to take the control out of the hands of the corporate manufacturers of devices is to be better at using them for teaching and learning than anyone else. Existing classroom teachers still have an opportunity to choose to be responsible for the learning technologies that will continue to be created, but pretending that paper books will always be superior to other media is a delusion. Please note that Pearson has already made the shift away from books because they know their profit taking in that technology will last for only a few more years. Teachers can’t let the corporate profiteers beat them to the future.

    • Hi Dan. All good points. I’ve written extensively about learner-centered education, creativity and self-direction. Links are provided at the bottom. The main point of this essay is to be aware of this hidden agenda. People like yourself will have much to add. I may have more to add on this in the future but this took quite a few hours to write and I will admit I wanted to put the info out, not write a whole book in one day. Its 2 am here in Japan, I need to head to bed. Appreciate your comments.

  4. Reblogged this on Lorie Schaefer and commented:
    Any US teachers out there with thoughts about this? I’ve thought all along that while common standards are wise and practical, those common standards would lead to a common test and a common collection of data and a bazillion dollars to whomever devised, sold and maintained the system. The law of unintended consequences, perhaps?

  5. Good article until the bit about Steve Jobs and Apple vs. Microsoft. People forget that Microsoft won the PC war with Apple because Apple wanted control of everything; the hardware, the OS and the software. Microsoft wanted the O/S and became a software company when they ripped off of Lotus with Office.

    One thing that I think you should consider is this, the wealthy may very well sign their kids up for this type of education too. The reason is that frankly education is not very valued in our society, and the rich kids and their parents would rather be playing sports, socializing, and partaking in various extracurriculars. After all, the jobs that pay the most money in our society are not the ones that require actual technical knowledge but rather the ones that require the art of socializing and backstabbing. You do not get these skills in the classroom and the wealthy know it.

  6. dkenley says:

    Extremely well written…Thank You, Chris!!

    Can your blog be followed by email?

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  8. Meredith Robinson says:

    Great article. I would encourage you to research Waldorf education more, though. It is close to being a cult. The schools don’t tell parents the truth. My husband and I learned from the experience of sending our son to one of theses schools for a short time (and Google). Our experience was similar to this:

    Anthroposophy, gnomes and fairies, black crayons – just google. It’s crazy.

  9. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I
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  11. Why users still make use of tto read news papers when in this technological globe all is existing on web?

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  22. Christopher, I don’t know if it’s FB itself or the whole culture, but I feel a little like Edison tweaking the mist in the surf everyday, hoping for a little definition or pattern in the light. The forces aligned against the learning culture are formidable–the American formula of the strong exploiting the most vulnerable is alive and well–and nowhere is this more evident than what you describe above. The problem is that we who most long for solutions are awash on a sea of information distraction. There is too much noise and not enough building. We do need a grass roots uprising but it is not going to come from raging against the machine—it will come from building our own machinery and it must be social-entrepreneurial in nature. From where I sit, the nature part is Play–and Play Energy–an organizing principle that nobody in education can argu e with—but the principle must come equipped with legs, teeth, logic and bandwith. The image of Turing ignoring the falling bombs, clueless peers, the bureaucratic path–and going deep into his vision is what I have done. For the past 8 years, with a partner of unique depth, passion, vision, and talent, I have built the machinery. I’m a rare, rare bird in this forest, man, and it’s easy to misconstrue it because it takes a certain amount of focus to see past its ordinary suit of feathers. The words Puppets and Play are enough to trigger the curled lip of contempt. We do not have time to re-invent this wheel. If we want an uprising, it must come from a process, architecture, logic, and a kind of coding that has little to do with software and much to do with relationship-building and spirit. And it has been built, and you are going to have to look at its components reflectively and over time to grasp its power. Are you game.

    • Hi Jeff. I agree with much of what you say, the challenge is to help others understand, in my opinion. We need to demonstrate with blogs, videos, powerful examples. Ideas alone (no matter how visionary) just don’t move people, its a sea of words out there.

