Pearson’s Creepy Vision For the Future of Education Confirms Common Core Fears


By Danette Clark

Pearson Education, an official partner in the development of resources and tests for the Common Core State Standards, released a video series last week to share their ‘vision for the future of learning’.

Although the technology shown by Pearson is impressive, these videos confirm the fears of many teachers about what will be expected of them and many parents regarding intrusive data mining of their children’s personal information.

In these videos, educators’ teaching styles are monitored by real-time cameras in every classroom and evaluated on the use of specific points of instruction. It goes without saying that dictating specific teaching strategies makes for big problems, especially if those strategies are used for indoctrination purposes. Just look to Texas for testimony of teachers that say they were reprimanded and threatened with dismissal if they failed to teach in the exact manner directed by CSCOPE.

Pearson also confirms (again) Common Core’s global agenda as students are shown participating in ‘global learning’ activities much like the Model United Nations program I wrote about here (which Pearson actively supports).

This vision of the future also entails teachers and school administrators having instant access to an individualized schedule on each student — not just an in-school/class schedule, but a schedule of the student’s activities and whereabouts outside of school.

In the video, Victoria’s Story: School of Thought–A Vision for the Future of Learning, Pearson demonstrates ease of access to students’ personal lives by showing a teacher instantaneously pulling Victoria’s schedule and sharing with another teacher that Victoria has soccer practice after school that time of year.

While it’s not clear from the video whether Victoria’s soccer practice is a school activity or part of an athletic organization not affiliated with the school, Pearson has shown that they believe educators should have knowledge of all extra-curricular activities students participate in.

For example, Pearson documents like this one (Creating a Classroom Environment That Promotes Positive Behavior) discuss the importance of evaluating data on a student’s after-school activities and other factors of the child’s life at home and in the community.

While this may be necessary for  students with severe behavior problems or a criminal record, the student with the ‘behavior problem’ referred to in Creating a Classroom Environment That Promotes Positive Behavior is a child who simply cannot keep still and talks out of turn.

Although Pearson apparently believes the more information the better, many parents would rightfully view this as a threat to their children’s privacy and safety, especially considering that student data is now being shared and sold all over the country.

FERPA laws that were put in place long ago to protect the privacy of student information were recently revised by the Obama administration to allow access to student data by third parties without parental consent.

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics provides a data model (the National Education Data Model (NEDM)) listing hundreds of very specific individual data points of information on children that they believe “all education stakeholders” need for “effective instruction of students and superior leadership of schools”.

The list of data points currently includes bus stop times, bus stop description, nickname, letters of commendation from any employer or community organization, any medals/awards for athletic or academic achievement, place of residence after the student graduates or withdraws from school, and a detailed reason for absences (family activities or vacation, family emergency, religious observance, etc.).

Data points that were recently scrubbed from the National Education Data Model due to public outcry over their level of intrusiveness included blood type, eye and hair color, birth marks, and whether or not the student was born premature.

The National Education Data Model was created through a partnership between the U.S. Department of Education (as funder) and the Common Core State Standards’ very-own Council of Chief State School Officers (as coordinator).

According to Pearson, the School of Thought videos present “a vision of the future that integrates technology, neuroscience, and educational psychology into everyday life to make anytime, anywhere learning possible”.

Take notice of those words — ‘neuroscience’ and ‘psychology’.

The narrator of Victoria’s Story, Pearson’s own Jeff Borden, eerily appears around the corner to Victoria’s bedroom in the video and explains that students’ learning styles and needs will be constantly analyzed so educators will know “the time of day, part of the week, and the season of the year when each student is most productive”.

So what kind of neuroscience and educational psychology is Pearson referring to for use in the constant analyzing of student learning and to know the time of day a student is most productive?

The Department of Education document, Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century, recommends evaluating students’ emotions, anxiety levels, and physiological traits using neuroscience devices like computers or tablets that record facial expression. Other devices recommended will monitor students’ brain wave patterns, skin conductance, heart rate variability, posture, and eye movement.

Get ready tax payers — if Common Core isn’t stopped, you will foot the bill for highly advanced devices that will be used to spy on America’s children 24 hours a day.


