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posted by mattie_p on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:27PM   Printer-friendly
from the corporate-sponsorship dept.
jcd writes:

"The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the primary backer for the inBloom educational grading and service (which also acts as a platform for third-party applications), is catching flak for its role in encouraging the outsourcing of US Education. The article (cited by RMS today) argues that though the Common Core is a scary new concept that takes power away from state and local school governance, the real danger is allowing corporate enterprises to have so much control over our classrooms. The Washington Post also reports a case where Pearson included corporate logos and promotional materials inside its test booklets."

Related Stories

Law Enforcement and Industry Collaborate to Combat Shylock Malware 11 comments

An international operation involving law enforcement agencies and private sector companies is combating the threat from a type of malicious software (malware) used by criminals to steal from bank accounts. In the first project of its kind for a UK law enforcement agency, the National Crime Agency has brought together partners from the law enforcement and private sectors, including the FBI, Europol, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, GCHQ, Dell SecureWorks, Kaspersky Lab and the German Federal Police (BKA) to jointly address the Shylock trojan.

As part of this activity, law enforcement agencies are taking action to disrupt the system which Shylock depends on to operate effectively. This comprises the seizure of servers which form the command and control system for the trojan, as well as taking control of the domains Shylock uses for communication between infected computers. This has been conducted from the operational centre at the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol in The Hague. Investigators from the NCA, FBI, the Netherlands, Turkey and Italy gathered to coordinate action in their respective countries, in concert with counterparts in Germany, Poland and France.

Shylock - so called because its code contains excerpts from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice - has infected at least 30,000 computers running Microsoft Windows worldwide. Intelligence suggests that Shylock has targeted the UK more than any other country, although the suspected developers are based elsewhere. The NCA is therefore coordinating international action against this form of malware.

Symantect describe the Trojan here, although this assessment was made in 2011 and the number of infections is significantly lower than the current estimates stated above.

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  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by ragequit on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:33PM

    by ragequit (44) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:33PM (#1936) Journal

    Frost PIss!?

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    The above views are fabricated for your reading pleasure.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by TrumpetPower! on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:40PM

      by TrumpetPower! (590) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:40PM (#1944) Homepage

      Simply being the first to post on a subject is meaningless. Any monkey can do it.

      Being not only the first to post, but to have something meaningful to contribute...now that's a challenge, and one that I would love to see the membership of Soylent News embrace.

      Cheers,

      b&

      --
      All but God can prove this sentence true.
      • (Score: 5, Funny) by unitron on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:11PM

        by unitron (70) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:11PM (#2009) Journal

        He's part of the stealth ninja moderation testing program, helping to insure that downmodding is just as thoroughly tested as upmodding without the risk of something being downmodded that was worthy of upmodding or remaining at the default.

        --
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      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by KibiByte on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:29PM

        by KibiByte (1024) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:29PM (#2016)

        I try to add my good two cents in. Sometimes I cannot, and thus these testing trolls pop up.

        Let them pop up, it helps tune our mod algorithm.

        --
        The One True Unit UID
      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by koreanbabykilla on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:51AM

        by koreanbabykilla (968) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:51AM (#2052)

        I got an on-topic first post yesterday. I was pretty happy about it.

        • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:02AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:02AM (#2058)

          Obviously you do not intend to continue that trend, as this is neither first nor relevant.

          • (Score: 1) by koreanbabykilla on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:40AM

            by koreanbabykilla (968) on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:40AM (#3016)

            No, I didn't even mean to get the one I got. Also, eat a bag of dicks, this comment was indeed relevant to what I replied to.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by TrumpetPower! on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:38PM

    by TrumpetPower! (590) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:38PM (#1941) Homepage

    ...the purpose of public education was to grow citizens. But, for as long as I can remember, it's been to prepare kids for the jobs of the future -- free job training programs for corporations, in other words, with only lip service paid to the needs of the citizenry who're paying for the education in the first place.

    Of course, an under-educated populace is often much easier to control, so that might have something to do with it....

    Cheers,

    b&

    --
    All but God can prove this sentence true.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by duvel on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:19PM

      by duvel (1496) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:19PM (#1974)

      On the other hand, if we all were liberal arts students, we'd starve to death in a matter of weeks.

      The Gates Foundation is aimed at increasing living conditions in third world countries. these countries have a strong need for a populace that can work in factories, or maybe even in the services industry. Third world countries do not have the luxury yet to stop focussing on basic economic productivity. Once the living standards in those countries are up to par, then they can start worrying about eduction that develops more than just economic skills.

