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Friday, May 17, 2013

The Brave New World of Data-Driven Education Reform

What’s driving education reform in America? Money. Specifically, the making of it by big business. Why the obsession with data and testing? Because it opens the door to new sources of profit.

Think this is the raving of a paranoid, business-hating socialist?

Below, you'll find a promotional video created by Xerox for its Ignite software. Ignite turns a photocopier into a grading machine. It “helps” teachers by reading handwritten tests and generating reports, grades, data, etc. It even reads “constructed responses!” (That’s what they call student writing these days.)

And what is it that opened the door to this wonderful innovation, from which the Xerox Corporation hopes to get even richer? In their own damning words:

“State and school systems are requiring more data and more testing. Educators are under a lot of pressure....As Xerox researchers, we started with a simple question: How can we help?”

It’s downright chilling, the way they come right out and say it. Requirements for data and testing means a big opportunity for Xerox. Of course, when they say “How can we help?” they mean “How can we profit?”

Because having the photocopier evaluate your kid isn’t disturbing at all. Right?

Here’s what Diane Ravitch has to say about this.

Why shouldn't a  Xerox machine grade student papers? It does such a good job with photocopies.

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