June 7, 2017

Tech companies invading public schools

NY Times - In San Francisco's public schools, Marc Benioff, the chief executive of Salesforce, is giving middle school principals $100,000 "innovation grants" and encouraging them to behave more like start-up founders and less like bureaucrats.

In Maryland, Texas, Virginia and other states, Netflix's chief, Reed Hastings, is championing a popular math-teaching program where Netflix-like algorithms determine which lessons students see.

And in more than 100 schools nationwide, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief, is testing one of his latest big ideas: software that puts children in charge of their own learning, recasting their teachers as facilitators and mentors.

In the space of just a few years, technology giants have begun remaking the very nature of schooling on a vast scale, using some of the same techniques that have made their companies linchpins of the American economy. Through their philanthropy, they are influencing the subjects that schools teach, the classroom tools that teachers choose and fundamental approaches to learning.

But the philanthropic efforts are taking hold so rapidly that there has been little public scrutiny.

Tech companies and their founders have been rolling out programs in America's public schools with relatively few checks and balances, The New York Times found in interviews with more than 100 company executives, government officials, school administrators, researchers, teachers, parents and students.

"They have the power to change policy, but no corresponding check on that power," said Megan Tompkins-Stange, an assistant professor of public policy at the University of Michigan. "It does subvert the democratic process."

Furthermore, there is only limited research into whether the tech giants' programs have actually improved students' educational results.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There it is again; this lie that these wealthpowerful overfortunated giga-billionaires are philanthropists. For pity sake, if I steal your rightful wages/wealth legally, Society, it's still theft. And if I steal everything you have, then give you back a tiny fraction of it, I am a thief, NOT a philanthropist. Zuckerburgh is an overpaid asshat with an ego so enormous he thinks he has perfect right to turn everybody's children into his own personal lab rats to experiment on. He is a sick but clear demonstration that yes, Virginia - DUH - money is power, power to make edumacation in amurdica absurdica - and human history - be whatever egomaniacal wealthpower giants say it will be.