"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Are School Districts are so Incapable they Need Predictive Data Analysis from the Bill Gates Foundation to Provide Education? Pity the "Free Thinker".

Refer to our last posting on who education is for...it's not for the government, corporatists or technocrats.  Parents, taxpayers, teachers and school districts must adopt this belief to protect their children from being used as pawns in the global society to fulfill the goals of the international workforce via student data sets.

Ed Week has an article entitled "Data Tools Aim to Predict Student Performance"  abut the mining of data to ostensibly help students from falling through the cracks.  Students will be data mined based on assessments from curriculum, as well as from information based on  factors such as test scores and attendance, but also looks at students' physical-fitness levels, other health issues, and socioeconomic standing.

If you are in the San Jose Unified School District (or in another school district utilizing invasive data sets), is it time for a bit of civil disobedience if you don't want your child's standardized "one size fits all" assessments, physical fitness level, health issues, socioeconomic standings scrutinized to predict future failure or success?  This is what many school districts believe about your student:

Patte Barth, the director of the Center for Public Education at the National School Boards Association, in Alexandria, Va., who is working on predictive data analysis through a grant from the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, says school boards have reported that the information gleaned from such analysis "takes the stress out of decisionmaking."

"The power in this data is that it makes it much easier to defend decisions and give confidence that districts will get a return on their investment," Barth says. "It helps them identify where the needs are and to align the resources to those needs."

Many school boards are now operating from a business management perspective.  Your child is seen as being "a return on an investment".  How much easier it will be for school boards and administrators to make decisions based on standardized data.  Why are we paying school administrators huge salaries when they are nothing more than glorified office managers?  They don't have to put their careers on the line for decision making.  All they need to do is rely on data sets to make any decisions school boards are still allowed to make.

These assessments begin quite early in public schools.  Your three year old will be facing assessments in many areas of the country.  The chilling results of such early assessments reminds me of a true story from a mom who used "Parents as Teachers" for her first child.

Her child at age 3 was being assessed by a parent educator.  The child was given 4 pictures and was told to "point to the picture that had to do with rain".  The child answered, "It's the picture of the girl with the yellow boots and umbrella".  The parent educator said "point to the picture".  The 3 year old answered, "I TOLD you, it's the picture of the girl with the yellow boots and umbrella".

My friend's daughter used complex language for a 3 year old.   Her understanding of the concept was correct.  What she didn't do is follow directions.  She didn't "point" to the picture (had she possibly been taught it is rude to point?), she verbalized her answer (which is higher level than just pointing) and the parent educator failed the 3 year old based on her non-compliance.  Would this child be considered "at risk"?  Is there a space for children who possess higher level thinking and language skills?  Apparently not since the Parents as Teachers educator failed her on this question.  Is this the moral of the story: you fail if you are too smart for the question?

Ed Week writes:

Education leaders in North Carolina's Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district are scrutinizing the habits and grades of elementary school students to determine who may fall off track and fail to graduate from high school a decade or more from now.
These same assessments will penalize the higher skilled students.  It's a great data tool box to turn out widgets and make students fit into the prescribed educational box and common core rubric.  It's a trap for those students outside of "one size fits all" intellectual and developmental abilities and will penalize those students who are advanced, creative and individualistic.

Who IS public education tailored to these days?  It seems education centers around fairness and educational equity and it's solely for the children who are failing.  This administration is determined failing students fit in that "one size fits all" box and they receive the majority of educational resources.  

Just how is this dependence on data (which makes administrators lazy and impotent) will enable American children to become STEM ready?  It will make them into good little widgets; innovators, not so much.

1 comment:

  1. This is perfect, just found out Gates, whoops Microsoft, has already donated 180,000 to Obama's reelection,,


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