How new legislation will result in corporate control of children…and no child will be left behind this time

By now many of us are familiar with the increasing encroachment of legislation devoted to the use of education technology (as software, delivery systems, and modes of assessment) in ever-widening circles designed to replace democratic public schools with privately owned for-profit corporations.

In earlier posts I examine how Common Core state standards were designed to lead us to this point: Competency based education delivered via computer-based programs, and brought to us via state and federal legislation crafted by ALEC.

The ALEC  bill states: “The Course Choice Program created by this Act would allow students in public schools and public charter schools to enroll in online, blended, and face-to-face courses not offered by the student’s school, and would allow a portion of that student’s funding to flow to the course provider. This Act creates an authorization process for providers and identifies provider and course eligibility criteria.”

Here’s the latest iteration of technological colonization, this time designed to ensure that all our children in Maryland (and nationwide) have a mainline to the corporations aiming to gather “Big Data.”

It’s called the Digital Equity for All Act

The MD state version of the bill can be viewed here.

Bill proposed By: Senators Rosapepe, Bates, Conway, Currie, Feldman, Ferguson, Guzzone, Kagan, Kelley, King, Lee, Madaleno, McFadden, Peters, Ramirez, Salling, Simonaire, and Zucker

Introduced and read first time: February 17, 2016


The two questions we should ask: who is this designed by and for, and …WHY?

And then ask yourself, what can we do to stop this?


This Maryland bill is based on a federal grant sponsored by Sens. Angus King (I-Maine) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). In keeping with the floodgates opened for a technological takeover of our schools by the recently approved ESSA, this legislation authorizes the U.S. Department of Education to give competitive grants to states and school districts to “develop, implement, and evaluate innovative strategies to increase out-of-school Internet access for eligible students,” according to the bill.

What else might you want to know about Senator King?

In 2002 he launched the Maine Learning Technology Initiative or MLTI to provide laptops for every public middle-school student in the state of Maine, a first of its kind in the nation. It met with considerable resistance due to costs but was enacted by the Maine Legislature. On September 5, 2002 the state began the program with a four-year $37.2-million contract with Apple Inc. to equip all seventh- and eighth-grade students and teachers in the state with laptops.

And Caputo? Well, she has interesting affiliations with ALEC and big oil.

iNACOL (of course) supports this bill. This “non-profit” organization serves the corporate masters and promotes bills which will increasingly dismantle our children’s private data and serves it up to giant global corporations who can manage our children’s futures.

iNACOL has direct connections with King and his agenda to promote this new bill as is seen in this webinar hosted by iNACOL in which the co-presenter is Aisha Woodward, Legislative Assistant to Senator Angus King.

Like most of the current reforms decimating our schools, this bill is not so new. It has finger prints traced back to 2009.


There is no data or evidence or study…NONE…NADA….that shows that an increased use of ipads, computers, smart phones or whatever improve or enhance the quality of learning experiences for children. Yet, legislators are willing to commit entire schools systems and a generation of children to this effort, day after day, year after year, for 12 plus years.

While the bill proposes that it reduce inequities, “especially for low-income students, by authorizing innovative broadband pilots to address the lack of high-speed Internet access outside of the classroom” ….in keeping with one of the hallmarks of education reform, the bill will in fact do the opposite of what it proposes.


Predictive Analytics

According to Artforum, “the ultimate aim of dataveillance: prediction.”

Data mining and BIG data are forms of control (or information and opportunity) ownership by corporations by knowing everything about you. With CBE and Big Data, predictive analytics cannot only measure what you know but anticipate how you’ll BEHAVE.

Think about this—to be PERSONALIZED, the system MUST have ample personal data about you first and then use that data to anticipate your wants and needs and actions. Pariser (2011) suggests that the use of personalized filters hints of “autopropaganda, indoctrinating us with our own ideas, amplifying our desire for things that are familiar”, and that “knowing what kinds of appeals specific people respond to gives you the power to manipulate them on an individual basis” (p. 121).

