"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Great Schools Partnership, Duke Albanese, and the Gates Foundation

Today in professional development meetings all over the country teachers are learning the virtues of "proficiency based learning," which is sometimes referred to as "competency based" education (CBE), and sometimes referred to as "personalized learning," and sometimes referred to as "self-paced computer assisted learning," and sometimes even referred to as more Gates Foundation-sponsored bullshit. 

The dream of teacher proof schools has been around for more than a hundred years, and it became an obsession after early 20th Century "reformers" took Frederick Winslow Taylor's idea of scientific management of job tasks and tried to apply those concepts and methods to educational tasks.  

What has always stood in the way of the perfect system of efficient rote learning, however, has been the caring and inefficient teacher whose understanding of child needs has always intruded upon the requirements of the most measurably efficient delivery system.  (See Part 1 of The Mismeasure of Education for the skinny on the social efficiency movement during the early 20th Century).

Among business elites, social managers, and entrepreneurial opportunists, the dream of teacherless learning is very much alive today, and with the financial help of arrogant billionaires like Bill Gates and back-slapping, deal-making middle men like Duke Albanese of Maine, it is being tried on a large scale once more in states like Maine.  In fact, competency-based computer assisted parrot learning promises is planned as a principal delivery system for the Common Core that Gates has spent billions to promote.  CBE promises to be a primary tool to get back that money and more for tech companies.

The conduit from Gates to the classroom in Maine flows through financially-connected front groups like the Great Schools Partnership, and the "Duke" occupies positions on that Boards of Directors and others linked to Gates money.  As a former Commissioner of Education in Maine, he knows how to use influence and to get Gates money from Point A to B to C and, of course, to the D.

Below is a letter from Duke to his new friend, Tom Vander Ark in 2002, when Duke was Commissioner of Education and Vander Ark was head of the Gates Foundation.  

It is important because it threw open the door to the massive experiment underway today on the children of Maine today. 

Here is the Press Release from the Gates Foundation in 2002 for its $10 million grant to Maine.  Note that University of Southern Maine is a primary recipient, and you may note, too, that a number of the main actors from the Great Schools Partnership are in charge of this charade being played out in Maine.  These same folks received their credentialing from USM.

1 comment:

  1. How soon we forget. Proficiency or competency based education, CBE, is basically Outcomes Based Education, OBE, done with better technology.
    Meaningful learning doesn't happen this way' so we change learning to something meaningless so we can measure whatever that is.