[Education] - Where Silicon Valley Is What's The Matter With Kansas

AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
Desperate after state level mismanagement of school funding left district coffers dry, Kansas schools turned to a solution presented by Silicon Valley startup Summit Learning, backed with Facebook money.

But after a number of issues that harmed students, they - and their parents - are in revolt:
The seed of rebellion was planted in classrooms. It grew in kitchens and living rooms, in conversations between students and their parents.

It culminated when Collin Winter, 14, an eighth grader in McPherson, Kan., joined a classroom walkout in January. In the nearby town of Wellington, high schoolers staged a sit-in. Their parents organized in living rooms, at churches and in the back of machine repair shops. They showed up en masse to school board meetings. In neighborhoods with no political yard signs, homemade signs with dark red slash marks suddenly popped up.

Silicon Valley had come to small-town Kansas schools — and it was not going well.

“I want to just take my Chromebook back and tell them I’m not doing it anymore,” said Kallee Forslund, 16, a 10th grader in Wellington.

Eight months earlier, public schools near Wichita had rolled out a web-based platform and curriculum from Summit Learning. The Silicon Valley-based program promotes an educational approach called “personalized learning,” which uses online tools to customize education. The platform that Summit provides was developed by Facebook engineers. It is funded by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician.

Many families in the Kansas towns, which have grappled with underfunded public schools and deteriorating test scores, initially embraced the change. Under Summit’s program, students spend much of the day on their laptops and go online for lesson plans and quizzes, which they complete at their own pace. Teachers assist students with the work, hold mentoring sessions and lead special projects. The system is free to schools. The laptops are typically bought separately.

Then, students started coming home with headaches and hand cramps. Some said they felt more anxious. One child began having a recurrence of seizures. Another asked to bring her dad’s hunting earmuffs to class to block out classmates because work was now done largely alone.

“We’re allowing the computers to teach and the kids all looked like zombies,” said Tyson Koenig, a factory supervisor in McPherson, who visited his son’s fourth-grade class. In October, he pulled the 10-year-old out of the school.

The story does not get better from there.

Education is too important to have it turned into another cash flow for a tech industry that doesn't care about the damage it does.

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  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    Are these parents going to vote in support of the higher taxes needed to fund a better education system?

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited April 2019
    Education quality is directly proportionate to surplus wealth and intrinsic property values. Raising higher taxes on most of Kansas, or even all of it, couldn't properly support a New England-quality public education sector on its own.

    Education is really expensive and its easy to talk about it being a "well you went NIMBY and so no good schools for you" but the reality is even with the same systems found in blue states a lot of the central states and southern US would still have shitty school, Texas, California, and Florida nonwithstanding.

    If you want rural America to have good schools, we all have to pay for it. Nation-wide. It needs to be a national priority, and it hasn't been since the 70s.

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  • Martini_PhilosopherMartini_Philosopher Registered User regular
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Are these parents going to vote in support of the higher taxes needed to fund a better education system?

    Kansas doesn't quite work that way. Most of the funds are gathered at and distributed at the state level, not at the county or district. Thanks to a decade long lawsuit, there are going to be increases in funding going to all districts across the state with more of the new budgets going to districts that were more affected by the cuts. This same lawsuit was well on it's way to being resolved when Brownback and company decided that they were going to slash the state's budget. This had the effect of the SCotSoK stepping in and beating the legislature with a stick. Reactionaries in the state's GOP made noise about removing members of the court (which would have required constitutional changes) or outright changing the state constitution and removing the equitable education part. Which, I should add, was inserted after Brown V. Board of Education was decided.

    Neither of those idea got out of the dream phase of development because they're all deeply unpopular and would require statewide votes to approve them. As it is, education reform has been one of the better sticks both moderates and the state Democrats have been using against the GoP for the past two elections.

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  • Kipling217Kipling217 Registered User regular
    edited April 2019
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Are these parents going to vote in support of the higher taxes needed to fund a better education system?

    Edit: Seems Martini has got it covered better then I did.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    What's disturbing is how Silicon Valley uses philanthropy to evade accountability:
    Summit chose not to be part of a study after paying the Harvard Center for Education Policy Research to design one in 2016. Tom Kane, the Harvard professor preparing that assessment, said he was wary of speaking out against Summit because many education projects receive funding from Mr. Zuckerberg and Dr. Chan’s philanthropic organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    You want a roadmap for solid public schools? Here's how:
    • First: Need a nation-wide standard for funding from multiple tax sources (such as a national property tax, corporate tax, and sales tax). Each of these three could be small in number, but you would need all three to prevent recession-based shortfalls.
    • Second: Need national standards for common-core programming. This doesn't mean "big fed is gonna tell you what to teach" beyond us all agreeing that, say, 6th grade means students learn these topics, teach them how you want. This is necessary to provide transferability across state lines, making it so if you are in 6th grade in Florida and move to Montana, that still means you are learning the same topics that year. Like with the university systems, this should be managed by a council made up of educational administrators from across the US.
    • Third: Need to provide magnet-programming at all schools in each county. The wealthy area shouldn't have the only robotics club while the poor area only has a home-economics class. These courses should be offered at every school in each county system.
    • Fourth: Teacher pay and education needs to fall in line with university norms. You want the best teachers in your schools? Pay them more than a mcdonalds manager and require a relevant secondary college degree. The market holds enough folk already to do this without collapsing.
    • Fifth: Tie teacher performance to multi-semester success aggregation based on 5-year assessment cycles. It will take 5 years for the first data to come in, but after that point every teacher in the system will have an actual accurate success trend measure for their students, including successfully passing the next level of coursework for following grades. This will take both a strong assessment system and personnel to manage and also patience on the part of local administrators and officials, but will end up with better long-term education for constituents and give enough real data to allow for milling out of bad teachers without doing so due to a semester fluke.
    • Sixth: Invest in standardized institution systems in each county. Specifically, come up with a template for regional needs, and build all the schools in your system to match it. Every school should be at modern levels of technology, structure design, and upkeep relative to all the others, and a portion of funding MUST be reserved to ensure that works.