      • The example of Turing who actually built something needs to be inserted into this conversation. What he built he built in the face of people who were put off by his tenacity and vision. Had he not remained true to his building and vision, he would have been derailed. You want me to put my work all out there–as some kind of finished product–that people will be able to pick through and tear apart or scan through as they do everything else–a work in large part that evolved from the creativity of kids and teachers? No sir. Look what the Powers did to Turing’s work when he could not protect it or himself. My work requires people to step up–to learn, to appreciate. I am not looking for agreement. I am looking for people who can embrace the principle and help lead others in the direction of Play and Culture Transformation. If you can appreciate the Declaration, then you will love the elements inside the Movement that make it tick. Peter Gray’s piece in Psychology Today is yet another painful plea that Play is Doomed. I am building and moving, sir. This is a great opportunity to exit the digital churn and move into the Collaborative Physics of Transformation. I’m trying to get you to see that this is a real path and a real vehicle. It just needs real 1-percenters who can see innovation when it rolls by. And there will be plenty of them. I am asking you if you are one of the many to come. I am adding one more overview here. You can either tell me to stop or ask to see one or two additional Tools we are using to bring people further into the Movement. This model is unique. There is nothing like it being built or attempted out there in the field of reform. I am calling out to you from beyond the sea of words.

        Think secret weapon, new application of energy This has been built and tested I am inviting you to begin planting the seeds The work in the lab is finished You write, “ Ideas alone (no matter how visionary) just don’t move people, its a sea of words out there.” I have built a solution, Christopher. I have built an Education Turing Machine, based on code that kids bring to the equation, and which they will play a hub role in advancing in the marketplace. It comes down to this–do you want to help them and be part of planting the seeds? Yes, it begins with a vision–a damn good Declaration and Bill of Rights, but it goes way beyond vision to implementation. If all this work were made part of the “blogs, videos, powerful examples” it would automatically becomes part of the “sea of words out there” that “ just don’t move people.”

        My machine……….

        —is based on the vision of moving out of the Factory and into a Learning Habitat.
        —generates its own Energy Source, Organizing Principle, Inner Compass
        —applies the Science of Play–the brain’s Learning and Intelligence System
        —uses tools, instruments, and practices based on a single Chord of Life to establish the healthy mix of nutrients in the soil of a new culture–a play-based learning culture.

        The machine’s workings are……….
        —Rooted/ anchored in the creative, imaginative, moving nature of Everychild
        —Based on Play’s Birthright Legacy of Parent and Child
        —Based on a working definition of Play that is clear and incorruptible
        —Based on principles framed and claimed in the American Declaration and Education Bill of
        Rights–adopted By the People,
        —And built in each community By the People, For the People, and Of the People.

        The machine’s a Vehicle……..

        —-With Social Entrepreneurial Engineering under the hood capable of navigating the
        Marketplace of Ideas–”Play Tectonics–Education moving Forward on the Power of Play”
        —-Using a Planetary Power Source: Play is abundant, Solar Energy, Expansive and Mind-
        —-Equipped with the Code & Engineering of a Power Transformer/ Distributor:
        A community-based Education/ Self-Help System, Message Promoter, Infuser-Director & Guide that Funds Itself, Grows itself, Sustains Itself–establishes its own Broad Decentralized Power
        Claims and Establishes full right of control, autonomy and ultimately the Social Power to extract funding & support from Big Business, rather than the other way around, to benefit the schools residing within a company’s sphere of influence–no strings attached.

        ……..That Onboards and Moves People

        —Identifies and Captures 1% ers in each community
        —Reaches the 99% in each community to support Transformation.
        —The working model, which has been designed and implemented, effectively involves the People it Claims to Serve starting with young people; specifically high school age kids–small teams in each state–these families become the hub of the movement and can remain in that role for life–from parents of school age kids to community ‘education elders’.

        Community ‘Education Leaders’ are voted into various positions in a Legacy Oversight Panel. Parents run the Schools–there is no ‘Board Of Education–only process based on principles and practices that evolve within the parameters of Play and The Bill of Rights. Each community-based power structure is alive, organic and empowered to educate parents, build trust and relationships with teachers and other concerned members of the community, and maintain vigilance and involvement. The family businesses associated with the kids keep kids present and visible in the community and build a legacy for the value of education, social entrepreneurship and self-determination. This is how you create a new culture of learning built on solid and immutable principles for the long term. Have you ever seen or heard of such a thing related to the applied science of Play?

