Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Grim Future of Public Education in the Face of "Personalized Learning"

As a student of history, who has watched how the financialization of capital and the expansion of technology has affected labor markets, housing markets, and the political process, I am incredibly pessimistic about the future of public education. After the recent financial collapse, more and more of those with investment capital seeking profitable outlets have are seeing education, and educational technology, as potential growth areas. Resistance to standardized testing and Common Core confronted them with a temporary setback, but now they are poised to make an end run around the Opt Out movement by concentrating on "personalized learning" which requires a huge investment in computerization of classrooms as well as software. Along with this remaking of schooling, they plan a data based reinvention of teacher education which will require the closing, or reinvention of colleges of teacher education. If these plans go through, and majority of the nation's teachers and teacher educators are likely to lose their jobs in the next 10 years, to be replaced by people who will largely be temp workers making little more than minimum wage. This has already happened in higher education with the switch to adjunct labor. It is about to sweep through our public schools with the force of a juggernaut.
Can it be stopped? Based on the reports I am getting from places as far apart as Colorado, Maine, Florida and Connecticut, it is going to require resistance on a scale far beyond anything we have seen to prevent this from going into effect.
Given the impact on wages, and jobs, along with the destruction of any forms of collective experience in a school setting, it looks to me like the Oligarchy is ready to make itself invulnerable for the next `100 years.


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skrashen said...

The following statement about CBE (competency based education aka personalized learning) is from the National Governor's Association's paper, a document that aggressively promotes it: "Although an emerging research base suggests that CBE is a promising model, it includes only a few rigorous evaluations and analyses of current and ongoing CBE pilots and similar programs" (p. 6). Despite this admitted gap, "Efforts to start transitioning to CBE systems have begun in both K-12 and higher education through discussions at the federal, state, and local levels" (p. 4). And, we might add, these efforts are supported by the new education law.
IN OTHER WORDS: No hard evidence that it works but we are doing it anyway!

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