It’s already used in policing with racist results. A real world Minority Report.

How is predictive analytics used in education really any different than EUGENICS of the 19th and 20th centuries that PREDICTED the intelligence of people using standardized tests and categorized intelligent by race and class? It’s not except that it uses technology to gather Big data.

With a personal device that follows children from home to school, used to cull their learning experiences and their behavioral responses to every decision they make, corporations can predict what students will need (to purchase) and manipulate their behavioral choices, and their future careers (predicting what jobs they might have) …  or who might go to prison. Remember the good ‘ol days when developers used the data of 3rd grade test scores to predict how many prisons they would need to build?

One site explains that, “The algorithms used by institutions invariably reflect and perpetuate current biases and prejudices…We suggest that the potential for bias and stereotyping in predictive analysis should be foregrounded in institutional attempts to categorize students’ risk profiles.”

We now have thanks to perpetual assessments of children’s knowledge affective gritor personality, what some call  “the concept of the ‘preemptive personality, the endlessly profiled and guided subject who is shunted into recalculated futures in a system that could be characterized as digital predestination.”

According to the “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century report there is “a growing movement to explore the potential of the ‘noncognitive’ factors—attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes, and intrapersonal resources, independent of intellectual ability..” Make sure to look at page 44 to understand exactly how your child’s “grit” will be measured. The goal is to “develop tools for affect recognition, interventions in response to student affect, and emotionally animated agents.”

Eugenics: 2016: “the new eugenics will make great use of the identification and prediction powers of dataveillance to cull the “invalids” from the herd, perhaps even before they exhibit any “invalid” traits.”

Predictive learning requires Big Data. And CBE is lauded as technology that helps anticipate (personalized) programming based on data supplied by the learner and predicts what they may be able to do next. Watch this eerie video put forward by a CEO from KNEWTON to understand exactly HOW MUCH private knowledge about your child’s learning and behavior these corporation plan to own and use to their advantage.

Having their devices with them 24-7, students can now be tracked incessantly by prograns such as iMotion which measures “how a learner’s emotions influence final learning outcomes (and) further supports iterative design decisions that can impact learner engagement.” Please click on their iMotion link to see how scary this could become.

Corporations (who constructed common core and CBE) not only want to sell our kids products, they want to control and predict their future behaviors a wards of their corporate surveillance. Manipulation and surveillance of the knowledge and behavior of people in the workforce (aka human capital)


Published by educationalchemy

Morna McDermott has been an educator for over twenty years in both k-12 and post secondary classrooms. She received her doctorate in education, with a dissertation focus on arts-based educational research, from The University of Virginia in 2001. Morna's teaching, scholarship, and activism center around the ways in which creativity, art, social justice, and democracy can transform education and empower communities. She is currently a Professor of Education at Towson University.

6 thoughts on “ON LINE…. ALL THE TIME?

  1. I believe in Karma. People who unscrupulously use children for their own personal gain/greed, surely will have a special place in hell.

  2. Every time I try to calm myself down from another outrage perpetrated on our children and schools by the corporate elites/technocrats who believe they are the brightest beings in the world and have the right to dictate the fate of Others, something else is brought to my attention. Reading this, I cannot help myself from making the analogy to Nazi experiments on children. (And this post doesn’t even touch on the looming catastrophe of excessive wifi exposure.) We may not be fully at that point, but the extreme callousness and glee at manipulating an entire generation is so painful that I can hardly even breathe. How can we push back against this tsunami of derangement and greed? Echoing Dylan, And integrity is a word no longer heard. Having said that, it is heartening to have been at the fabulous United Opt Out Conference in Philly and have the opportunity to spend time with passionate and articulate people of true integrity, who really do have the interests and needs of all children in their minds and hearts.

  3. And it is OUR government so willing to take OUR tax money and blithely give it away in the form of massive grants to the technology companies blatantly waiting to get rich on the backs of OUR children…

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