Sorry NYTimes. We’re Onto You.

This morning, the New York Times published an editorial claiming that our high school diplomas are meaningless.

Isn’t that funny?  That’s  exactly what the Digital Learning Now Council has been claiming too.

The DLN Council, made up of CEO’s and representatives from across the charter, ed-tech, and assessment industries, recently published a document called “Navigating the Digital Shift,” calling for all states to implement “proficiency” (competency) based diplomas.

In 2012, my poor home state of Maine  fell victim  to a well-orchestrated, Gates-funded PR campaign and has so far been the only state to make this corporate-driven idea a reality.

Apparently, the Times editors are of the same mind as Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon-Mobile, who recently angered parents across the country with his claim that the business community is the customer of public schools, and thus we have a responsibility to turn out products (people) that they can use.

According to the Times, “some South Carolina business leaders are worried that the state is producing high school graduates who are not qualified to compete for higher-skilled jobs at companies like Boeing, Volvo and BMW.”

I wonder if they’ve been talking to members of the Maine Chamber of Commerce, who recently urged our state lawmakers to “stay the course” on our experimental proficiency-based diploma mandate despite the havoc it is wreaking on our schools, because, according to their newsletters, “Business is, after all, the number one consumer of our public education system.”

Unfortunately for next-gen reformers, David Ruff of the Gates and Nellie Mae-funded Great Schools Partnership let the cat out of the bag when he explained in this article by digital-learning zealot Tom Vander Ark: “I like the idea of starting with graduation requirements as this is a huge leverage point…We are not telling schools how to teach, but rather, how the state coordinates what it means to graduate.”

Vander Ark, of course – who advised the Digital Learning Now Council, which devised policies that have been adopted by the American Legislative Exchange Council and made their way into the recent reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, thinks that kids should get to school each day and be greeted with a graph that looks like this:



and that if the system finds they are off-track in any way, they should receive a big red warning system.


It’s also quite telling that the New York Times references a study by Achieve in their editorial.

If you’ve never seen this flowchart, devised by the brilliant Morna McDermott, check it out now and see how intimately connected Achieve is with big business, Common Core, and the infamous Pearson:

Screen shot 2015-12-31 at 9.47.10 AM.png


Now check out the  link  the New York Times provides to Achieve, and see what policies it recommends.


Screen shot 2015-12-31 at 9.47.45 AM.png

What do you know! Competency-based pathways!

Next-gen ed reformers are absolutely determined to make this idea (which has been around for decades) work once and for all, and it seems that they’ve enlisted the New York Times Editorial Board to help spin the requisite story-telling to generate public buy-in.

What do you say we stop them in their tracks?

Go  here  to leave a comment on the Times article.
























Author: Emily Talmage

My name is Emily Talmage and I teach fourth grade at Montello Elementary School in Lewiston, Maine. In addition to teaching in Lewiston, I have also taught special education and general education in New York City, including one year at a “high-performing” charter school in Brooklyn. I also have two master’s degrees; one in Urban Education from Mercy College, and another in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. I have also worked as a research analyst and assistant at the National Center for Children and Families at Columbia and Oldham Innovative Research in Portland.

7 thoughts on “Sorry NYTimes. We’re Onto You.”

  1. Thanks for this post. Looking at Achieve’s site, South Carolina was one of the states they have “chosen.” What a coincidence! The corruption of the media and corporate-led Ed reform run deep. I think I’ve located three articles suddenly questioning the value of our current diplomas – with a focus on $outh Carolina in particular!

    No worries! Achieve, the “nonprofit organization” has the solution to help SC schools en$ure students are college and career ready. It’s competency based diplomas! They can even provide you with the products and companies$ Pearsonpearsonpearson that can prepare $tudents for the te$t$! Ugh

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks so much for this, Emily. I tried to leave a comment to the Times editorial, but the comments section is already closed. If parents aren’t repulsed by the Summit “Public Schools” graph you posted here, then there is no hope. Our zeitgeist has been almost completely taken over by callous technocracy. Thanks to your brilliant exposes of this insidious plan to robotize a generation of children, maybe we can turn the tide.

    Liked by 1 person

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