Sen. Lamar Alexander’s Every Child Achieves Act, which recently passed the Senate, is brimming with troubling provisions. One that has received little attention is the grant program called “Innovative Technology Expands Children’s Horizons,” or I-TECH. States that apply for I-TECH grants (and most states are all too eager for “free” federal money) will be hastening the day when teachers are replaced by technology, and children’s minds are mapped in the name of “personalized learning.”
The purpose of the I-TECH program is to ensure that “all students have access to personalized, rigorous learning experiences that are supported through technology” and that teachers and administrators are trained to integrate this technology-based training. Sec. 5701(2)-(4). Access for all students will require funding for “technological capacity, infrastructure, and technical support,” especially for rural schools that otherwise might resort to relying on teachers and books.
The term “personalized learning” is superficially appealing. But parents who think that means the teacher will spend more time helping their child should think again. Personalized learning in the ECAA sense operates with interactive digital platforms of the type that give the student a prompt, record and analyze his response, use it to generate another prompt, and so forth. Think Pavlov. The extraordinarily sophisticated software used in these platforms analyzes not what the student knows in terms of academic content, but rather how his mind works. This is “personalization.”