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.