Future Ready Schools:

How Silicon Valley and the Defense Department Plan to Remake Public Education

March 25th, from 10:30 AM-Noon

Lake City Branch of the Seattle Public Library

12501 28th Ave. N.E., Seattle, WA 98125

This talk is free and open to the public.

Since the passage of No Child Left Behind, schools across the country have been destabilized by ongoing austerity budgets and punitive data-driven policies. Meanwhile, an alternative infrastructure of digital education has been quietly developed and refined through public-private partnerships set up between the Defense Department’s Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative, technology companies, and higher education interests.

The Obama administration made a big push for 21st Century School redesign where teachers would be turned into “guides on the side” with children spending more and more time on adaptive learning management systems. Now we face a future in which education policy is being handled at the state level, where ALEC holds considerable sway, and a new Secretary of Education who touts the benefits of virtual schools and vouchers.

We are on the brink of being pushed into a new paradigm for education, known as “Learning Ecosystems.” The goal of this talk is to identify Ed Reform 2.0 elements and discuss strategies we can use to advocate for public education that prioritizes learning in human relationship rather than technology-based education that isolates and commodifies children.

Alison McDowell is a parent activist from Philadelphia, PA, a district that has been a crucible of education reform efforts for over a decade. She has a high school-age daughter who attends a magnet school in the district.

Alison has served as an elected parent representative on the School Advisory Council. She was a state-level contact for United Opt Out for three years, working locally with Opt Out Philly, the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools, and the Caucus of Working Educators to raise awareness around issues with high-stakes testing, particularly as it relates to ongoing school privatization efforts.

Recently, she has turned her attention to the forces behind implementation of digital-curriculum and data-driven “personalized” learning across the nation. Her research is available at Wrench in the Gears.

Please join Alison McDowell as she delivers her talk: Future Ready Schools: How Silicon Valley and the Defense Department Plan to Remake Public Education.

This event is sponsored by Parents Across America-Puget Sound.

You can download a flyer here.