Compulsory Dyslexia Screening: A Trojan Horse To Advance Data Collection For Predatory Pay For Success Deals in Pre-K and Early Literacy

I put together a presentation to warn California educators, parents, and elected officials about Boston Consulting Group’s ties to compulsory dyslexia screening legislation. See the consulting firm’s July 2020 white paper, The Economic Impact of Dyslexia in California. This is the cost-offset analysis that will be used to justify future data extraction schemes. BCG was behind the closure of 23 schools in Philadelphia in 2013. That event launched my personal journey into researching human capital finance. This article I wrote in 2018, Silicon Valley: A Laboratory of Smart Surveillance and Privatization, provides useful background on impact investing in the Bay Area. Pay particular attention to the parties involved with the Strong Start and Big Lift pay for success deals (pre-k and early literacy). The latter effort is backed by the San Mateo County Office of Education one of the funders of the UCSF dyslexia risk screening tool AppRise, which has ties via Curious Learning to global ed-tech investors and defense / neuroscience interests.


Source: Fumiko Hoeft, UCSF Dyslexia Center and Curious Learning Research Partner

Source: Curious Learning Home Page and Partners In Global Ed-Tech Investment Space

I suspect California’s proposed bill SB237, which is backed by Governor Newsom, is intended to be a national model. It would require ALL kindergarten through second graders be screened each year for dyslexia RISK. It does not actually require districts to use a tool that diagnoses dyslexia or to provide IEP supports to children who may eventually receive such a diagnosis. Instead, pay for success deals in universal pre-k and early literacy will disincentivize  providing those supports to students in need. It will encourage ever larger numbers of children be identified as being “at risk,” so tech interests can force them onto literacy remediation apps where their online behavior will also be tracked under the guise of social-emotional learning, another social impact market. Many of the dyslexia “risk screening” tools were designed as “school readiness” indicators, which is exactly what is needed as the Biden and Harris administration makes their push for universal pre-k investment markets based on the Chicago Boys’ Heckman Equation. Remember, special education is the cost-offset.




We recognize that providing children with the assistance they need to become confident, engaged readers is vital for a functioning society. Unfortunately the billionaire class has teamed up with defense technology interests, cognitive neuroscientists, and impact investors to remake children as digital commodities, tracked according to their behavioral compliance. The goal of the elite is a miseducated, illiterate populace that will consume media content without question and learn just enough to live as cogs in a global gig economy set on transforming the world into a silicon-based planetary computer. Schools are being incorporated into this anti-life agenda, but it is death by a thousand cuts and most of the arguments for digital surveillance are framed in progressive terms.

Too few realize the social progressivism agenda of the early twentieth century was also steeped in eugenics. Yes, we need to treasure young learners. Instead of creating markets in digital profiling, tax the rich and use those funds to lower class sizes, hire literacy coaches and librarians, buy LOTS of PRINT BOOKS (not screen-based reading that collects millions of meta-data points), buy FICTION to spur their imaginations, encourage classroom READ ALOUDs to build community. Then, after children have the chance to come into their own as readers and become proficient with English if it is NOT their first language, offer those who are still struggling appropriate diagnostics and get them the additional supports they need.

This bill will not do that. Given that Decoding Dyslexia chapters are in all 50 states and 4 Canadian provinces, I suspect similar bills will be showing up everywhere soon. Pay attention. This is not about helping children, but incorporating them into the data commodity supply chain to foreclose their futures as redundant human capital in a world increasingly run by robots. We must fight the whole program. It is tempting to take the easy route and delude ourselves with the misguided belief that consultants like Boston Consulting Group care, but they don’t.

In the pit of your stomach you know that. For the sake of the children I ask you to have the moral courage to look at the horror that is unfolding. Look at AppRise and OptoLexia and Lexia RAPID. Know how they fit into the post-literacy world of globotic remote labor. Do the right thing. The future of natural humanity could very well depend on what you do next.

This talk was facilitated by Jason Bosch of ArgustFest in conversation with the podcast “What’s Left” out of the Bay Area hosted by Andy Libson, Eduardo Abarca, and Kenny Zepeda.


Slide deck can be accessed here.


Map One – Interactive Version – California Dyslexia Gamification


Map Two – Interactive Version – People Acknowledged In Boston Consulting Group’s White Paper on Dyslexia in California


Map Three – Interactive Version – Oakland Dyslexia Pilot

7 thoughts on “Compulsory Dyslexia Screening: A Trojan Horse To Advance Data Collection For Predatory Pay For Success Deals in Pre-K and Early Literacy

  1. Skeye says:

    Hi Alison, I just started reviewing this, went to the first link for ‘The Economic Impact of Dyslexia in California’ and got a white page with message ‘503 Service Unavailable: No server is available to handle this request’, copied the main url, went to the Internet Archives home page and entered it in the wayback search, got the same message. Tested another url, no problem, came right up. Not sure what that means, but I expect you may be finding more and more ‘disruptions’ like this when sharing your work. I know you probably expect this, just letting you know of this ‘hiccup’, in case you have a solution for it.

    I watched the AlieNation interview yesterday, recorded an excerpt that stood out for me on ‘the spatial web & global digital empire’, I also recorded a couple others from your latest discussion with Zakiya on Real Talk re- ‘AI settler-colonization of Life’ and ‘learning from history’.

      • Skeye says:

        Glad it helped Alison…and I’m glad I checked back to finish the archiving of this article, because I didn’t get a notification like I usually do when there is a comment/reply on something I have commented on.

        I have been feeling for awhile to do a ‘best of compilation’, clips that feel concise and compact on key points and aspects of the message for easy viewing for those just getting familiar with your work, and that recent 2 minute clip you posted from the AlieNation interview inspired me further. I had forgotten that I could record clips with vlc media viewer, and I recently installed a video editing program, so I have some projects that will be in the works here soon, when I start a house sitting job for almost 2 months.

        If you are interested in viewing the clips I made, I could load them up to my dropbox and send you a link.

  2. Carnyx says:

    Hello Alison, You mentioned that you were looking for some software that would allow you to create maps in a similar vein to LittleSis. I’ve been using Wondershare MindMaster for doing similar diagrams/maps. It is an easily installable application for Windows/Mac/Linux. Just thought you would like to know.

    BTW I am in no way affiliated to them.


  3. Kellee Nelson says:

    I find this interesting, having a child whom I believe has dyslexic issues. We have been in the California public school system through Charter schools and have hit wall after wall trying to get the school to acknowledge her education issues in hope if getting her specific help to work through her learning struggles. Our experience over the past 8 years is a rejection of dyslexia, a refusal to even acknowledge the word in regards to my child. What you are saying seems like a 180• from what the stance has been.

  4. Nikki Leeds says:

    Hi Allison,

    I just finished watching your AZ talk, wow! You are a force and wealth of information. Would you ever consider doing a speaking engagement in San Diego, CA?

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