12 responses to “Pearson’s Creepy Vision For the Future of Education Confirms Common Core Fears

  1. Your research and presentation of this material is so valuable I’m going to forward it to our state legislators. I draw heavily from it in my own research and know from research experience the enormous effort you have put into this work. In fact, in large part due to what I’ve found here I have had to reassess my priorities as to the most dangerous threat to our country. Common Core, in my opinion is right there at the top.

  2. Fantastic post on the dangers of Common Core and the Common Core mindset. As a homeschooler I am very concerned that school districts will be using the new standardized tests (rewritten for Common Core) to keep my classically-educated kids out of college, or even to interfere with our homeschool. The technology, which I am inclined to get excited about when it creates tools for homeschoolers, also scares me because of what we already know the school system will do to children who don’t comply and fork over their data. I recently read a letter exchange about how children in Utah who opt out of the new testing will be given a non-proficient rating in place of the usual data. Rather than simply labeling these students as opt-outs, they will actually stigmatize the children as sub-par and their classrooms and schools will be subject to consequences like less funding. So my question is, what will happen when some states force standardized testing on homeschooled students who then opt out and are labeled non-proficient? Will we be forced to send our children to public school so they can be remediated by the experts? Common Core has taken a dangerous, earth-eating step away from parental rights. From here, it’s a slippery slope to complete statism in our education system. “You will be assimilated” is now a real thing.

    • “So my question is, what will happen when some states force standardized testing on
      homeschooled students who then opt out and are labeled non-proficient?”

      I think that is exactly the intent/plan. The fact that ACT/SATs are being aligned to Common Core really concerns me as well. Thank you Katrina.

  3. I certainly don’t mind a watchdog and I am all for transparency, but I think you should do a bit more digging here. The narrator you refer to as so “creepy” is actually a pretty amazing educator, speaker, AND EDUCATION REFORMER. You’re right – he works for Pearson, but you should probably speak to him about his thoughts on standardization, Common Core, etc. I’ve heard him speak on two different occasions – probably the best education speaker I’ve heard – better than Sir Ken Robinson even! But his message aligns with a lot of people you probably agree with – Sir Ken Robinson, Dan Pink, Jane McGonigal, Clark Aldrich, John Holt, etc. I don’t doubt that Pearson is making money off of standardized tests, etc., but while they may be exploiting a business need that is coming from educators, their company is huge. They seem to have a lot of people on both sides of the Common Core fence, both sides of the standardized test fence, etc. I can’t speak for Dr Borden, who is also a university professor, but I really wish you would do some more digging before making all of these assumptions. He’s a researcher and a teacher first and foremost – a technologist and reformer next. After his company was acquired by Pearson he automatically became part of the bigger group, but this conspiracy theory piece isn’t really fair. When he talks about neuroscience from respected researchers like the “Brain Rules” author (sorry, I can’t remember his name), he’s serious. Ignoring how people learn best is foolish for educators to ignore, isn’t it? The one thing I agree with you on here is the video feed of teachers. That’s pretty big brother. 🙂 But I’m quite serious that you should do some more research on this guy before you thrown him to the wolves. You might even ask him his thoughts. I think you’d be surprised. -JS

    • I didn’t say anything bad about Bordern himself, just that the idea of monitoring students constantly (at home) is eery (or ‘big brother’ as you might say). Studies on the way the brain works have been used for many decades in developing education/teaching strategies and I have no problem with that. But my children’s thoughts, emotions, anxieties and out of school activities are off limits except to a very limited and trusted few. Pearson has more than a finger in the progressive pie and there is no excuse for that in my book. That makes them creepy. The next post I’m working on confirms even further Pearson’s desire to not only know too much about students but also to share it with pretty much anyone and everyone (via student/school data systems created BY Pearson). Hardly a conspiracy. By the way, I did look into Borden (although only briefly) before writing this post and found nothing I dislike about him absent his association with Pearson and obvious view on personal student information and tracking.

  4. Pingback: What Happens if the System Knows Everything About Your Child | Grumpy Opinions

  5. Pingback: More Than a Just Creepy Vision — Pearson Student Data Systems Already in Use | Danette Clark

  6. Pingback: More Than a Just Creepy Vision — Pearson Student Data Systems Already in Use | Grumpy Opinions

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  9. Reblogged this on stopcommoncorenys and commented:
    Older but relevant.

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