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How Austerity Generates Data


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Part 6 of 7 in the Series: Education in the Cloud. Introduction at:

Published in: Education
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How Austerity Generates Data

  1. 1. Education in the Cloud Digital Classrooms as Data Factories What is a “Smart” City? Learning Ecosystems and the Internet of Things Blockchain and “The Ledger” How Austerity Generates Data Reinventing Education for Impact Investment
  2. 2. Austerity is crippling our school districts. Lacking sufficient public funding for education, districts have tried the following to balance their budgets: 4-Day School Weeks Dual Enrollment-Outsourcing Instruction to Community Colleges Incentivizing Students To Take 1-2 Cyber Classes Per Year Using Credit Flexibility to Encourage Earning Credit Outside of School Settings Expanding Use of “Blended” Online Learning in Classrooms Erie, PA even considered closing all of their high schools in 2015 as a result of the ongoing state budget crisis. Source
  3. 3. There continues to be pressure for lean production. From Massachusetts’s New State Education Plan Under ESSA: “In an era of increasing demands for public services as the state’s population ages, the education sector will be competing with other public services for financial resources. Districts must continue to find ways to get more out of the people, time, and fiscal resources they already have to help improve outcomes for students, including by reducing inequities in the allocation of resources to different types of students. To this end, the state has created a new Office of Resource Allocation Strategy and Planning to develop new tools and supports for districts to rethink how they use their resources. Source
  4. 4. Empowerment and innovation programs are making inroads. Springfield, MA Source More in Boston Globe Source TexasMassachusetts Colorado Source
  5. 5. Innovation is touted as a way to do more with less. While communities are told innovation districts offer flexibility and autonomy, in reality they strip protections from schools. It is ALEC model legislation. “Innovation” is code for implementing a data-driven, cyber approach to education. Some “innovative” school models are now even promoting virtual schooling at home! Innovative “Flex” Classroom promoted in Hot Springs, AR. Source
  6. 6. Ed-tech is happy to help with “innovative” budget solutions. Opportunity Culture, funded by Gates and Carnegie, wants to “help” schools stay with their budgets by identifying “excellent” teachers (those who “improve” data). Those teachers teach more students by increasing class size. Online blended learning is used in place of face-to-face instruction for much of the school day. Source
  7. 7. Even during lean times, money for ed-tech continues to flow. In 2014 NY voters approved $2 billion for a statewide ed-tech “Smart Schools” bond.
  8. 8. Money can be found for devices, but NOT to restore teachers. There many districts where teachers providing enrichment and electives have all but disappeared. Meanwhile, every child now has a tablet or chromebook for gathering data, and wifi capacity has been upgraded and even extended to school buses.
  9. 9. More Devices = More Data Fewer Teachers = More Time on Devices More Time on Devices = More Data Source More data means your “classroom” will “learn” you more quickly. Thanks IBM! Source
  10. 10. The Every Student Succeeds Act earmarked funding for tech. Ed-tech companies have their eyes on allocations for Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants. ESSA promotes innovation as well as use of blended online learning. Link Link
  11. 11. Public-private partnerships push ed-tech expansion. The Massachusetts Teachers Association is taking a stand against the MAPLE / LearnLaunch statewide ed-tech initiative and plans to document the harm done by so-called “personalized” learning programs. Details HERE Source
  12. 12. Foundations underwrite pilot programs and infrastructure. Organizations like The Learning Accelerator take in funds from a variety of philanthropic organizations (many tied to technology companies) and act as a catalyst to bring ed- tech programs to scale. Source Source
  13. 13. Government grants leverage philanthropic dollars. Investing in innovation (i3) grants were established in 2009 under the Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiative. The matching grant program was set up to leverage partnerships with the private and philanthropic sectors to scale programs with demonstrated “impact” on student achievement. Increasingly, “impact” is assessed in terms of digitally-mediated data. Source
  14. 14. Foundations and benefit corporations seed ed-tech markets. Sessions from LearnLaunch’s 2017 Across Boundaries Conference in Boston. Full agenda HERE.
  15. 15. Meanwhile, venture capital portfolios expand. Global Silicon Valley
  16. 16. Demand for “growth” metrics pushes education online where it can be constantly measured and surveilled. There is an expectation that there be measurable returns on education investments, especially when private interests are involved. Source Academic Social Emotional
  17. 17. Implementation of Value Added Measures and Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) are part of the “growth” narrative. The reform narrative insists education is only of value to the extent that it can be measured and documented digitally. With ESSA’s shift to formative assessments, monitoring will extend to EVERY school day. Big data will be used to control education via “personalized” pathways. Students and teachers who stray beyond the confines of the digital curriculum will be disciplined.
  18. 18. Online formative assessments and adaptive learning systems generate even MORE data! Data changes daily. Children become consumers of content and producers of data. Classrooms become mechanized data factories where all activity is channeled through engines running predictive analytic algorithms. In the future will education “count” if it doesn’t show up on a dashboard? Source
  19. 19. Online activities generate behavioral data. The push towards gamification and playlist education means students can be tracked digitally in ways we do yet fully understand. Unstructured data is being used to profile people based on their online interactions. Source Source Source
  20. 20. Add to that career-oriented data for students as young as 11. Students as young as sixth grade are being asked to take online surveys to identify their “strengths.” In some districts seniors are required to complete Naviance surveys about their future plans in order to receive a diploma. It is unclear who has control over the data flowing into these third party service providers or how it could be used in the future. Naviance is owned by Hobsons. It has partnerships with credit rating agencies, student loan providers and many technology companies. Source
  21. 21. Digital education packages children as datasets for purposes of financial speculation and social control via predictive analytics.