    The first thing, even if implemented conservatively, would effectively pay for the other five with little difficulty.

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  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Man, what even is this thread.

    "The story does not get better from there" - I mean, it kinda does in that it gets funnier.
    By winter, many McPherson and Wellington students were fed up. While Summit’s program asks schools to commit to having students meet weekly in person with teachers for at least 10 minutes, some children said the sessions lasted around two minutes or did not happen.

    lmao, teachers freed from lesson plans and shifted to mentoring positions couldn't find 10min a week for some of these kids. That is a problem, but it's not technology one you can pin on Summit.

    It does a good bit of quoting students, because that's an excellent barometer of whether your school idea is good or not.
    Myriland French, 16, a student at Wellington’s high school, said she had developed eye strain and missed talking to teachers and students in class. “Everyone is more stressed now,” she said.

    I bet it is more stressful when you don't get to bullshit with your friends in class anymore. That's honestly worth thinking about, because highschool is social at least as much as it's educational and stripping the bullshit socialization out probably has an impact, especially for extroverts.

    But still, come on now.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Man, what even is this thread.

    "The story does not get better from there" - I mean, it kinda does in that it gets funnier.
    By winter, many McPherson and Wellington students were fed up. While Summit’s program asks schools to commit to having students meet weekly in person with teachers for at least 10 minutes, some children said the sessions lasted around two minutes or did not happen.

    lmao, teachers freed from lesson plans and shifted to mentoring positions couldn't find 10min a week for some of these kids. That is a problem, but it's not technology one you can pin on Summit.

    It does a good bit of quoting students, because that's an excellent barometer of whether your school idea is good or not.
    Myriland French, 16, a student at Wellington’s high school, said she had developed eye strain and missed talking to teachers and students in class. “Everyone is more stressed now,” she said.

    I bet it is more stressful when you don't get to bullshit with your friends in class anymore. That's honestly worth thinking about, because highschool is social at least as much as it's educational and stripping the bullshit socialization out probably has an impact, especially for extroverts.

    But still, come on now.

    Socialization in high-school is an important part of teamwork dynamics and, as much as we all have horror stories about it, the effects of it prove to be a consistently scoring net positive over both self-directed and homeschooling. While the latter lead to higher scores and retained knowledge in a generalized way, they also lead to lower implementation and synthesis success rates both directly after k-12 with college and in overall lifetime success.

    K-12 socialization is psychologically critical in making both effective strategies in dealing with diverse perspectives, and also in creating coping strategies for stress management through social bonding. Putting kids into high-stress, computer-based learning has shown to have low success rates in a wide range of things when not rigorously combines with team-building and collaborative assignments.

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  • discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    edited April 2019
    I'm most concerned about the uncritical pulling of information from random linked internet 'resources' by the program to be honest.
    And it obviously fails generally at accessibility. I don't think I could sustain so much computer time constantly.
    Edit: without breaks

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    discrider wrote: »
    I'm most concerned about the uncritical pulling of information from random linked internet 'resources' by the program to be honest.
    And it obviously fails generally at accessibility. I don't think I could sustain so much computer time constantly.

    There's a part of the article where they talk about an epileptic student who was repeatedly triggered by the high level of screen time.

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  • PhasenPhasen Hell WorldRegistered User regular
    A program that is aimed at the poor to save government money just never seems like a winner. Throw in there ole Zuck's influence and I'd be hard pressed to even give this program a chance.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited April 2019
    spool32 wrote: »
    Man, what even is this thread.

    "The story does not get better from there" - I mean, it kinda does in that it gets funnier.
    By winter, many McPherson and Wellington students were fed up. While Summit’s program asks schools to commit to having students meet weekly in person with teachers for at least 10 minutes, some children said the sessions lasted around two minutes or did not happen.

    lmao, teachers freed from lesson plans and shifted to mentoring positions couldn't find 10min a week for some of these kids. That is a problem, but it's not technology one you can pin on Summit.

    It does a good bit of quoting students, because that's an excellent barometer of whether your school idea is good or not.
    Myriland French, 16, a student at Wellington’s high school, said she had developed eye strain and missed talking to teachers and students in class. “Everyone is more stressed now,” she said.

    I bet it is more stressful when you don't get to bullshit with your friends in class anymore. That's honestly worth thinking about, because highschool is social at least as much as it's educational and stripping the bullshit socialization out probably has an impact, especially for extroverts.

    But still, come on now.

    Also, @spool32 I want to poke back into this thread for a moment because of this. The average high-school teacher has 35 students per class, with either six or seven classes per day. Even assuming the six-person schedule, assuming a 210 student load, that's 35 hours a week just to meet with each individual student for 10 minutes. Which is extremely optimistic, as some of those meetings will go beyond 10 minutes, the teachers also have lesson plans and administrative assignments, and that leaves very little prep time between meetings when to effectively advise you should have about equal time in with student as out to ensure you can prepare the right load of discussion and topics to review. So to do this effectively, the teachers would need about 70 hours a week, plus time for their administrative and supplemental assignment duties.

    I say this with some degree of expertise, as I did college advising for a wide range of majors, topics, and academic levels (from honors to remedial) for over ten years. And that's for college students, which are considerably more put together than k-12. Add in the early childhood development requirements for the K-12 system, such mentoring is impossible at those numbers, especially in the elementary and junior high levels where you really need much, much lower ratios to effectively teach.

