Teaching children can be a beautiful thing. But there are so many needs right now due to years of inadequate funding and mismanagement. One solution to many problems is lowering class sizes.
But read this article about a K-12 Mega-Merger and it’s easy to see that lowering class size is only on the minds of teachers and parents.
Five education businesses are merging into one—which will be called Illuminate Education—under the leadership of long-time K-12 executive Christine Willig, the investment firm Insight Venture Partners announced today.
Welcome to school privatization! Big business now looks at public schools through the lens of competition and market forces that are all about data. Your child’s data. These edupreneurs have a grip on kids, teachers, and their schools. Companies jockey for money and profits.
Willig says, We’re going to deliver what educators and teachers ask for and students need – truly adaptive assessments, data and analytics that inform instruction, and linkages to curriculum and third-party resources in a single interoperable environment wherein choice and opportunity become nearly unlimited.
What teachers is she talking about? The teachers I know aren’t thinking about this. And she thinks students need more assessments, data, and analytics? Really?
Here’s what Illuminate brags about.
Track student’s behavior and receive notifications when students are in need of interventions.
- Track major and minor incidents, antecedents, behaviors, consequences, important dates, participants, location, time and more.
- Generate reports to track and monitor behavior.
- Receive notifications based on consequence, number of days, and more to help maintain compliance and ensure required documentation is completed on time.
Worry about these words. Track, compliance, and consequences. Worry about the connecting of all this to a student’s future, including what job qualifications they will get for employment.
This mega-merger world probably seems foreign to teachers. They’re back in the classroom focusing on students and their real needs. They worry about how children struggle in school and the problems they face at home. Class sizes are so large, it’s a struggle to get to know students so they can help them.
Here’s what they are probably worried about more than data analytics.
- Did my students get breakfast?
- How do I help my students care for each other?
- Will they get food over the weekend and vacations?
- Are they unwell?
- How do I teach my students in overcrowded conditions?
- Will our school close if test scores aren’t good enough?
- Do I have enough materials to adequately teach?
- How much money will I have to pay for materials?
- How do I help the students with disabilities and/or giftedness in my class?
- Is it possible that I’ll lose my job?
- Is my salary enough to make ends meet for my family?
- Are my students drinking safe water?
- Will they face an ICE agent when they get home?
- Are their parents out of work?
- Is it true that they’re homeless?
This bold new world makes data look like that’s all teaching is about. But teachers work on solutions that matter.
Here are the companies that will merge.
Here’s Alpine Achievement’s video.
How do teachers find time to analyze so much information? How long are their planning periods? The teachers I know can’t find time to use the bathroom!
Here’s the confusing privacy pledge.
Did Billy pick on Johnny in class today? Make a note of it. Is Toby moving along fast enough on his subtraction? Document it! Make sure you keep track of every number, problem, and behavior! How obsessive is this?
What you won’t find is much substantive about what to do with students, after the information is collected. That’s because students will face screens to peck at answers like pigeons. This is about “student ownership” (a euphemism for students without teachers) and personalized learning.
These companies might get rich, but they’re shortsighted. While they worry about their bottom line, teachers carry on (for now) doing the heavy lifting, working on the mergers that really matter to society.
How long will they be able to do that? Time will tell.
Nationwide teachers better wake up and smell the coffee. This has been creeping up for years and none will take time or risk their job for the children they are supposed to be caring about. I’m sorry to put it this way. The large Unions have been letting this happen until it has become a festering malignancy that needs attention NOW! I’m afraid that it has already gone too far….just look at the picture of Lillian smiling with Dintersmith to know that this has been the plan all along.
Nancy Bailey says
I’m not happy with either the NEA or AFT leadership. A lot of union members aren’t either. But when you get down to the job of teaching, most teachers are hanging on by a string. Or they leave. It’s also tough when you’re relying on your salary and need the job.
Rick Bobrick says
Once most kids hit middle school they are no longer the generally enthusiastic and compliant students they were in elementary school. They become jaded and a bit rebellious in early adolescence as school becomes repetitive and tiresome. Inattention and social distractions become more appealing than classroom instruction for far too many students. The reform crowd seems to view students, regardless of age, as mini adults – curious and eager learners who are being held back by lazy burned out teachers. This is why they view software as the next silver bullet;. Software in place of teachers is a fool’s errand, as middle schoolers will quickly turn the silicon dreams of these amateur meddlers into a computer game to be toyed with.