Today, just three days after it failed to earn a majority of votes from Colorado’s appropriations committee yet still moved to the Senate for a final vote, Colorado’s state legislature passed a bill that will require the creation of a “statewide online and blended learning program.”
The bill, hot off the press from the corporate bill mill known as the American Legislative Exchange Council, will help fast-track the implementation of digital and online learning throughout the state of Colorado.
“The scope of the coming change in the delivery of public education services is massive and more far-reaching than the available constructs of online or blended learning,” the bill states. “The scope of the change is such that every public school in the state must evolve into a digital learning environment.”
If this doesn’t scare you, it should.
First, if an ALEC bill claiming upfront that a massive and far-reaching change in the delivery of public education is on the way – and that public schools must (must?!) evolve to suit their needs – doesn’t make you shudder, I don’t know what will.
Beyond that, there is no evidence that digital, online or blended learning have a positive impact on K-12 learning.
There is, however, plenty of evidence that digital, online, and blended learning will bolster coporate bottom lines and move public education toward the fully privatized system long sought after by education reformers.
Perhaps even more mind-boggling is that the bill ends with Colorado’s controversial “safety clause,” which states: “The general assembly hereby finds…this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety.”
The clause, tagged onto most Colorado bills to prevent citizens from submitting referendum petitions, not only ignores health risks associated with excessive digital and online learning, but also denies safety risks surrounding data security and privacy.
In December, I speculated that with the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we would find ourselves playing an on-going game of whack-a-mole with predatory corporate education bills like this one. In this case, however, Coloradans aren’t even getting a chance to play.
Maybe an alien takeover would be a better analogy.