      --
      This Sig is under surveilance by the NSA
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by cwix on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:12AM

        by cwix (873) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:12AM (#2043)

        Then they really should stick to the third world countries. I am not sure I am real fond of this common core that is being put into place here in the US.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by m on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:15AM

        by m (1741) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:15AM (#2165)

        This controversy has nothing to do with work in "third world countries," unless you consider the US to fall in that category. Along with work in other places in the world, the Gates Foundation does a lot of lobbying / activity in the US to shape educational policy --- specifically, to bring US public education under megacorporate control. They're big partners with the Walton foundations (of "we pay our full-time workers so little they need food stamps" Wal*Mart) to push for charter schools and getting private fingers in the public education funds pie. InBloom doesn't have anything to do with developing education in third-world countries; rather, it's the race-to-the-bottom to make the US just like a profitable, exploitable third-world country.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by frojack on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:19PM

      by frojack (1554) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:19PM (#1975) Journal

      Quote:

      free job training programs for corporations, in other words...

      You speak as if neither the schools or the corporations are composed of people.

      You speak as if you believe the UNEDUCATED Yokel can shovel manure out of his neighbors barn long enough to get a down payment on a horse and plow and file a claim for free land to start his own farm.

      We educate for civilization, for society, and for individual well being.
      And corporations are part of all that. As are farmers.

      Can you really say the current methodology works so well that it needs no improvement?
      Can you really suggest that this medium you are staring at right this instant has no applicability to the future of education?

      Local control and state control has Texas teaching creationism. (And not merely mentioning it in passing, as one of a hundred false theories of the past).

      Just you TRY to get anything into a curriculum at any public school. It is one landmine after another all guarded by gate keepers with their finger on the trigger.

      Surely a wide availability of courseware with a rating system would serve just as well.
      And surely on-screen interaction with other students can socialize children just as well as dodgeball and school lock downs. Surely you could come up with a course of study about the evils of corporations and how they should be shunned, and how working for any of them destroys the soul.

      Those courses that work and serve a broad purpose would survive. Others would fail into oblivion.

      Gates might not be on the perfect path, but at least he dares break lockstep once in a while.
       

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Open4D on Wednesday February 19 2014, @11:25AM

        by Open4D (371) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @11:25AM (#2336) Journal

        Local control and state control has Texas teaching creationism. (And not merely mentioning it in passing, as one of a hundred false theories of the past).

        Interesting. Corporate influence worries me, but not nearly as much as religious influence.

        Here's a blog post about "33 jaw-droppingly bad multiple-choice questions from Accelerated Christian Education [wordpress.com]" (Don't forget to read the "Think this doesn't affect you?" section.)

        In the UK, the two biggest parties both seem intent on massively increasing the number of state-funded religious schools and giving them a great deal of independence. My education was in officially Christian schools but it was survivable. (I'm 33 years old.) The new places springing up are more like Islamic madrassas [blogspot.com], and the Christian equivalent, plus Sikh, Jewish, etc..

        For more on the UK situation, further reading is here: 1 [educationengland.org.uk], 2 [humanism.org.uk], 3 [secularism.org.uk]

        • (Score: 1) by slartibartfastatp on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:31PM

          by slartibartfastatp (588) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:31PM (#2638) Journal

          THIS is the kind of comment I liked about slashdot, and that's why I came to soylentnews!

          Thank you, sir!

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:19PM

      by VLM (445) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:19PM (#1976)

      If the jobs are disappearing more rapidly than the education is declining its not so big of a deal.
      As the economy continues its permanent decline, you need merely balance the rates.
      For example we currently graduate far too many qualified STEM grads for the small and shrinking number of available jobs. As long as the number of grads shrinks more slowly than the number of jobs, no problemo.

      The other issue is as anyone who's ever worked in a giant corporation knows, the noise from the top has basically zero impact on the ground dozens of levels away. Some ceremonial motions will be gone thru at most. So I've got family in public education and they've lived thru numerous low impact management fads, much as I have in the private sector. The article even alludes to it by mentioning no involvement by anyone other than corporations and PHD holders, certainly no one involved in education or teaching. Its highly likely it'll have no impact whatsoever on "boots on the ground". Here's today's math problem. Does the direction of a vector matter if the magnitude is almost zero?

      Also don't confuse PR and politics. Anything bad that happens to a supporter will of course retroactively be defined as an inevitable result of what was supported by the enemies of the supporter and vice versa. The most likely "effect" will merely be politically polarizing regardless of whatever the true effect might be. Lets say superintendent XYZ is incompetent and supports side A (doesn't matter which). All this means is opponents will blame side A for his incompetence. What he chose doesn't actually matter, he could have been proposing druidism for all it matters.