    It's not "these teachers couldn't find time for their students lol" it's that this kind of system is functionally impossible to actually do without a substantially lower student-to-teacher ratio.

    Enc on
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  • Kipling217Kipling217 Registered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Man, what even is this thread.

    "The story does not get better from there" - I mean, it kinda does in that it gets funnier.
    By winter, many McPherson and Wellington students were fed up. While Summit’s program asks schools to commit to having students meet weekly in person with teachers for at least 10 minutes, some children said the sessions lasted around two minutes or did not happen.

    lmao, teachers freed from lesson plans and shifted to mentoring positions couldn't find 10min a week for some of these kids. That is a problem, but it's not technology one you can pin on Summit.

    It does a good bit of quoting students, because that's an excellent barometer of whether your school idea is good or not.
    Myriland French, 16, a student at Wellington’s high school, said she had developed eye strain and missed talking to teachers and students in class. “Everyone is more stressed now,” she said.

    I bet it is more stressful when you don't get to bullshit with your friends in class anymore. That's honestly worth thinking about, because highschool is social at least as much as it's educational and stripping the bullshit socialization out probably has an impact, especially for extroverts.

    But still, come on now.

    Socialization in high-school is an important part of teamwork dynamics and, as much as we all have horror stories about it, the effects of it prove to be a consistently scoring net positive over both self-directed and homeschooling. While the latter lead to higher scores and retained knowledge in a generalized way, they also lead to lower implementation and synthesis success rates both directly after k-12 with college and in overall lifetime success.

    K-12 socialization is psychologically critical in making both effective strategies in dealing with diverse perspectives, and also in creating coping strategies for stress management through social bonding. Putting kids into high-stress, computer-based learning has shown to have low success rates in a wide range of things when not rigorously combines with team-building and collaborative assignments.

    There is also the problem of giving a weekly mentoring session when you don't really interact with the student in any meaningful capacity outside of that 10 minutes. You don't really know how he learns and what he has problems with because you haven't seen it for yourself in a classroom. So every mentoring session would require each student to not only explain what he is having problem with, but why. Then you have to tailor a solution to that individual student. You are not to be able to go up to the chalkboard and explain a weakness in the lesson to every student simultaneously. Meaning even if you find a common problem and develop a solution, you have to repeat it 25 times instead of just one and you have to check with every student if they are having the same problem because not every student is working on the same thing.

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  • CalicaCalica Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Man, what even is this thread.

    "The story does not get better from there" - I mean, it kinda does in that it gets funnier.
    By winter, many McPherson and Wellington students were fed up. While Summit’s program asks schools to commit to having students meet weekly in person with teachers for at least 10 minutes, some children said the sessions lasted around two minutes or did not happen.

    lmao, teachers freed from lesson plans and shifted to mentoring positions couldn't find 10min a week for some of these kids. That is a problem, but it's not technology one you can pin on Summit.

    It does a good bit of quoting students, because that's an excellent barometer of whether your school idea is good or not.
    Myriland French, 16, a student at Wellington’s high school, said she had developed eye strain and missed talking to teachers and students in class. “Everyone is more stressed now,” she said.

    I bet it is more stressful when you don't get to bullshit with your friends in class anymore. That's honestly worth thinking about, because highschool is social at least as much as it's educational and stripping the bullshit socialization out probably has an impact, especially for extroverts.

    But still, come on now.

    I... just... what?

    From anyone else, I'd assume this entire post was parody.

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  • Martini_PhilosopherMartini_Philosopher Registered User regular
    discrider wrote: »
    I'm most concerned about the uncritical pulling of information from random linked internet 'resources' by the program to be honest.
    And it obviously fails generally at accessibility. I don't think I could sustain so much computer time constantly.

    There's a part of the article where they talk about an epileptic student who was repeatedly triggered by the high level of screen time.

    The clincher was how no one in Summit seemed prepared for anyone with special needs. It's like they've ignored the last 50 years of research on the "one size fits all" approach to education.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    And when I mean equal time in as out, what that means is for every minute you spend with a student you need at least that amount to:
    • review test and programming progress
    • prepare informed discussion topics and reflective dialogue promts
    • review student history notes to make sure you have a trend for how things have gone over time
    • write said notes to extensively cover student progress and the meeting contents for future mentoring
    • set and record future goal planning
    • record and research the answers to topics you don't have immediate knowledge of to get back to the mentee
    • metics assessment works for state/county/student reporting

    To be a good mentor, you don't just show up and say "well, how are things going? Good good, see you next week." Like with a therapist or psychologist you are doing a ton of research to effectively do your job.

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  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Man, what even is this thread.

    "The story does not get better from there" - I mean, it kinda does in that it gets funnier.
    By winter, many McPherson and Wellington students were fed up. While Summit’s program asks schools to commit to having students meet weekly in person with teachers for at least 10 minutes, some children said the sessions lasted around two minutes or did not happen.

    lmao, teachers freed from lesson plans and shifted to mentoring positions couldn't find 10min a week for some of these kids. That is a problem, but it's not technology one you can pin on Summit.

    It does a good bit of quoting students, because that's an excellent barometer of whether your school idea is good or not.
    Myriland French, 16, a student at Wellington’s high school, said she had developed eye strain and missed talking to teachers and students in class. “Everyone is more stressed now,” she said.

    I bet it is more stressful when you don't get to bullshit with your friends in class anymore. That's honestly worth thinking about, because highschool is social at least as much as it's educational and stripping the bullshit socialization out probably has an impact, especially for extroverts.

    But still, come on now.

    @spool32

    I'm having trouble parsing which of your lines are sarcasm and which are sincere. I think I'm not the only one. Care you clarify your post a bit?

