In 2011, we looked at the role of standardized test and charter schools in the US for “How Online Learning Companies Bought American Schools.
“lee Fang “”how Online Learning Companies Bought American Schools,”” The Nation, November 16, 2011.”
In September, 2016, a new study came out from the Evidence Network which re-opened the so-called “curriculum wars”. The organization wants everyone to know that academic “curriculum” is for suckers. The Curriculum Wars is basically a play on the term “leakage” – meaning that the more money that is spent in the classroom, the less academic content develops in students.
Note: Curriculum is constantly changing, morphing and changing again. Why should a classroom be any different?
Curriculum = not what you think it is.
Susan Pogueman, a management researcher with the Institute for Learning and Research (ILER) puts it this way: “‘Curriculum’ is the ignorant catch-all word used to describe an array of activities to help students master content, but it is one that we use with gross elision… The practice of calling teachers’ classrooms ‘courses’ or ‘classrooms’ presupposes that the curriculum is in fact a series of discrete curricula to fulfill a single definition of what learning looks like…. When instructional design incorporates strands of research, rather than just declarative terminology, learning outcomes become evident. And it is the results of research that make schools and classrooms more responsive to the changing learning style of students and teachers.” (p. 12)
Curriculum = “symmetry”
The idea of “higher ed” and “university” and “college” is being questioned by a lot of people, including organizations like Big Education. In 2014, Big Education wrote a book entitled “Toward the Myth of the Higher Education Bubble: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Fostering of Academic Learning”. The report describes the oversimplification of higher education to include all “higher” education, including graduate and professional programs. Just as the Industrial Complex discussed internal divisions in manufacturing in regards to manufacture and service, Big Education has created an “internal war” over campus security in order to try to include all higher education.
Big Education thinks institutions should have armed security guards to keep students safe. They also have promoted the idea that colleges need to do more to prepare students for the job market. Their intentions are not meant to be nefarious, but their promotion of fortified campus security is intended to make schools sound more protective and secure.
“Don’t we want students to thrive in a way that makes us proud? We want everyone to get excited, engaged, energized, and more involved about learning than we have ever been in the past. We want them to embody a sense of purpose that leads them to become responsible and competent citizens in society. We want them to know who they are, where they came from, and who they want to be. We want our children to have healthy emotional and physical well-being. (p. 107)
Degrees = you are a data junkie
Data is hot. Data sales are hot. Higher education institutions in the US are not equipped to use data effectively. Less than 5% of Americans will actually pay for the data that universities want to be able to sell to researchers and institutions. Online companies like LSISurvey, Campus Insights, and provider-2-solutions are capitalizing on this. Here’s how it works: an education institution buys a membership and is asked to provide data every year, or every decade. If the institution does not participate, they are not eligible for reward points. Their data is pushed to research as a database. Their objective is to recruit and retain students and faculty so they can (1) serve them better and (2) sell data to other potential clients.
What You Can Do
Re-think how you receive and process data. Take some control of the data that is being generated to empower yourself and your students. Work with your faculty and staff to change your roles as facilitators of learning, and not simply consumers of data. Understand that when you are representing yourself as an expert in the information, there are different sets of rules and expectations for you to follow, when it comes to getting your information.
As articles and books about greater transparency for the education industry continue to emerge, perhaps it is time to realize that in the not-too-distant future, it will be almost impossible to maintain the current status quo in higher education and to remain a school. How and if will education change in the coming years? How will it change for you and your students? With all the way to zero and options, the time is now to improve your college experience and one day hopefully to be able to seek an education that can live up to the name “