RERcontributor — LINAHAN: Predictive Analytics – A Texas Mom’s Perspective

RERcontributor -- LINAHAN: Predictive Analytics - A Texas Mom’s Perspective

RERcontributor Alice Linahan


Why are billionaires and hedge funds so interested in charter schools? 

“Innovation” is the new buss word in Education.

“Innovation” was actually the impetus to start charter schools in the first place. “For almost two decades, charter schools have evolved as a way to experiment with education innovations….”

Have you seen the documentary about the real-estate bubble and the subprime mortgage business that burst called “The Big Short”?

In the documentary, the commodity was houses. It was easy to watch people leave a house when a loan defaulted. Owners didn’t care if a house was destroyed. Heck, they took the fixtures that were worth anything and just walked away.

Billionaires have taken their money and put it in a new global industry- Online Digital Learning and Education. Their new commodity is data and they need access to our kids for the data. Common Core and School Choice has provided them their access point.

  • The Purpose of “School Choice” and Common Core/College and Career Ready National Standards:
  1. Shifts Education Philosophy- An education of Opportunity (Equal Opportunity) based on academics; reading, writing, math and history has moved in the United States, to an education of equity (Equal Outcomes) based on attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors.
  1. Broadened Impact – The Common Core/College and Career Ready National Standards expand the target from K-12 (Kindergarten through 12th grade) to a P-20W (Pre-school through College, Trade or Graduate School) into the Workforce system.
  1. Testing Based Outcomes- The Common Core National Standards shifts from the “Mental” (Academics and Knowledge Based Tests) to “Behaviors” (Performance Standards and Competency for the workforce) assessments.
  1. Adjustments to Ideology- Change American’s worldview from nationalism into globalism and allow a government controlled economy known as ”Dirigisme” or the more common use–a dirigiste economy. It means essentially a state directed economy.
  1. Dismantle traditional public schools in favor of charter like structures (public private partnerships) that will be forced to generate student data for corporate profit and state control.

Question? When competency based, digital personalized learning proves to be, not only another scam for profit like the subprime mortgage business, but, is actually destroying lives- Do the kids who are destroyed in the process, mean anything to these people? Corporate school reformers are not  pushing for quality schools. They’re pushing for choice. Why is that?

As my friend Linda Murphy from Oklahoma recently pointed out… “If you just listen to television, radio and follow what your usual trusted state or federal officials say, you will think Choice is ALL wonderful.  You will think the only people who oppose it are the political left. You will be wrong. There are many on the political right, conservatives, Christians who do not support everything being pushed as “Choice”.”

With “Choice” comes accountability and data collection. As I stated above, new commodity for the billionaire class is student data. They have complete access to it through the public-private partnerships created via, “schools of choice”. Students will no longer go to school based on their zip code. This will have a devastating impact on our communities across America, as seen in Detroit, MI

The ultimate goal of the complete disruption of the education system is, to have an access point for all students in America! WHY? Because, there is a lot of money and control to be had with “Predictive Analytics”.

This week is “National School Choice Week”, all across America there are well funded astroturf rallies at the state capitals. My question is, who paid for all those yellow scarves we see everyone wearing, and who paid for the charter buses to bus everyone in for the rallies?

The answer is, non-profit organizations and foundations which are funded by none other than those infamous billionaires like President Trump’s appointed Secretary of Education Betsy Devos and Jeb Bush.

The reason for this is, “choice” is about parental choice in the location of where your child will go to school, but NOT Parental Choice in WHAT and HOW your child will be taught and the fact that your child’s data will be mined for profit.

As stated on the Texans for Homeschool Freedom website…. 

“School Choice will take the public education methods that private school parents and homeschool parents have opted out of–and force them onto our private and homeschools.

School Choice is a top-down, corporate-government push in every state.

The focus of the School Choice Goliath machine is in Texas. There is big money coming at us.”


The fact is, “school choice” limits education freedom!

It is interesting to note, in Texas the traditional “Independent” public schools like Houston ISD and Spring Branch ISD, who are also supporting School Choice Week!

ALL are pushing “Innovation”, which actually means experimentation. NOT piloted and proven successful.

Our kids are basically being used as guinea pigs. In addition, they are using our taxes as a funding mechanism.

It is NOT Republican vs Democrat, Conservative vs Liberal, Pro Public school vs Anti-Public school. They’ve got people funded on all sides.

