ESSA and the Selling of CBE
During the stitching together in 2015 of the federal Frankenstein known as ESSA, the corporate unions, along with their support groups (NPE and FairTest) and activist arms (BATs and SOS), were working to get annual testing in all grades reduced to one time each in elementary, middle, and high school. The corporate foundations said no, and that was that.
In order for testing accountability to continue its stranglehold on schools in terms of the taught content and teaching methods used, and in order for comparative testing among schools can continue as the effective battering ram for public school charter conversion for the ever-present bottom five percent of schools, testing had to remain a permanent fixture of school.
Having just witnessed the testing opt by parents and students that spread like wildfire in many states, the corporate foundations scurrying in 2015 for another testing accountability system that might be opt-out proof. CorpEd didn't have to look far for a tried and failed system to present itself in the form of competency-based learning (self-paced) via individual computer screens (personalized).
You may remember that Microsoft and Apple had been trying for years to get computers imposed in every classroom. With another opportunity looming with ESSA, if Common Core textbooks could be moved into digital format and if testing could be made into a daily exercise, several birds could be killed with the same virtual stone: 1) the opt out movement would fall, for how can you opt out of tests if tests are given every day, 2) the resistance to computerization would fall, for computers would necessary for content and assessment, 3) teacher influence could be made even more negligible, as the pacing of instruction and even the lessons offered could be determined by digital analytics, 4) the compiling of longitudinal data on individuals and groups could finally become a valuable resource for corporations of all kinds, whether selling sneakers or degrees or jobs.
Research for the past fifty years has never demonstrated superiority of online methods for simple or complex learning tasks, Schools Matter: ESSA and the Selling of CBE: