Nancy Bailey: Vulture Philanthropy After Covid Is About Technology Replacing Public Schools and Teachers
Nancy Bailey provides a guide to some of the groups hoping to cash in on post-pandemic education panic. Reposted with permission.
Even though most parents disliked online learning during the pandemic, many groups promote the replacement of teachers and schools with online instruction. There’s vulture philanthropy going on behind the scenes.
On the one hand, there’s the condemnation of virtual learning. We’re told it didn’t work during the pandemic when teachers were in charge of it, but there’s also the promoting of virtual learning.
Those who have catastrophized children falling behind due to the pandemic are those who subtly disparage public schools and teachers, make technology sound like it is the answer to the problems children are facing. But there’s no proof of this, and parents are tired of virtual learning.
Dr. Nicholas Kardaras has written extensively about schools and technology. In the recent TIME Edition The Future of Education: So Many Challenges So Much At Stake, he calls screens a multibillion-dollar hoax (p.47).
From inner-city schools to those in rural and remote towns, we have accepted tech in the classroom as a necessary and beneficial evolution in education. This is a lie. (p.47).
But that’s what is being planned when it comes to reimagining schools.
The Center on Reinventing Public Education, a think tank that promotes charters and ending public education, says We will never return students to the old normal.
Our work will focus on ensuring that school systems don’t simply return to normal after the pandemic. Normal wasn’t working for far too many students. Our goal is to ensure that the new systems we build will be meaningfully better when the current crisis passes.
They hope to unlock new opportunities for learning and career exploration that aren’t possible within the four walls of a traditional school. This is about technology replacing schools.
They’re working with TNTP and school districts to create learning hubs, supported by the Walton Family Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, to make their plans a reality.
What are learning hubs?
According to the 2013 Cisco report Learning Hubs: Where Learning Takes Place in a Digital World:
. . . the role of the teacher has changed significantly—teachers are no longer the gatekeepers of knowledge. In today’s information age, the teacher’s role is evolving: from “sage on the stage” to “guide on the side” to, more recently, “mentor in the center.” With myriad resources in multiple formats available on the web, perhaps the teacher’s role should now be that of a “curator.” The museum curator gains public interest by selecting which artifacts to display, arranging them logically for better understanding, and displaying notes and captions alongside the exhibits to provide further information (p.2).
TNTP aims to privatize public education and replace professional teachers with fast trackers hypes Universal Design for Learning for students with disabilities. UDL is heavily oriented towards technology.
TNTP describes six school districts focusing on learning hubs.
Teach for America says:
Our education system remains rooted in many of the same curricula, practices, and injustices that served the Industrial Revolution. We’re preparing too many children for a world that once was and not for the world of today.
Then they add information about XQ Super Schools and Bellwether, both groups that emphasize charters and technology.
These are only a few of the many groups using the pandemic to change schools to where technology will rule.
Kardona, N. (2021) Ditch the Devices. Special TIME Edition. The Future of Education: So Many Challenges So Much At Stake. p. 47-53.