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  • FoefallerFoefaller Registered User regular
    edited April 2019
    discrider wrote: »
    I'm most concerned about the uncritical pulling of information from random linked internet 'resources' by the program to be honest.
    And it obviously fails generally at accessibility. I don't think I could sustain so much computer time constantly.

    There's a part of the article where they talk about an epileptic student who was repeatedly triggered by the high level of screen time.

    The clincher was how no one in Summit seemed prepared for anyone with special needs. It's like they've ignored the last 50 years of research on the "one size fits all" approach to education.

    Probably a mix of arrogance and patch culture; Release it now, fix the bugs later, which could never be something as dangerous as giving a student epileptic seizures.

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  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    It would seem to me that it would be the school's responsibility to provide accommodation for students that can't use the machines normally.

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  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited April 2019
    That article is super vague. I'm left a bit confused by what the issue with Summit is exactly? Besides tech companies made it, of course.

    "Some teenagers don't like school" is not exactly some sort of shocker. And outside of the kid with the very uncommon and specific seizure issue, it just sites a bunch of general malaise conditions. I had stress and headaches in highschool, we didn't have anything like Summit.

    They don't give any test scores or any sort of performance data. They didn't apparently interview a single teacher in this district about the issue, or include any quotes from teachers in any schools using Summit. But have bunches of quotes from parents. Parents are the worst source to go to on something like this.

    "Some parent don't like ________" Just throw in anything anyone ever changes about education, and you've got your news article. Summit, Common core, standardized testing, coed classrooms, sex ed, desegragation, new math, etc. That some parents don't like some thing is a completely meaningless data point. Some parents don't like vaccines, But most parents are no more experts about medicine than they are education, so I'm not sure why their opinions should carry any more weight on one than the other.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    It's a failing of the School Board, ultimately, for implementing the system without running down the potential health effects and pitfalls with special needs populations. That venture capital tech-bros were willing to sell the next golden bullet to education is nothing new. From classroom clickers to IBM sales in the 90s, people have always been willing to sell a high-cost "super-solution" to k-12 education which doesn't address the actual problems, but costs less than actually hiring more people or keeping the good teachers you have.

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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Man, what even is this thread.

    "The story does not get better from there" - I mean, it kinda does in that it gets funnier.
    By winter, many McPherson and Wellington students were fed up. While Summit’s program asks schools to commit to having students meet weekly in person with teachers for at least 10 minutes, some children said the sessions lasted around two minutes or did not happen.

    lmao, teachers freed from lesson plans and shifted to mentoring positions couldn't find 10min a week for some of these kids. That is a problem, but it's not technology one you can pin on Summit.

    It does a good bit of quoting students, because that's an excellent barometer of whether your school idea is good or not.
    Myriland French, 16, a student at Wellington’s high school, said she had developed eye strain and missed talking to teachers and students in class. “Everyone is more stressed now,” she said.

    I bet it is more stressful when you don't get to bullshit with your friends in class anymore. That's honestly worth thinking about, because highschool is social at least as much as it's educational and stripping the bullshit socialization out probably has an impact, especially for extroverts.

    But still, come on now.

    Also, @spool32 I want to poke back into this thread for a moment because of this. The average high-school teacher has 35 students per class, with either six or seven classes per day. Even assuming the six-person schedule, assuming a 210 student load, that's 35 hours a week just to meet with each individual student for 10 minutes. Which is extremely optimistic, as some of those meetings will go beyond 10 minutes, the teachers also have lesson plans and administrative assignments, and that leaves very little prep time between meetings when to effectively advise you should have about equal time in with student as out to ensure you can prepare the right load of discussion and topics to review. So to do this effectively, the teachers would need about 70 hours a week, plus time for their administrative and supplemental assignment duties.

    I say this with some degree of expertise, as I did college advising for a wide range of majors, topics, and academic levels (from honors to remedial) for over ten years. And that's for college students, which are considerably more put together than k-12. Add in the early childhood development requirements for the K-12 system, such mentoring is impossible at those numbers, especially in the elementary and junior high levels where you really need much, much lower ratios to effectively teach.

    It's not "these teachers couldn't find time for their students lol" it's that this kind of system is functionally impossible to actually do without a substantially lower student-to-teacher ratio.

    Manpower is always a big limiting constraint on what you can accomplish with education. It is literally a problem where you can throw more people at it and generally get better results. Certainly at the level any large scale education system is currently operating at.

    There is a plateau for things like student:teacher ratio but it's actually on the other side. At some point each teacher has so many students that additional students piled on top of that basically don't matter. You've hit a kind of rock-bottom.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    That article is super vague. I'm left a bit confused by what the issue with Summit is exactly? Besides tech companies made it, of course.

    "Some teenagers don't like school" is not exactly some sort of shocker. And outside of the kid with the very uncommon and specific seizure issue, it just sites a bunch of general malaise conditions. I had stress and headaches in highschool, we didn't have anything like Summit.

    They don't give any test scores or any sort of performance data. They didn't apparently interview a single teacher in this district about the issue, or include any quotes from teachers in any schools using Summit. But have bunches of quotes from parents. Parents are the worst source to go to on something like this.

    "Some parent don't like ________" Just throw in anything anyone ever changes about education, and you've got your news article. Summit, Common core, standardized testing, coed classrooms, sex ed, desegragation, new math, etc. That some parents don't like some thing is a completely meaningless data point. Some parents don't like vaccines, But most parents are no more experts about medicine than they are education, so I'm not sure why their opinions should carry any more weight on one than the other.

