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

Monday, April 22, 2019

Kansas Parents Take on Summit Learning

 This is not about education. This is about plans to make education for-profit and to minimize overhead by gradually rendering human teachers -- and brick and mortar schools -- obsolete. --pjc (top comment at New York Times story)

 Summit Learning, which is a Silicon Valley business scheme to depersonalize school learning (see explanations gathered here), save money on teachers and facilities, and to make more tech millionaires, has been around since 2003.  In 2014, the sociopathic Mark Zuckerberg got personally involved, and it wasn't long after that he started buying up politicians in Kansas and other places that had no clue what an insidious, destructive, and oppressive system of schooling that was about to be foisted on their children.  

The New York Times has done a bang-up story on what is happening in Kansas, where parents and students are striking back against their compromised school officials and the Silicon Valley oligarchs who have bought them.  A clip:
. . . .Silicon Valley had come to small-town Kansas schools — and it was not going well.
“I want to just take my Chromebook back and tell them I’m not doing it anymore,” said Kallee Forslund, 16, a 10th grader in Wellington.
Eight months earlier, public schools near Wichita had rolled out a web-based platform and curriculum from Summit Learning. The Silicon Valley-based program promotes an educational approach called “personalized learning,” which uses online tools to customize education. The platform that Summit provides was developed by Facebook engineers. It is funded by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician.

Many families in the Kansas towns, which have grappled with underfunded public schools and deteriorating test scores, initially embraced the change. Under Summit’s program, students spend much of the day on their laptops and go online for lesson plans and quizzes, which they complete at their own pace. Teachers assist students with the work, hold mentoring sessions and lead special projects. The system is free to schools. The laptops are typically bought separately.
Then, students started coming home with headaches and hand cramps. Some said they felt more anxious. One child began having a recurrence of seizures. Another asked to bring her dad’s hunting earmuffs to class to block out classmates because work was now done largely alone.
“We’re allowing the computers to teach and the kids all looked like zombies,” said Tyson Koenig, a factory supervisor in McPherson, who visited his son’s fourth-grade class. In October, he pulled the 10-year-old out of the school.

In a school district survey of McPherson middle school parents released this month, 77 percent of respondents said they preferred their child not be in a classroom that uses Summit. More than 80 percent said their children had expressed concerns about the platform.

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