It doesn’t matter how much trouble Mark Zuckerberg might appear to be in with Facebook, he and his wife still find time to mess with education and give elitist advice to teachers.
Their latest initiative is to claim teachers need to learn brain science. They’re donating $1 million to Neuroteach Global, an online PD platform created by the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, calling themselves a mind, brain, and education research center.
Some teachers will get financial support to learn about brain science, while others will pay for it on their own, or likely through their school districts.
It’s also about transforming education to technology.
The group is based out of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland. The sponsors of the program include Teach for America. They’re hoping to sell this program to schools and universities across the country. How ironic that a group like TFA with minimal instruction and understanding about teaching, is a part of promoting brain science to teachers.
Real teachers from reputable university education programs have always taken child development courses and psychology. Special education teachers take more coursework that deals with language difficulties and the brain.
It’s important for teachers to always learn new information and to stay current with the latest research concerning how students learn. And most parents and teachers recognize the importance of digital learning in today’s schools. But this sounds like a way to forward the agenda of online learning, and also a way for a group of people to make money.
According to Ed. Week:
Supporting Neuroteach Global furthers CZI’s goal of education serving the “whole child…”
Last year, the organization announced plans to put hundreds of millions of dollars toward funding “whole-child personalized learning,” with the aim of customizing students’ education to their individual preferences and needs.
Consider that Bror Saxberg is the vice president of learning science at CZI and also a spokesperson about this program. He has an MD and degrees from impressive universities. But his work experience raises red flags when it comes to technology and the privatization of public schools. Saxberg has had high level administrative positions at Kaplan, Inc, K12, Inc., Knowledge Testing Enterprises, and Knowledge Universe.
If the CZI wants to spend their money on brain initiatives I can think of some other causes.
- Ensure that all children come to school well-fed and with an adequate health plan.
- Get the lead out of the water in school buildings and poor homes, a major cause of learning disabilities.
- Elevate the teaching profession to eliminate low moral which causes depression.
- Work to lower class sizes, so teachers will better identify and assist students with mental health difficulties.
- Ensure all schools have enough qualified nurses and counselors.
- Fund great libraries and qualified librarians since this has been shown to improve achievement.
- Put the arts back into every public school, so all students get access to a whole curriculum.
- Fully fund special education across the continuum so students get the support they need.
- Fix poor and dangerous school buildings so students and teachers feel welcome in their schools.
Those behind the program have written a book called Neuroteach: Brain Science and the Future of Education. They’re selling an online program through the school.
Neuroteach Global offers 3- to 5-minute online mini-lessons that introduce research-backed teaching strategies. Users can pay for a 1-hour, 3-hour, or 12-hour course; the longest program, which results in a mind, brain, and education certification, costs $400. As part of the program, teachers apply the strategies the learn with their students and receive feedback from online coaches.
It’s also humiliating to pay to get this instruction from those tied to a private/parochial school with a selective admission fee of $41,000 to St. Andrew’s upper school and $28,000 for the lower school.
How do they know what teachers need in public schools?
Technology can be a great tool to use in the classroom for activities that are fun for children and add to what and how they learn. Learning more about how the brain works is important.
But CZI are driven to end brick-and mortar schools and have every child on a computer, learning at home or in substandard charters. Teach for America recruits know little about teaching and will make great babysitters for students, telling them to sit still and showing them how to stay focused on the computer.
Telling teachers they need to learn brain science to be better teachers is a new kick in the face for teachers, implying they don’t know what they need to teach. It’s meant to be an insult and also to sell an unproven program to make money.
And once again the ultimate goal is to replace teachers with technology.