Is Technology Setting Up Our Students for Failure?

One of the most obvious changes in education in the last decade has been the proliferation of technology in the classroom. The digital revolution started contemporaneously with the nationwide release of the Common Core Standards, after which paper textbooks were quickly ushered out, replaced by computers and digital texts. With that came promises of improved academic performance and a narrowing of the achievement gap.   It came as no surprise to grassroots education advocates that the promises were hollow. Academic performance has stagnated or declined in the majority of districts, and the lowest performing students are doing worse based on the most recent NAEP

6 Big Problems with Latest “Social Emotional Learning” Report

Last week, the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (the Commission) issued their final report after a two-year process of convening meetings and gathering information. As has been covered many times in this space and others, there are many contradictions in logic and many problems with expanding social emotional learning (SEL) as envisioned by proponents. Here are some of the key issues: 1.) The Commission promotes the care and development of the “whole child” as an individual while simultaneously pushing standardized SEL teaching and assessment via “state standards, guidance, and frameworks” and the trend toward machine

FBI Warns of Grave Cyber Security Threat to Students from School Tech

Finally! Although the horse may be long out of the barn, the FBI should nevertheless be commended for issuing this warning about the dangers of education technology and cyber security threats for students and their families: The FBI is encouraging public awareness of cyber threat concerns related to K-12 students. The US school systems’ rapid growth of education technologies (EdTech) and widespread collection of student data could have privacy and safety implications if compromised or exploited. The warning gives a list of many types of data that can maliciously exploited, rightly saying that this is not all-inclusive: personally identifiable information

Is Technology Pushing Teachers Toward Extinction?

Education policy makers are vocal in their lamentations about the current teacher shortage. Although state school leaders across the country espouse their state has it worse than every other state, the reality is that nationwide, fewer and fewer students are going into teaching. Even Teach for America — which has notoriously staffed classrooms with non-teacher, Ivy League grads who don’t really want to be teachers, either — has shown a decrease in applications. “The erosion is steady. There’s a steady downward line on a graph. And there’s no sign that it’s being turned around,” said Bill McDiarmid, past Dean of the University

OECD Pushes Facebook-Style Personality Profiling of Students Worldwide

In an article for The Daily Caller last week, APP senior fellows Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins clearly explained the dangers and consequences for education of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal. Those consequences are nicely summarized as follows: In the No Free Lunch Department, Doug Levin of EdTech Strategies, LLC warned, “Privacy experts have long been concerned about schools pushing parents onto the third-party platforms that are based on selling advertising and user data.” Facebook and ed-tech companies view your child as an economic unit, no more, no less, and whether he actually masters any academic content from using their platforms is

“Personalized Learning”: The Big Problem with Education’s Latest Fad

We’re a culture of trend followers, forever chasing the next big thing — whether clothes, cars, food, or fashion. The education sector is no different, racking up failed trend after failed trend in the name of saving education. Take personalized learning, for example, which has been tried again and again in various forms since the 1970s. Nearly 50 years later, the concept continues to offer questionable results for schools and students, yet it won’t seem to go away. AltSchool, founded by a former Google wonk in 2013, is the latest example. A much-heralded network of private pre-K through 8 schools,