        A Learning Culture Worthy of Standing for Generations

        The Learning Culture that evolves in the incubator of such a process will naturally be a work in progress of art and science. In every sense of the word, the Learning Culture will become a Learning Habitat that is Humane and Life-Affirming by virtue of its roots in Play. The creation and formulation of a learning culture based on Play–in principle and practice–will use the tools, media, language, and learning strategies that gave rise to the process and architecture of Play Tectonics. For if we intend to follow the principle of Play and create a habitat based on its warmth and nutrients, then it follows that we will use play-based tools and resources that are congruent and compatible with energy already alive and kicking in their minds, body, and spirits. Will there be room for other resources and programs to use? Yes, but Play Tectonics will provide the initial framing and walk through. Remember, there is a world of adults who will need to be oriented and educated about Play and Learning, and it is they who must follow and we who will lead and lay down the rite of passage. Without such an orderly path, we fall into to the churn and the waste of energy.

        As social entrepreneurs, the Principals who created The Movement and its Processes must be able to self-fund in order to show others how to self-fund and self-navigate. This cannot be marketed to the masses. We do this by making available key learnings and consultation to key players. This is a win-win model that benefits each participant–a model constructed and engineered in the shape of circles that cross-pollinate and cross-promote, as opposed to the pyramid that is built to exploit and disintegrate and fall on the most vulnerable under the rule and watch of the super rich or super-positioned. The approach to reform we have taken underscores the need for change to come from the community, and for the seeds of change to be planted in alignment and concert. Imagine the power in which the parents of one community can depend on the parents of surrounding communities–on the ground and in the digital realm–to stand up and plant the seeds regardless of the so-called powers that be. The so-called great powers in Washington and in the local state houses will have no real power of law and authority once the force of parents is fully united and in touch with itself. Governmental power is built on a vacuum that we have mindlessly given them in our absence. When we choose to fill and dwell within that space, their power will disintegrate. These are our kids, our schools, and our communities. Play Tectonics provides the vision, pathway, vehicle and the tools we will need for us to begin acting like they actually belong to us.

        Tools, Media, Puppets
        The Puppets in the videos and displays at (The Movement Tool Box) are not things for sale, not inadequate Sesame Street wannabes. These most of all are not to be looked down on because they have been created by teachers and kids. They are in use in countries all over the world, so it is not far fetched to imagine a step-child art adopted by education and made a cornerstone of play and communication. They may appear to be a flimsy paper ‘product’ to adult brains blind to their own bias shaped in a culture of consumption and judgement, but they are a powerful communication and concept-building media. These are pieces of kinetic art (as opposed to wall products) created by children who almost spontaneously generated them and began to use them in their space– as did teachers who overcame their adult resistance and fear and entered the realm of communication and play and experienced a power of connecting with kids they had once dreamed about but never expected to see in their careers. The puppets are made of paper for a reason, use a central hinge for a reason, have been cast as a language for a reason-and taken together constitute a system for accessing elements of the world that cannot be shaped and dominated by screens and technology. This is how you get average kids in touch with their creative and intellectual power and thinking more like Einstein than Frankenstein. This is how we can walk the tightrope of play and media that effectively empowers kids of all ages and teachers to reach a dimension of play that allows them to have a hand in completely transforming the time and space in their learning culture in their own image. This is how you can Transform our public schools into places that Montessori educators would marvel at. If we truly want young minds to be nourished by their imaginations, we have to find way creative pathways around the culture’s trappings and cobwebs that distract kids from using their own powers. These puppet artifacts and concepts represent a powerful pathway into classrooms and as such add a physical, brain-based element to the conceptual and theoretical power of Play Tectonics as a Movement that can reach and permeate the culture with Play. If brain scientists at a symposium in Copenhagen can invite me to speak to them about my work and recognize the value of these ‘brain-connected’ tools, then maybe it’s time for parents to begin appreciating the fact that innovation often hides in plain sight. Puppetry Art is a unique and undervalued art form. It enhances and invites speech in the young because it is organically connected to the hand, gesturing, play, and visual thought. In other words, it is perfect tool for creating learning experiences–and yet it is all but banned–even in early childhood classrooms. It is a powerful media form that reaches kids on a frequency they are already tuned to, and which adults, especially in learning environments, are all but blind to or fearful of using. So, it’s not only Washington and bureaucrats that are responsible for this factory we have created. Play is formative in the development of young minds, and if the learning culture did nothing more than immerse pre-K to Middle School teachers and children in Play-Based curriculum and communication, it would solve an ocean of problems and begin healing the cult

