Thursday, February 4, 2016

Why "Competency Based Education' May Be a Greater Danger Than Common Core

There are many things frightening about the latest Big Thing the Feds are pushing - "Competency Based Education" which will have school children as young as kindergarten sitting in front of computers most of their school day and have their skills evaluated on line.

Among the important issues critics have raised are privacy concerns regarding the centralized data collection the system requires; the de-professionalization of teaching as teachers main role is reduced to monitoring students computer usage rather than actually teaching them; the reduction of human interaction with other students and teachers in such away that possibilities for social and emotional learning are destroyed

All of those critiques are powerful- but given the environmental damage in the wake of the Flint water crisis, I have to bring up the issue of the health impact of this kind of pedagogy. Can young children's eyesight be undermined by sitting in front of a computer 6 hours a day when much of their time out of school is spent doing the same thing? Are there dangers of children acquiring carpel tunnel syndrome? Are there skeletal and back injuries that can be acquired by sitting in one place for such a large period of time?

It is really frightening to see how quickly this is being implemented without serious consideration of the Collateral Damage of this pedagogical strategy. It reminds me of the way Common Core was implemented. Especially since huge profits stand to be made by computer manufacturers and software companies- and the cost savings to governments as a result of de-skilling the teaching profession.

So parents need to wake up. Competency Based Education may be a greater danger to their children than Common Core.


Sheila Resseger said...

Mark, Your concerns are well-founded, and then some. There has been considerable scientific evidence collected over decades that exposure of young children (and pregnant women) to wifi radiation at the rates now being considered with 1:1 devices for every child every day may be potentially very harmful to their health. There is next to no attention paid to this in the U.S. media. Other countries are paying attention and taking steps to protect their school children, but America is rushing full steam ahead. For a start on the scientific evidence, I suggest the following website. Parents in Montgomery County, MD are very concerned about this and have been posting relevant scientific studies for some time. And this is on top of the other serious pitfalls to allowing computer algorithms to provide content, monitor responses, assess student "competency," and allow students to proceed or not. And remember that CBE "mastery" is still based on the Common Core So-Called $tandards. We are definitely at the Orwellian stage of words used to persuade that mean the opposite--i.e. "personalization."

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