    Summit is also bad for a lot of reasons not stated in that article:
    • “Opinionated women are given disadvantages in society that privilege male accomplishments” and similar mysogynistic phrases are common in Summit Learning exercises.
    • The personalized lesson plans have, with alarming frequency, set up students at random integers to fail for purposes of testing its thresholding, providing them with bad learning experiences for the purpose of testing how well experimental programming works. Students are not questions nor do they opt in to being in the experiments, they are just chosen to fail by algorithm.
    • The system is proprietary black-box, and no evaluative evidence is or ever has been released of the system's efficacy over face to face learning beyond to system administrators, making comparing the system to statewide standards nearly impossible beyond standardized testing.

    This isn't to say there isn't some promise in the idea of digital, responsive student programming after a certain age. For systems at the college level, or even some more advanced courses in the high-school level like AP or ACE programming, there is a strong case to be made that these systems can provide some real assistance to a formal teaching environment. But that is assistance to, not replacement of. Humans do not have machine learning, you need a human with effective training to evaluate and measure progress of a student. A computer cannot measure the wide range of social and emotional factors that have to be taken into account with the learning process.

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  • MrMisterMrMister Please demonstrate your enthusiasm for e-marking and/or e-assessment with examplesRegistered User regular
    That article is super vague. I'm left a bit confused by what the issue with Summit is exactly? Besides tech companies made it, of course

    I’d like to add: there’s nothing nefarious about experimenting with a new system that turns out to be worse than the old one. That happens all the time! No one on Earth either can anticipate all of the effects of a big intervention on educational delivery. To find the good things we have to try lots of bad things.

    Maybe the roll-out was too big too fast; maybe they are withdrawing it too slowly. I’d want to know more about it to come to any firm judgments. It is quite relevant, though, that it was offered for free to a school system that, with inadequate funds, was struggling to maintain regular instruction . That is exactly where you want to test low cost alternative experimental designs, because there is a reasonable case that even if they are worse, no one is made worse off (because the better, standard design would not have been available even if this was not offered).

    Compare with the testing of short-course AZT for preventing maternal-fetal HIV transmission in low and middle income countries. We already know long-course AZT worked, but it was unaffordable in those places, whereas short course Might Work, and if it did low and middle income countries could hope to afford it (it did work).

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  • NobeardNobeard North Carolina: Failed StateRegistered User regular
    We all know this, but just a reminder, part of fixing education is fixing general poverty. A child in a food insecure family is going to have a harder time learning, no matter the school.

    I'm not saying we are going to have an autocratic dystopia, but things keep happening that look like they come from an autocratic dystopia.
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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    MrMister wrote: »
    That article is super vague. I'm left a bit confused by what the issue with Summit is exactly? Besides tech companies made it, of course

    I’d like to add: there’s nothing nefarious about experimenting with a new system that turns out to be worse than the old one. That happens all the time! No one on Earth either can anticipate all of the effects of a big intervention on educational delivery. To find the good things we have to try lots of bad things.

    Maybe the roll-out was too big too fast; maybe they are withdrawing it too slowly. I’d want to know more about it to come to any firm judgments. It is quite relevant, though, that it was offered for free to a school system that, with inadequate funds, was struggling to maintain regular instruction . That is exactly where you want to test low cost alternative experimental designs, because there is a reasonable case that even if they are worse, no one is made worse off (because the better, standard design would not have been available even if this was not offered).

    Compare with the testing of short-course AZT for preventing maternal-fetal HIV transmission in low and middle income countries. We already know long-course AZT worked, but it was unaffordable in those places, whereas short course Might Work, and if it did low and middle income countries could hope to afford it (it did work).

    I agree, in general. Ideally, they should have had a small scale, opt-in program which tested the system for a period of over 5 years to determine of there is evidentiary success across transfer between grades and to education systems beyond the individual school system. That Summit is problematic is a variety of ways belies its place as a leading software provider for this sort of technology.

    In practice, though, it is unlike a medical system because this causes the harm rather than fails at curing the harm. A bad education will wreck a students entire life.

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  • ZekZek Registered User regular
    edited April 2019
    I think fundamentally the problem here is about replacing face-to-face interactions with working by yourself on a computer. This is sort of a microcosm of what has been happening to society over the past couple decades, and schools were one of the last bastions against it. Kids most of all need social development during their formative years, and that's something that can't be done by the internet. I've been seeing people talk about this article everywhere, more than any NYT article I can remember, which indicates to me that this is hitting a nerve for the general populace. We're at an inflection point now, where it is fully possible for computers to do literally everything for us, and we as a society need to decide where to draw the line. That's why this issue matters so much - once you move schools to the internet, it feels like our transformation is complete, and that's frightening.

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  • NotYouNotYou Registered User regular
    Skimmed the article and couldn't find anything where they discuss the results. Are the children learning well?

    Otherwise, I think sitting alone on a computer at school is a depressing plan for the future.

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    MrMister wrote: »
    That article is super vague. I'm left a bit confused by what the issue with Summit is exactly? Besides tech companies made it, of course

    I’d like to add: there’s nothing nefarious about experimenting with a new system that turns out to be worse than the old one. That happens all the time! No one on Earth either can anticipate all of the effects of a big intervention on educational delivery. To find the good things we have to try lots of bad things.

    Maybe the roll-out was too big too fast; maybe they are withdrawing it too slowly. I’d want to know more about it to come to any firm judgments. It is quite relevant, though, that it was offered for free to a school system that, with inadequate funds, was struggling to maintain regular instruction . That is exactly where you want to test low cost alternative experimental designs, because there is a reasonable case that even if they are worse, no one is made worse off (because the better, standard design would not have been available even if this was not offered).

    Compare with the testing of short-course AZT for preventing maternal-fetal HIV transmission in low and middle income countries. We already know long-course AZT worked, but it was unaffordable in those places, whereas short course Might Work, and if it did low and middle income countries could hope to afford it (it did work).

    No, the nefarious part is when you refuse to allow for independent evaluation:
    In fact, though, there is no academic research on whether Summit’s specific model is effective. And while Summit helped fund a study proposal crafted by Harvard researchers, it ultimately turned them down.

