"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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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Why the Republicans Don't Want Common Core Rescinded.


You are invited to the educational reform party masqueraded as Common Core and School "Choice"


Common Core allows State Longitudinal Data Systems to share information.  The information does not only include state wide assessment scores and educational data, it will include invasive personal data on students and families.  This data will be used to track children from birth into careers.  This data will be supplied to various Federal agencies and private researchers/companies determined by the DOEd.  Why is it agreeable to Republicans to gather this information and disseminate your personal information for workforce development?

The party won't address Common Core and the power taken away from states because there's a lot of money to be made in these assessments and data.  We've written about Scott Joftus and referring to education as the "Wild Wild West" and an enormous amount of money to be made in education.  It's not about the kids; it's about the ed tech bubble and fortunes to be realized.  


As I wrote last week in a story about LearnSprout, another quickly growing San Francisco startup tackling the same issue, data integration is a major headache for schools and developers. Accessing student data — from attendance records to grades to addresses — can currently be a weeks-long, labor-intensive, error-prone process that discourages schools from working with ed tech companies.

“Moving and managing data is one of the biggest things holding education back today,” said co-founder Tyler Bosmeny. The company’s traction, he said, shows how badly developers and educators need tools that integrate and normalize student data.

Some of the schools integrated with Clever include large charter school networks like KIPP, ASPIRE, and Green Dot, but the company said 50 percent of its schools are in traditional districts. Clever charges over 30 software companies, such as Mastery Connect, TenMarks, Sokikom, for access to its API so that those software companies can process student data and charge school districts for their educational services.

The company, which was founded by Bosmeny and two Harvard classmates, Dan Carroll and Rafael Garcia, was inspired by Carroll’s experience in education. After completing two years with Teach for America, Carroll managed technology and innovation for a Denver charter school and “lived this problem” with data, Bosmeny said.

Clever’s growth not only speaks to the current issues facing schools and developers, it indicates the founders’ desire to show the potential of education startups. While K-12 education has, more recently, attracted investment, investors have historically eschewed the field. To their knowledge, Clever’s founders said they think they’re the first K-12 startup accepted to Y Combinator.

“We really want to show that education can be a valuable business if you approach it the right way,” said Bosmeny. “We hope we can take away the barrier and prove that education is a real market and there’s a lot of room for innovation in this space.”


What this TFAer took away from his experience was not how to teach kids, but what was needed on the business side of education: the gathering and posting of data.  This Harvard graduates has a first hand knowledge of what data needs to be gathered, not how to educate children.  He "lived with the problem of data".  Did he "live with the problem of educating a child"?

When you hear legislators extoll the value of TFAers, remember that many of them do their two years, leave the profession and apply their business degrees to figure out how to make money from the educational machine.   

Common Core standards (written by private companies) have mandated this enormous data retrieval.  The mandates have created  a niche for private companies to compel states to spend money on these systems.  The states have to provide the data; the private companies are delighted to supply this need.   THIS is why the Republicans are loath to rescind the standards.  If there are no standards, there is no vehicle/mandate to require this data.  No data means no private start ups to gather the data.  It doesn't matter to the Republicans that these private start ups are using Federal and state money for their "entrepreneurial" ventures.



The drought is over and capital is flowing to innovators in K-12, postsecondary, and consumer learning. That’s the conclusion of a report from GSV Advisors including industry veterans Deborah Quazzo and Michael Moe. They examine the “near spontaneous explosion of entrepreneurial activity in education.”

...With more capital flowing, GSV points to four remaining challenges the primary obstacles to scale can be classi´Čüed as the following:
  • People: New talent is being attracted to education but there is still a short supply of management and engineering talent.
  • Product: There are limited early adopters to support product evaluation and iterative development.
  • Potential: Education is a huge segment of the economy but strangled by layers of policy and bureaucracy, and anti-market bias, and inefficient decentralized procurement.
  • Predictability: Traditional political and budget vagaries have been exacerbated by the Great Recession, disruptive technologies, and new philanthropies.
How did the spontaneous combustion occur? Page 10 of the report is the “Magic Chart” that summarizes the coalescence of four change forces: advancing technology, maturing markets, innovation friendly education policy, and improving human capital. I would add a global overlay; the doubling of education expenditures in India and china is building demand for new learning tools, and viral apps quickly develop a global presence.


The "challenge to Potential" is being addressed and answered by Arne Duncan's policies and the Republicans' support of Common Core mandates and LDS.  The standards, assessments and curricula are becoming quite centralized, cutting out those pesky standards for education (which are state powers, not powers delegated to a centralized bureauracy) that are impediments for these education venture capitalists. 

The "Magic Chart" needs the innovation friendly education policy (school "choice") and the improvement of human capital.  The companies don't care how children are educated or what they learn, the companies just need to show improvement on the assessments these educational venture capitalists have fashioned.  Human capital are widgets.  Your children are pawns in a money making scheme masquerading as education.  The Republicans touting themselves as constitutionalists are masquerading behind the education reform mask as well.

Republicans don't want this business segment to disappear.   Common Core allows this private segment to tap into taxpayer dollars.   This is the reason you hear Republicans clamoring for school "choice".  It's "for the kids" is secondary or non-existent. 







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