What is the end game….. “Predictive Analytics” – as seen in this article featuring Houston Billionaires John and Laura Arnold, The Science of Giving- 

Predictive Analytics uses mined education data to create software programs that have the ability to predict the behaviors of students.  This is also being used in the world of criminal justice to predict who the criminals will be. Judges are using “predictive analytics” in the sentencing of criminals.

Think of it this way.

Previously in America, your past did not determine your future. Now -through Billionaire funding, “Innovation” Schools of Choice legislation gives the access point to ALL students. It will be implemented, mandated and regulated by law, in the soon to come Next Generation of Assessments and Accountability. America’s next generation’s personal data portfolio will determine not only their future, but their daily lives.

As stated by Yuval Harari:
“What will happen when the algorithm knows what is better for me than myself?
The authority will shift from the feelings of the individual to these outside algorithms.”

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation’s connection to “Evidence-Based Policymaking” which is what is needed to legally collect and mine student data, is clear.

From this memo:

“We are now entering a new and exciting phase. Over the next couple of weeks, the Coalition staff (including me) will join the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, which is opening a Washington DC-based Evidence-Based Policy and Innovation division. I will be the Foundation’s Vice President of Evidence-Based Policy, responsible for strategic investments in randomized controlled trials aimed at growing the body of research-proven social programs, and in the scale-up of those shown to produce meaningful improvements in people’s lives. The Coalition’s operations will be integrated into the Foundation, where our team will build on and expand our core activities, including working with policy officials to advance evidence-based reforms in government social spending and conducting expert reviews of the evaluation literature to identify programs with credible evidence of effectiveness.” 

So according to Austin and Washington the answer to education is to spend billions of dollars using “Predictive Analytics” to create algorithms so we can predict which kids will be the trouble makers. Not actually spend money to teach kids to read, write and do math, so they won’t be trouble makers in the first place. They are basically depriving Texas students from having an = opportunity at success life.

Think I am crazy? Take the time to read this great article by Jane Robbins with the American Principles Project: Embedded Assessments: An End Around Parental Opt-Outs

Listen to this video mentioned in the article above –

In a recent presentation at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, Yale University researcher and legal scholar Elana Zeide discussed the troubling implications of, as she put it, “moving from human decision-making to machine decision-making” in education. The potential problems involve threats to both student privacy and individual freedom and autonomy.

Zeide explained that adopting “personalized learning” through technology will enable creation of student portfolios at a granular level. For example, the software will record not only whether the student can calculate the correct answer on an algebra problem, but exactly how his brain is working on each step of that problem. As he progresses through school, platforms such as the creepy, mind-mapping Knewton will create “knowledge maps” to show precisely what the student knows and can do, based on every keystroke he executes and (with some programs) even on his heart rate and facial countenance as he does so. Zeide predicts those knowledge maps will eventually replace degrees and diplomas as credentials to open doors to higher education and employment.

The existence of such portfolios raises major concerns about student privacy. For one thing, as Zeide pointed out, this data generally isn’t covered by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). And Zeide acknowledged that all this “portable, interoperable, instantly transferable, and durable” data constitutes an enormous temptation for companies and researchers – “you can repurpose it for all sorts of cool aggregation and mining . . . and you can discover things you never knew were there!” Do parents want corporations and others sifting through their children’s most intimate data to discover things that should remain private? 

I will leave you with a message I wrote in my book, ‘A Parent’s Guide through Your Child’s #1 Threat; 21st Century Learning and the Common Core

“As Moms and Dads, we need to step back and start asking ourselves a couple of questions…

  1. Can we accept an educational program as a truly solid academic education that will serve our children and their futures well, if our children graduate from high school or college with the attitudes, values, beliefs, behaviors, and a worldview that we oppose, which has been presented by teachers trained to believe it is their responsibility to be the devil’s advocate, and who teach our children to question and even oppose the foundational beliefs of our families?
  1. Is it more important for our children to receive college credits in high school, or more important to establish and protect their minds and souls?

3. If your child graduates from college and attains a great, high paying job, but no longer respects – much less believes – that they are worthy of a strong marriage, a free and prosperous country, and that by the grace of God anything is possible – have we done our best to give our children a strong foundation for a happy, joy filled life?”

Copyright©2017 Raging Elephants Radio LLC and Alice Linahan

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