Sunday, June 18, 2017

Silicon Valley Philanthropy Opens Classrooms to De-Personalized Learning - Living in Dialogue

Silicon Valley Philanthropy Opens Classrooms to De-Personalized Learning - Living in Dialogue:

Silicon Valley Philanthropy Opens Classrooms to De-Personalized Learning

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By John Thompson.
David Callahan’s The Givers begins with the first politicized think tanks of the 1960s and 1970s, such as the American Enterprise Institute. At least these rightwing organizations were open about their desire to maximize profits. But as Callahan shows, they led the way to neo-liberal donors, who seemed to be sincere about scaling up market-driven approaches to improve education and other sectors of the society.
About the only debate about the outcomes produced by the resulting corporate school reform era is whether it was a big fiasco, or was it merely a huge disappointment. I see its test-driven, competition-driven reforms as one of the worse social policy disasters of modern American political history. Callahan explains, “Making a bundle in software or short trading doesn’t mean you’ll know the first thing about, say, K-12 education, and it’s easy for misguided philanthropists to do a lot of damage.”  He concludes, It’s hard to think of many social entrepreneurs who’ve succeeded in bringing about changes on a truly large scale.”
Whether we are talking about the scaling up of charter schools or funding public relations campaigns and dubious lawsuits like Vergara v California, big donors have produced minimal improvements in schools, created unintended negative outcomes for children, and sown discord among the education profession and the Democratic Party. Callahan notes, “The only thing that’s really clear is that, compared to the systematic revolution that charter funders were hoping for, the results have been disappointing.” Moreover, “The new givers have made a lot of noise on K-12, the Vergara lawsuit in California being a good example, but it’s not clear they’ve actually done much to improve outcomes for the vast majority of U.S. students.”
The Givers concludes with sensible and seemingly doable suggestions for regulating big philanthropy. But the Silicon Valley Philanthropy Opens Classrooms to De-Personalized Learning - Living in Dialogue:


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