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  28. The revolution is over and technology is here to stay. Instead of bemoaning what has been lost, as educators it is our responsibility to embrace the profound gains that this tool has provided to the learning environment. Who will control market share of the technology used has very little to do with how we choose to use, or not use this technology as an effective learning tool.

  29. And Bill Gates would be the first one to tell you that “operating systems” are obsolete technology. We are now well into the “interneting” of everything. As I am tapping this out on my iPhone, the collective knowledge of mankind is now only a few keystrokes away. As educators, we cannot reJect or ignore this paradigm shift. Rather we should embrace it as the profoundly transformative tool this truly is. It strikes me as rather ironic that we are having this open, informative and critical conversation using the very technology that you fear will be used to standardize, restrict and stifle education.

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  32. Do we need that in Africa?

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  34. Sherri says:

    First, there are many distinct concepts being mashed together in this article, and secondly, the perspective of schools in states with dismal education systems is being overlooked – so where to start? Common Core is a framework of standards, not content, and not a method of teaching. How Common Core gets implemented is up to each school district. True, some districts choose to standardize content, others don’t. True, some districts choose to standardize methodology, others don’t. Some companies naturally would like to replicate their success with textbook sales (aka standardized content in a book) with software sales – hello, free market. Are you being forced to use this software? States often forced the use of a particular text via “state adoption” and by refusing to pay for books not on “the list”. Please technophobes, stop demonizing technology that merely replicates paper. Online portfolios … ever heard of paper portfolios? You know, the stuff kept in a file folder and a grade book? Good grief, you guys are killing me with the conspiracy theories. Now on to the business of local control, and state control of standards. For whatever reason, there are states that set high standards for student achievement, and states that set low standards. This creates a huge disparity in employability, and the ability to pursue advanced degrees. It is no accident that the areas with low standards tend to correlate with high poverty rates. Why should those children be deprived of a the same quality of education students get elsewhere? First, create some semblance of equality by holding everyone across the nation to the same high standards. To meet those standards, schools need access to information and resources. In less affluent districts they can be hard to come by, but if students and teachers have access to the Internet, they can level the playing field. Flatten the earth. Bring the world to their doorsteps. You will be happy to know those same school districts can’t afford Pearson’s software solutions, so creative teachers are hacking their way through to make sure their students aren’t left behind in a knowledge economy. The Common Core framework is not perfect, but it is pretty good. The implementation at the state and local level is sometimes pretty crappy and needs improvement, but is about time we do right by all students and hold every state accountable to the same high standards. Technology is a valuable educational tool when it is used well, and true – sometimes it isn’t used well. The same can be said of a ruler.

  35. Reblogged this on Essence of Child Caring and commented:
    These words are shockingly worriesome! ““In this mode of instruction, these devices become the mediator of almost every academic interaction between students and their teacher, and even one another. Students are assigned work on the device, they perform their work on the device, they share work through the device, and they receive feedback via the device. What is more, the means by which learning is measured—the standardized test—will also be via this device.

    It is the appliance that now becomes “intelligent” about each student and the appliance is the vehicle by which lessons are “personalized,” because the appliance is what is keeping track of what the student is capable of, and where the student is weak.

    Of course the teacher has the ability to oversee and monitor the assignments the device is making, but the whole idea is to automate this process. And this is happening in an environment where there is a clear desire to increase class sizes. Thus we have “personalization” via digital device, at the same time we make teacher-student relationships far more difficult because budget constraints are increasing class sizes..

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