    “They didn’t tell us explicitly why,” said Tom Kane, a Harvard education professor and faculty director of the Center for Education Policy Research. “All I can say is that the work that we did for Summit involved planning an evaluation; we have not measured impacts on student outcomes.”

    Summit’s founder Diane Tavenner said the organization had a number of reasons for not moving forward with the proposed study, including its potential to burden teachers and to limit the platform’s ability to change or grow. Their general approach is backed by other research, she said, and their track record as a charter network.

    ...More broadly, Tavenner says she is skeptical of the usefulness of large-scale research of the sort the Harvard team proposed, saying the conclusions might be of interest to journalists and philanthropists, not schools.

    “I’m not willing to give up what’s best for kids for those two audiences,” Tavenner told Chalkbeat last month.

    This is a lot like how Theranos behaved.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Zek wrote: »
    I think fundamentally the problem here is about replacing face-to-face interactions with working by yourself on a computer. This is sort of a microcosm of what has been happening to society over the past couple decades, and schools were one of the last bastions against it. Kids most of all need social development during their formative years, and that's something that can't be done by the internet. I've been seeing people talk about this article everywhere, more than any NYT article I can remember, which indicates to me that this is hitting a nerve for the general populace. We're at an inflection point now, where it is fully possible for computers to do literally everything for us, and we as a society need to decide where to draw the line. That's why this issue matters so much - once you move schools to the internet, it feels like our transformation is complete, and that's frightening.

    Someone in another discussion of this article brought up this piece about "above/below the API" jobs, pointing out that what Summit does is apply that concept to education.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    I'm not going to go full panic just yet. It's possible to do digital learning and still have a human element. Webinar software like GoToMeeting can be used to get a classroom anywhere, regardless of F2F presence. The idea of digitally responsive lesson plans can be used effectively by teachers to have closely mentored pupils complete grades at a pace faster than a year, allowing students higher degrees of completion with greater efficiency.

    But, yeah. You need a person to evaluate both the "Can they do this more?" and "Should they move ahead?" It's the problem from shows like Numbers, even if you are outpacing the content you still need time to be a kid with other kids your age, and knowing Calculus III before you get to college isn't doing you any favors if you don't know how to talk with people or function in society.

    Most alarming, it encourages a culture where peers leave behind the students not performing as well as themselves. This historically has been shown to create a negative feedback loop for a hell of a lot of people, and create real psychological harm in adolescance. There are a ton of studies done about the unethical practices of private schools in the US, Japan, and the UK with these models where you see rapid increases in suicides and self harm for what we as adults would see as minor slights of setbacks.

    The annual cohort model does a lot of work to ensure social upbringing, but its also inefficient. I guess the question is do we want our children entering the workforce at 16 or 21, these software would suggest the former is a better idea. But I think everyone can agree that the latter makes more sense.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    NotYou wrote: »
    Skimmed the article and couldn't find anything where they discuss the results. Are the children learning well?

    Otherwise, I think sitting alone on a computer at school is a depressing plan for the future.

    There isn't a way to tell effectively, as Summit refuses to publish their actual outcome data.

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  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud my moons are good moons Registered User regular
    edited April 2019
    a

    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud on
  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    Every computerized learning system I have seen in my time as a teacher is an utter disaster. Because they're not flexible, primarily. Assessment (especially in math) is a particular nightmare. And even if they were well designed, there's a more significant problem:

    The more students get to talk, the better they retain information. I know group work sucks, especially for those of us who were successful in school, but all the educational research says it's better practice, because kids getting to talk means they will remember it better. If that's with partners, small groups, or in whole class discussions is irrelevant (though obviously whole class gives them less of a chance to talk total). These kinds of computer based systems eliminate the possibility.

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  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    discrider wrote: »
    I'm most concerned about the uncritical pulling of information from random linked internet 'resources' by the program to be honest.
    And it obviously fails generally at accessibility. I don't think I could sustain so much computer time constantly.

    There's a part of the article where they talk about an epileptic student who was repeatedly triggered by the high level of screen time.

    The clincher was how no one in Summit seemed prepared for anyone with special needs. It's like they've ignored the last 50 years of research on the "one size fits all" approach to education.

    Tech companies that are super disproportionately white and male failed to account for people with other life experiences than themselves? Why I never!

    Yeah though, this is probably the least surprising part. You could argue (perhaps correctly even) that accommodations are something the school should handle, but the fact that it probably never came up on the Silicon Valley side of things is entirely predictable.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited April 2019
    Enc wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Man, what even is this thread.

    "The story does not get better from there" - I mean, it kinda does in that it gets funnier.
    By winter, many McPherson and Wellington students were fed up. While Summit’s program asks schools to commit to having students meet weekly in person with teachers for at least 10 minutes, some children said the sessions lasted around two minutes or did not happen.

    lmao, teachers freed from lesson plans and shifted to mentoring positions couldn't find 10min a week for some of these kids. That is a problem, but it's not technology one you can pin on Summit.

    It does a good bit of quoting students, because that's an excellent barometer of whether your school idea is good or not.
    Myriland French, 16, a student at Wellington’s high school, said she had developed eye strain and missed talking to teachers and students in class. “Everyone is more stressed now,” she said.

    I bet it is more stressful when you don't get to bullshit with your friends in class anymore. That's honestly worth thinking about, because highschool is social at least as much as it's educational and stripping the bullshit socialization out probably has an impact, especially for extroverts.

    But still, come on now.

