Massachusetts Teachers Take A Stand Against “Personalized Learning”

During the annual meeting in May, representatives of the Massachusetts Teachers Association overwhelming approved three New Business Items opposing the roll out of so-called “personalized” learning programs in the Commonwealth via the MAPLE/LearnLaunch initiative. Additionally, a commitment was made to expand research the MTA has been conducting on privatization to include “personalized” learning and to create a webpage to share information and document the harm being done by such programs to teaching and learning.

I have written about digital curriculum in Massachusetts HERE and HERE. Mark Zuckerberg’s “personalized” learning platform Summit Basecamp has been making its way into a number of Massachusetts districts as well as districts in neighboring Rhode Island, which reformers have targeted for conversion as the nation’s first “personalized learning” state. More on that HERE.

In an email to members yesterday, Delegates say NO to personalized learning and YES to funding, MTA president Barbara Madeloni highlighted a number of NBIs passed by delegates during the meeting, including those related to Personalized Learning. See the screenshot below.

MTA Personalized Learning

The email also acknowledged the need to incorporate “personalized” learning into the high-stakes testing discussion, since both further the privatization agenda and seriously impact the time teachers and students have for authentic, meaningful instruction.

MTA Email -2

As far as I am aware, this is the first instance of union members in the United States directly challenging the ed-tech takeover of our schools. I hope you will draw inspiration from the stand they have taken and build on it. I expect this work will have to come through grassroots organizing, since top leadership of both national unions have aligned themselves with a concept of “Future Ready” schools that prioritizes digital curriculum over face-to-face instruction with certified teachers. Read the particulars HERE, HERE, and HERE. Full text of the NBIs can be accessed below. If you are an NEA member and planning to be in Boston later this month come prepared. This is not just Massachusetts’s fight, it is a fight on ALL of our doorsteps. Let’s get to work.

Text of the NBI motions, shared with me by the submitters, includes supporting links and reference information: MTA Personalized Learning NBIs




4 thoughts on “Massachusetts Teachers Take A Stand Against “Personalized Learning”

  1. brackenkaren says:

    Thanks. I found it and I had listened to it before but decided to listen again today. It is even more disturbing the second time around. I posted it again as well. But the comments coming from people lately are showing a real transformation in attitude and not in our favor. The DeVos/Trump propaganda seems to be working. By the time they figure out they have been duped we will have to start all over again. Karen

  2. tultican says:

    A young friend of mine was graduating from University City High School here in San Diego which is a school in the San Diego Unified School District. I went to the school’s web site to look up parking instructions when I saw, “San Diego Unified will begin awarding achievement by issuing digital badges. Digital badges are virtual tokens issued as recognition of a skill, or behavior demonstrated, or an achievement a student has earned.” It was on the home page at

    When I clicked on the badge, it took me to the district web site which states that starting in 2016, SDUSD will be awarding badges working with Google and there are more that a hundred badges available starting in elementary school. Of it tells us kids and parents love it.

  3. Poetic Justice says:

    I went to apply for admission to my state university’s MFA in Writing program. I was all excited until I found out that the courses were all offered online with only a week in the summer and a week in the winter with actual human interaction. I quickly decided I had better ways to spend my time and my money. You can’t teach writing without human contact.

Comments are closed.