Jun 29, 2018

The American Spectator – Goodbye, Privacy? How New EdTech Is Turning Students Into Lab Rats

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In this article, co-authored by Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project, Dr. Effrem goes in depth on the extent to which data collection will affect the schools which carry the new SEL policies out.

Our children are being groomed to have no expectation of privacy, ever, and to accept constant surveillance as simply how things are. Schools and corporate vendors are playing a major role in stamping out the individual liberty and autonomy that should be our inheritance as Americans.

A major tool in this effort is “social emotional learning” (SEL), which schools are being urged to elevate over academic instruction to assess and manipulate students’ mindsets and emotions. A recent Education Week article reported on how technology is facilitating this transformation from education to therapy. One company highlighted in the article is a San Francisco-based startup called Emote, founded by a millennial CEO named Julian Golder.

According to EdWeek, Emote provides a mobile app that allows “a wide range of school staff, from bus drivers to teachers, to record and share their observations of when students appear sad, anxious, angry, and frustrated.” For example, if a bus driver notices that Patricia seems cranky when she climbs aboard, he can use the Emote app to record that observation and send it to all Patricia’s teachers. The app helpfully supplies a menu of keywords, such as “sad” and “overwhelmed,” and color coding (yellow for anxious, red for angry, etc.).

Thus notified of Patricia’s feelings, the teachers are supposed to watch her carefully because she may be at risk for “escalation” (getting into a fight, failing a test, etc.). This would be the educational equivalent of white-coated clinicians peering at Patricia over their eyeglasses and making notes upon every change of her facial expression.

You can find the full article on The Spectator’s website here.

Jun 29, 2018

National Pulse – Bill Gates Education Experiment Fails Again, Taxpayers Foot $300 Million Bill

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In this article, Dr. Effrem highlights a teacher evaluation program set up by the Gates foundation and its flaws.

A new report by the Rand Corporation evaluating yet another Bill Gates education debacle — this time for teacher evaluation — was discussed recently in both Forbes by Rick Hess and Bloombergby Cathy O’Neil. Shane Vander Hart at Truth in American Education also analyzed the Bloombergpiece. This Gates boondoggle spent $575 million (of which only $212 million came from the Gates Foundation) on three public school districts and four charter management organizations…

…The effort, starting in 2009 and going through 2015, was to develop a new formula for teacher evaluation. This formula was based on student test scores, principal observation, and parent surveys, the data from which was fed into a secret, big-data algorithm called the value added model. The intent was to reward good teachers and root out bad teachers, all in service of the overall goal of improving student achievement, especially for low income and minority (LIM) students. The results affected hiring decisions for teachers and offered small bonuses to effective teachers to move into districts with higher proportions of LIM students.

You can view the full article here.

Jun 20, 2018
ELW

The National Pulse – Obama’s School Discipline Policies Still Causing Widespread Chaos

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Dr Effrem’s latest article at the National Pulse contrasts the views of pro-family organizations who see the Obama era school discipline policy as a danger to student and staff safety and those who want to keep the policy  along with expanded mental screening and social emotional learning. Here is an excerpt:

Conservative, pro-family and pro-school safety groups continue to duke it out with progressive, pro-gun control, social justice warriors over the contentious school discipline issue. In general, the conservatives see the federal government’s Obama-era school discipline guidance as dangerous and want it repealed, while the progressives see it as a matter of “equity” and “social justice,” wanting it continued. The raging debate and stark contrast was on full display when one compares a letter sent to Betsy DeVos by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) and an op-ed at Forbes.com by a liberal supporter of social emotional learning (SEL) and Common Core, Professor Linda Darling Hammond.

Read the full article here.

Jun 13, 2018

The National Pulse – “Social Emotional Learning” Advocates Are Still Ignoring Its Many Problems

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In this article, Dr. Effrem discusses the problems associated with the roleout of social emotional learning. especially how tracking social emotional learning skills is far less accurate when predicting future success in students.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) — which receives our hard-earned taxpayer dollars to insinuate social emotional learning (SEL) standards and curriculum into every classroom in America from preschool on up — has found another voice to breathlessly tell us benighted parents and citizens that our children and their education will not survive unless and until SEL is everywhere. Giancarlo Brotto is the author of “The Future of Education Depends on Social Emotional Learning: Here’s Why,” the most recent piece of SEL cheerleading in EdSurge.

There are multiple problems with this piece. First, it ignores comments by SEL experts and proponents stating that there still is no good definition of SEL, as well as the negative SEL research. For example, Brotto did not mention this important study showing that academic skills in kindergarten are far more important than SEL in predicting academic achievement. Nor did he mention this meta-analysis, well discussed by Jane Robbins, showing that manipulating mindsets has no real effect on achievement.

You can view the full article at The National Pulse here.

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