By now, most people know that the Common Core State Standards have not only been an epic failure, but that the PR machine designed to sell the standards to the public was a botched job as well.
Unfortunately, not as many folks realize that our billionaire reformers have been working equally hard to sell the public on a make-believe need for “personalized learning” (which also goes by “competency-based” or the highly deceptive term “student-centered” learning) along with the one-to-one digital devices that will make (they hope) this highly lucrative K-12 transformation possible.
Here is just a sample of what the corporate and foundation-fueled agents of the personalized learning PR machine have done over the past few years:
- Used market research techniques to create a “Core Story of Education” messaging system, complete with talking points, sample twitter messages, and letters to the editor
- Provided local broadcast stations funding for “solutions-based” (read: pro-personalized learning) education reporters
- Set up nonprofits that bamboozle lawmakers by taking over state “teacher of the year” programs and sending letters of support for personalized learning policies on such teachers behalf
- Developed locally based communications plans that deliver sample sermons to local ministers with embedded personalized learning propaganda (and no, I’m really not making this up)
- Leveraged and even gone undercover as members of the Opt Out movement to encourage parents to opt in to personalized learning
Thankfully, despite the millions of dollars being spent on the propaganda effort, the growing number of parents and teachers voicing their concerns over this research-devoid, massively expensive effort to remake our schools suggests that reformers might very well be botching this job too.
And there’s no question that increased pushback from parents already has personalized learning salesmen wringing their hands: recently, Bruce Friend – the Chief Operating Officer of iNACOL, dedicated an entire session at a Pearson-sponsored conference to a discussion of one New Jersey mom and teacher who raised concerns about the efficacy of her district’s “blended learning” program.
At the upcoming Digital Learning Show in Dubai, former Gates Foundation executive Tom Vander Ark will host a session on how to “take your institution into the 21st century.” This, of course, includes ways to “overcome challenges encountered in the implementation of blended and personalized learning” – which no doubt means dodging those pesky informed parents who don’t want their children learning from a tablet all day long nor do they appreciate having their state education policy manipulated by corporate profiteers dressed up as local organizations.
With all that said, I’d like to personally invite Mr. Vander Ark, Mr. Friend, Mr. Gates, and anyone else involved in their reform efforts to join a group of parents and teachers who know exactly what they are planning for us and are not happy about it to a webinar sponsored by Parents Across America this Sunday, October 16th, at 7pm. Perhaps they’d like to take some notes to prepare for their upcoming workshops.
Parents, teachers, and anyone else interested in the latest reform efforts that are now flying at us fast and furious are, of course, also encouraged to join.
Click here for all the info you need.