    Also, @spool32 I want to poke back into this thread for a moment because of this. The average high-school teacher has 35 students per class, with either six or seven classes per day. Even assuming the six-person schedule, assuming a 210 student load, that's 35 hours a week just to meet with each individual student for 10 minutes. Which is extremely optimistic, as some of those meetings will go beyond 10 minutes, the teachers also have lesson plans and administrative assignments, and that leaves very little prep time between meetings when to effectively advise you should have about equal time in with student as out to ensure you can prepare the right load of discussion and topics to review. So to do this effectively, the teachers would need about 70 hours a week, plus time for their administrative and supplemental assignment duties.

    I say this with some degree of expertise, as I did college advising for a wide range of majors, topics, and academic levels (from honors to remedial) for over ten years. And that's for college students, which are considerably more put together than k-12. Add in the early childhood development requirements for the K-12 system, such mentoring is impossible at those numbers, especially in the elementary and junior high levels where you really need much, much lower ratios to effectively teach.

    It's not "these teachers couldn't find time for their students lol" it's that this kind of system is functionally impossible to actually do without a substantially lower student-to-teacher ratio.
    Sorry but you aren't a teacher. You're an adviser. I don't think its really appropriate to present yourself as an education expert because you meet with students on what classes they need to take in a college setting. I would really like to hear from actual teachers regarding their teaching load and what time they do and don't have. We have many such on the ground teachers on the forums.

    First, I'm not talking as a teacher. The teachers in this question were turned into academic advisors with the teaching turned over to Summit. There is absolutely a difference between teaching in the k-12 system and college level, and a huge gulf between advising and teaching. 100% agree.

    That said, I have classroom experience, perform active educational research (and am currently active on three specifically in the K-12 system for two separate counties, one of which is specifically on the effects of measuring headcounts in the classroom in comparison to preparation time), and have been on consultation committees with local schools systems. I've also looked at Summit before.

    So, valid. I am not presently teaching K-12, but I work directly with, study, and measure those who do.

    Enc on
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  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud my moons are good moons Registered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    Enc wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Man, what even is this thread.

    "The story does not get better from there" - I mean, it kinda does in that it gets funnier.
    By winter, many McPherson and Wellington students were fed up. While Summit’s program asks schools to commit to having students meet weekly in person with teachers for at least 10 minutes, some children said the sessions lasted around two minutes or did not happen.

    lmao, teachers freed from lesson plans and shifted to mentoring positions couldn't find 10min a week for some of these kids. That is a problem, but it's not technology one you can pin on Summit.

    It does a good bit of quoting students, because that's an excellent barometer of whether your school idea is good or not.
    Myriland French, 16, a student at Wellington’s high school, said she had developed eye strain and missed talking to teachers and students in class. “Everyone is more stressed now,” she said.

    I bet it is more stressful when you don't get to bullshit with your friends in class anymore. That's honestly worth thinking about, because highschool is social at least as much as it's educational and stripping the bullshit socialization out probably has an impact, especially for extroverts.

    But still, come on now.

    Also, @spool32 I want to poke back into this thread for a moment because of this. The average high-school teacher has 35 students per class, with either six or seven classes per day. Even assuming the six-person schedule, assuming a 210 student load, that's 35 hours a week just to meet with each individual student for 10 minutes. Which is extremely optimistic, as some of those meetings will go beyond 10 minutes, the teachers also have lesson plans and administrative assignments, and that leaves very little prep time between meetings when to effectively advise you should have about equal time in with student as out to ensure you can prepare the right load of discussion and topics to review. So to do this effectively, the teachers would need about 70 hours a week, plus time for their administrative and supplemental assignment duties.

    I say this with some degree of expertise, as I did college advising for a wide range of majors, topics, and academic levels (from honors to remedial) for over ten years. And that's for college students, which are considerably more put together than k-12. Add in the early childhood development requirements for the K-12 system, such mentoring is impossible at those numbers, especially in the elementary and junior high levels where you really need much, much lower ratios to effectively teach.

    It's not "these teachers couldn't find time for their students lol" it's that this kind of system is functionally impossible to actually do without a substantially lower student-to-teacher ratio.
    Sorry but you aren't a teacher. You're an adviser. I don't think its really appropriate to present yourself as an education expert because you meet with students on what classes they need to take in a college setting. I would really like to hear from actual teachers regarding their teaching load and what time they do and don't have. We have many such on the ground teachers on the forums.

    First, I'm not talking as a teacher. The teachers in this question were turned into academic advisors with the teaching turned over to Summit. There is absolutely a difference between teaching in the k-12 system and college level, and a huge gulf between advising and teaching. 100% agree.

    That said, I have classroom experience, perform active educational research (and am currently active on three specifically in the K-12 system for two separate counties, one of which is specifically on the effects of measuring headcounts in the classroom in comparison to preparation time), and have been on consultation committees with local schools systems. I've also looked at Summit before.

    So, valid. I am not presently teaching K-12, but I work directly with, study, and measure those who do.
    Fair point. I was being snarky because you lead with AS AN EXPERT pretty often across the forums and that was unfair of me. This is a much more honest assessment and I appreciate it.

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Man, what even is this thread.

    "The story does not get better from there" - I mean, it kinda does in that it gets funnier.
    By winter, many McPherson and Wellington students were fed up. While Summit’s program asks schools to commit to having students meet weekly in person with teachers for at least 10 minutes, some children said the sessions lasted around two minutes or did not happen.

    lmao, teachers freed from lesson plans and shifted to mentoring positions couldn't find 10min a week for some of these kids. That is a problem, but it's not technology one you can pin on Summit.

    It does a good bit of quoting students, because that's an excellent barometer of whether your school idea is good or not.
    Myriland French, 16, a student at Wellington’s high school, said she had developed eye strain and missed talking to teachers and students in class. “Everyone is more stressed now,” she said.

