Big Data, Big Brother – Big Trouble?

I’m frustrated. I have people in my life that don’t believe me that corporations are very much involved with education reform and have been for a very long time.

They have been funding it. They have been designing it. They have been lobbying for it. They have been pushing it.

I’ve been asked why do they care so much. Because they need workers!!! And not just any kind of workers. They need a specific set of workers.

Right now the job market they have set up is a ratio of 1:2:7 meaning for every job that requires an advanced degree, there are two jobs that need a bachelors, and for every two of those there are seven jobs needed that require lesser education.

There are public high schools teaching their students this now:

Let that sink in.

These corporations have created this job market environment and now they need the work force to be able to fill it appropriately. How can they make sure that happens? By controlling public education. The purpose of public education has always been to ensure the next generation is work ready by adulthood. Always.

There was a time when our country was younger, much younger. And it was growing by leaps and bounds. It had a huge demand for leaders, inventors, and pioneers in the workforce. Our public education reflected that need.

Times have changed. Whether it should have or not, whether we like it or not, and whether it is right or wrong this demand in the workforce is no longer there. The corporations aren’t really looking for leaders, inventors, and pioneers anymore. They are looking for the “sevens”.

These are the grunts of our infrastructure. The people who keep the power, water, and sewers running like they should. The people that keep our schools and hospitals clean. The people who drive the buses and taxis. The people who cook and serve your food. The people who put the products we buy on the shelves. The ones who install cables and phone lines.  The ones that lay down asphalt, cement, and gravel so we have our roads and sidewalks. The crews that tear down, repair, and build buildings. These are the everyday people we take for granted. These are the people that if they didn’t exist to do the jobs they do, this country would fall apart. And sadly, many of these jobs get paid shit.

And so we all buy into the great big illusion – the race to the top. Go to college, get a degree and you’ll go places! But it’s a lie. The job market isn’t set up to support every single person with a degree. But they don’t tell you that because nobody wants to get paid shit. And college is a big business with rising tuition costs. They want your money. The college loan industry is an even bigger one. They want your money too. Both are coming under fire but it doesn’t seem to be fixing the problem.

And corporations are not making it any better because they are pushing for big data on our children. We have algorithms now that can predict so many things – and yes, it’s subject to being flawed and biased because HUMANS program these. Yea let’s make global, digital learning for our children the new big thing. Let’s collect huge volumes of information on each child and predict where they will go career wise and steer them accordingly. It’s already happening in our adult lives everyday.

Your Data Footprint Is Affecting Your Life In Ways You Can’t Even Imagine

And it’s been creeping into our schools for quite some time now.

The big biz of spying on little kids

When Personalized Learning Gets Too Personal: Google Complaint Exposes Student Privacy Concerns

In their own words: US Dept of Ed, Learning Registry and vendors on gathering student data

This is not a random process. This has been planned. Check out this “Future Agendas for Global Education” book saved as a PDF written in 2013. Please pay attention to page 14, section 1.4.1: Who Do We See As Readers of this Book?

Future Agendas for Global Education

Yea, that’s right the first interested parties they listed were businesses. Second were governments. Education administrators were next and then social activists were last. Parents weren’t even mentioned. Now take a look at the end of the book and read the list of authors, contributors, and acknowledgements. There are some corporations involved with the writing of this book. And who exactly are all of these people? Well you can find them here at Global Education Futures and yes, we have people in their advisory board representing the United States – most notably Standford University and Harvard University. So yes, this plan includes the United States. So who are our country’s representatives from this board talking to and influencing to make this plan a reality? I don’t know but it is becoming one.

Don’t get me wrong planning for the future is a good thing. They even went so far as to predict the job market based on the current trends:

Atlas of Emerging Jobs

What concerns me is how they are determining which jobs are endangered. It’s alarming to see how many people oriented jobs will disappear in favor of AI. A part of me questions if that is a good thing for the overall human condition.

Here they have this entire road map with all these jobs lined out. And now they have the computer power to process huge volumes of live, streaming data. Will our children have the opportunity to enjoy free agency and choose their career paths for themselves, will this become a complete illusion, or worse will this become an overt dictation? And I believe we have started asking these questions a little too late. The digital learning era is already here and on the rise.

Digital Roundup

As more public schools make the shift, I can understand this word of caution to refuse to answer questions in public school digital forms on the grounds it could create problems for us in the future. Although I’m not sure it matters in the grand scheme of things given the direction it is going….

Your banking information is digital and on the web, like it or not. Same with your medical records. Anything tied to your social security number. Your phone number. Your address. Your emails. Social media. Even your debit and credit cards are tracked. All of it. Like it or not we have become a digital world. Even if I weren’t here using the internet and never touched a device or computer, my life would still be floating around out there because of the systems I go through every day. This is why identity theft is such an issue. And now the corporations have started tracking our children right from day one in Kindergarten. How long will it be before everything about your child – in school and beyond – is attached to their social security number and is pooled into one database? There are database companies that already exist that do this for adults, like Gild. What’s stopping them with our children?

If you enjoyed this post, or have some thoughts about it, please let me know!

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