It has come to my attention that the Philadelphia School Reform Commission plans to earmark nearly $20 million for contracts with online learning and data management companies to be spent over the next two years. The full resolution list is available here. Screenshots of resolutions A7 and B12 follow.
We are an underfunded district with a student body comprised primarily of students of color and students who live in poverty. Classes are crowded. Functioning school libraries are almost nonexistent. Building conditions are hazardous. Enrichments have been stripped from the curriculum, replaced by punitive test-prep programs. There are many ways $20 million could be spent to create safer learning environments for our children and support authentic education. Instead, the School Reform Commission seeks to enrich private interests by pushing Philadelphia’s vulnerable children onto online platforms that will mine their data and generate value for educational technology impact investors. See my research on impact investing in Philadelphia here.
If you live in Philadelphia and value education that happens in community, in relationship, in the space that is created between teachers and students learning together, please take a moment to contact me with a video or text comment expressing your opposition to these resolutions. Details can be found in the attached flyer. I am asking for submissions of video or text comments by February 12 so I can put something together before the meeting.
It would also be wonderful if local people could sign up to testify at the February 15, 2018 meeting which begins at 4:30pm at 440 N. Broad Street. You need to call 215-400-4180 the day before to register. Consider identifying a generalized topic for your testimony since they limit the number of people testifying on a specific issue.
Resolution A-7: $9.5+ million for an integrated data and instruction system.
Resolution B-12: $10 million for online courses and adaptive instructional programs
5 thoughts on “$20 million for online learning in Philadelphia? Speak up now if you value human teachers.”
I-ready is really dreadful – and people cheerfully spend millions on it, when what we need are reading specialists and smaller class sizes! https://statusbcps.wordpress.com/2016/05/03/are-bcps-students-iready-for-ela-computer-learning/
“…people cheerfully spend millions on it, when what we need are reading specialists and smaller class sizes!” So much Big Money fussing and “worrying” about kids and learning when the answers for actually long-term helping them are really so simple.
I would love to have a link to the actual contract for some comparisons with other info I have been rounding up on costs.
Laura, Here are some contract documents for blended learning I got via open records request last spring. I expect there will be new contracts issued if this $10 million passes. Let me know if you can’t access this drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B7Erdwy13QiSSElUR240MVhFTUk
Your search – https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B7Erdwy13QiSSElUR240MVhFTUk – did not match any documents.
Thanks for the prom reply. I was looking for a shortcut on entering the names of the packages and programs in this contract. I will find time to type them up when I chase another lead. I seem to be drowning in more information than I can synthesize. I admire you ability to do that.
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