    I bet it is more stressful when you don't get to bullshit with your friends in class anymore. That's honestly worth thinking about, because highschool is social at least as much as it's educational and stripping the bullshit socialization out probably has an impact, especially for extroverts.

    But still, come on now.

    Also, @spool32 I want to poke back into this thread for a moment because of this. The average high-school teacher has 35 students per class, with either six or seven classes per day. Even assuming the six-person schedule, assuming a 210 student load, that's 35 hours a week just to meet with each individual student for 10 minutes. Which is extremely optimistic, as some of those meetings will go beyond 10 minutes, the teachers also have lesson plans and administrative assignments, and that leaves very little prep time between meetings when to effectively advise you should have about equal time in with student as out to ensure you can prepare the right load of discussion and topics to review. So to do this effectively, the teachers would need about 70 hours a week, plus time for their administrative and supplemental assignment duties.

    I say this with some degree of expertise, as I did college advising for a wide range of majors, topics, and academic levels (from honors to remedial) for over ten years. And that's for college students, which are considerably more put together than k-12. Add in the early childhood development requirements for the K-12 system, such mentoring is impossible at those numbers, especially in the elementary and junior high levels where you really need much, much lower ratios to effectively teach.

    It's not "these teachers couldn't find time for their students lol" it's that this kind of system is functionally impossible to actually do without a substantially lower student-to-teacher ratio.

    This is somewhat irrelevant to call out. If they didn't have the time before, and don't now, it seems like it's not Summit's fault that they aren't doing the mentoring. I'm sympathetic to an argument that individual computer-based learning doesn't actually create more time for teachers to do individual mentoring over and above the traditional system, but if they don't have 10 minutes a week for individual mentoring now, they never did before either. This is not a Summit problem.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    Enc wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Man, what even is this thread.

    "The story does not get better from there" - I mean, it kinda does in that it gets funnier.
    By winter, many McPherson and Wellington students were fed up. While Summit’s program asks schools to commit to having students meet weekly in person with teachers for at least 10 minutes, some children said the sessions lasted around two minutes or did not happen.

    lmao, teachers freed from lesson plans and shifted to mentoring positions couldn't find 10min a week for some of these kids. That is a problem, but it's not technology one you can pin on Summit.

    It does a good bit of quoting students, because that's an excellent barometer of whether your school idea is good or not.
    Myriland French, 16, a student at Wellington’s high school, said she had developed eye strain and missed talking to teachers and students in class. “Everyone is more stressed now,” she said.

    I bet it is more stressful when you don't get to bullshit with your friends in class anymore. That's honestly worth thinking about, because highschool is social at least as much as it's educational and stripping the bullshit socialization out probably has an impact, especially for extroverts.

    But still, come on now.

    Also, @spool32 I want to poke back into this thread for a moment because of this. The average high-school teacher has 35 students per class, with either six or seven classes per day. Even assuming the six-person schedule, assuming a 210 student load, that's 35 hours a week just to meet with each individual student for 10 minutes. Which is extremely optimistic, as some of those meetings will go beyond 10 minutes, the teachers also have lesson plans and administrative assignments, and that leaves very little prep time between meetings when to effectively advise you should have about equal time in with student as out to ensure you can prepare the right load of discussion and topics to review. So to do this effectively, the teachers would need about 70 hours a week, plus time for their administrative and supplemental assignment duties.

    I say this with some degree of expertise, as I did college advising for a wide range of majors, topics, and academic levels (from honors to remedial) for over ten years. And that's for college students, which are considerably more put together than k-12. Add in the early childhood development requirements for the K-12 system, such mentoring is impossible at those numbers, especially in the elementary and junior high levels where you really need much, much lower ratios to effectively teach.

    It's not "these teachers couldn't find time for their students lol" it's that this kind of system is functionally impossible to actually do without a substantially lower student-to-teacher ratio.
    Sorry but you aren't a teacher. You're an adviser. I don't think its really appropriate to present yourself as an education expert because you meet with students on what classes they need to take in a college setting. I would really like to hear from actual teachers regarding their teaching load and what time they do and don't have. We have many such on the ground teachers on the forums.

    First, I'm not talking as a teacher. The teachers in this question were turned into academic advisors with the teaching turned over to Summit. There is absolutely a difference between teaching in the k-12 system and college level, and a huge gulf between advising and teaching. 100% agree.

    That said, I have classroom experience, perform active educational research (and am currently active on three specifically in the K-12 system for two separate counties, one of which is specifically on the effects of measuring headcounts in the classroom in comparison to preparation time), and have been on consultation committees with local schools systems. I've also looked at Summit before.

    So, valid. I am not presently teaching K-12, but I work directly with, study, and measure those who do.
    Fair point. I was being snarky because you lead with AS AN EXPERT pretty often across the forums and that was unfair of me. This is a much more honest assessment and I appreciate it.

    On my part, I should have bolded or italicised "some" in some expertise. I'm certainly not the experts on the topic at all. But I'm so entrenched in the studies we are performing working with the K-12 people who are that some of that has well rubbed off.

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  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    "Some teenagers don't like school" is not exactly some sort of shocker. And outside of the kid with the very uncommon and specific seizure issue, it just sites a bunch of general malaise conditions. I had stress and headaches in highschool, we didn't have anything like Summit.

    Going too deep on this is probably outside the scope of this thread, but I'm not particularly enamored by arguments in the vein of "who cares what teenagers think about school? They're going to hate school no matter what." That's also why I asked spool32 to clarify his comments, because I read his line "It does a good bit of quoting students, because that's an excellent barometer of whether your school idea is good or not" as sarcasm, but I wasn't totally sure.

    If multiple students are saying that a new program has increased their stress, I think we should take that complaint seriously. Taking it seriously doesn't mean accepting it uncritically, but it also means not dismissing it out of hand either.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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