Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Getting rich off of schoolchildren

If you follow educational technology, by now you will have noticed the competition for school technology dollars heating up.  In Getting rich off of schoolchildren, Salon's David Sirota asks if some big-bucks reform advocates aren't really wolves in sheep's clothing.  

He blasts what he calls the pervasive media myth of "Greedy Teachers vs. Altruistic Billionaire" and questions the motivations of the bumper crop of super-rich technology satraps swooping in to "save" education from venal, moneygrubbing teachers:
The first reason to scoff at this mythology should be obvious: It simply strains credulity to insist that pedagogues who get paid middling wages but nonetheless devote their lives to educating kids care less about those kids than do the Wall Street hedge funders and billionaire CEOs who finance the so-called reform movement. Indeed, to state that pervasive assumption out loud is to reveal how utterly idiotic it really is, and yet it is baked into almost all of today’s coverage of education politics.
If there wasn't huge profit, it why all this interest?  Sirota continues:

This is why the tech site Geekwire predicts another full-scale tech industry bubble, thanks to “K-12 and other education segments now being chased by a mob of investment capitalists.”
I can't help noticing that a lot of the free webinars and other teacher-ed and pedagogical help I'm offered online is really shilling a particular product.  Of course advertisers have the right to market their products.  But when does it cross the line into distorting educational policy?

What do you think?