Ed Reform 2.0 is a phrase I have been using to describe the new wave of data-driven privatization that has been unleashed by the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act. When reformers talk about getting rid of the “factory model” of education and replacing it with something that is “personalized,” “twenty-first century,” and “future ready” this is what they actually mean.
Ed Reform 2.0 proponents are in the process of redesigning public education to:
- be accessed through digital devices (laptops, tablets, phones)
- be monitored and surveilled
- rely on algorithm-driven, adaptive learning management systems (Achieve 3000, i-Ready, Study Island) developed by corporate interests
- use games and augmented reality experiences to collect behavioral data
- be assessed increasingly by artificial intelligence
- have limited face-to-face instruction with human teachers
- significantly reduce the number of traditionally-certified educators
- generate vast amounts of data on students, teachers, schools and districts
- track “growth” as determined by data/metrics to evaluate “returns on investment” (ROI) for venture capital’s Pay for Success and Social Impact Bond schemes
- comply with workforce demands, despite the fact that automation makes employment projections uncertain in many industries
- be supplemented with “project-based learning” outsourced to community providers
- replace traditional grades with demonstrations of competency for which badges or online credentials are awarded
- replace diplomas with online portfolios in which “lifelong learning” skills are stored
If the Ed Reform 2.0 approach is not what you want, now is the time to resist.