      So you've got folks worried about a situation that doesn't matter, that by definition will be ineffective WRT the "problem", but might be usable as a highly abstract political bludgeoning weapon. I'm not overly impressed with the whole psuedo-debate.

      As a divide and conqueror strategy its been fairly effective.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:32PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:32PM (#1987)

      Would you care to enlighten us about when these Good Old Days were?

      Bear in mind that throughout most of human history the majority of children have received no formal education whatsoever, and large swaths of the population were completely illiterate and innumerate (sometimes intentionally so, since smart people can be dangerous).

      Even if you limit yourself to non-slaves in the US, the history remains atrocious: In the 1800's, kids regularly dropped out of school as soon as they could be useful on the farm. In the early 1900's, kids dropped out of school as soon as they could be put to work in factories. By the 1950's, schools had become propaganda outlets for the military, anti-Communists in government, and major corporations. And by the 1980's, they were seen as a marketing platform, culminating with Channel 1 News forcing kids to watch commercials.

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by eravnrekaree on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:56AM

        by eravnrekaree (555) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:56AM (#2174)

        Today there is concern that Communist propoganda is found in the curriculum, just not stated as such but worked in a subtle manner. Do not underestimate the evil of communism nor the influence of it in the US, which instead of being overt has moved into more of a covert program. They work in a gradual manner under the title Liberal, to advocate an ever expanding role of government in the lives of the people and how wonderful and great the government is and how we must have it control more and more of our lives to protect us and so on.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:12PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:12PM (#2552)

          thanks for the laugh McCarthy

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by biff on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:37PM

      by biff (170) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:37PM (#1989)

      I think you're right, and that hiring practices are a huge factor in decreasing educational standards. High school and college educations have transitioned from luxuries into virtual requirements to land a desirable job. So high schools and colleges lower the bar to allow more of their students to get over it. "Well, hell, why shouldn't a college education be a minimum requirement for entry level positions at that rate?" businesses reason.

      Suddenly, if you're an educational institution that actually wants to raise your standards, you're competing poorly against all the other institutions that won't. Voila, the big-boxing of education.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by jelizondo on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:44AM

        by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:44AM (#2130) Journal

        Let me tell you about desirable jobs just next door, i.e., in Mexico

        For example. in order to be hired as a front desk clerk at a hotel in a resort city, you need to speak, at least passably English, and have a degree (in hotel management, business administration, etc.) in order to earn 8 to 10 thousand pesos a month. Consider that a small apartment (750 sq ft) will set you back 4 to 5 thousand pesos and you can imagine how great that salary is. But without the degree and the second language, you can't aspire to the job.

        Want to be a teller in a supermarket? A High-school dimloma will get you hired and let you earn 5 to 6 thousand pesos a month; not enough to pay rent for a half-decent apartment.

        On a higher order, with the recent law changes, in order to get a job as a judge, you are now required to have at least a masters' and preferably, a Ph.D. in law.

        Is this progress? Next thing you know it will take a degree to get a job flipping burgers...

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:48PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:48PM (#2539)

          1 peso = 0,05 euro
          750 sq ft = 70 sq meter

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by dry on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:42PM

      by dry (223) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:42PM (#1992) Journal

      At one time for much of the population school was the beginning of learning a trade, carpenter, plumber, electrician etc. This created productive independent citizens unlike the degree path of ending up in massive debt and slaving for a faceless corporation with people who don't even have time for being involved with society. Of course much of this is by design, the new American way is to have an apathetic population rather then an independent involved citizenry.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by KibiByte on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:31PM

      by KibiByte (1024) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:31PM (#2019)

      " free job training programs for corporations, in other words"

      Here in California, you pay your employees for training. If not, you get a fat lawsuit like what I'm pursuing against A&D electronics in Ontario/Riverside.

      See, here, we have a progressive mentality. Sure we screw up on a lot of stuff, but the majority of which the country follows comes from or stems from us.

      --
      The One True Unit UID
    • (Score: 1) by demonlapin on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:34PM

      by demonlapin (925) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:34PM (#2020) Journal
      Public education reasonably ought to serve primarily to make sure that we don't waste human capital. Beyond that, it's silly: why do we keep people in school who clearly do not want to be there nor have anything to contribute? It's one of the worst correlation/causation confusions out there. Sure, more educated people do better on just about every measure, but it's not the possession of a piece of paper that makes it so. It's that they're generally smarter, better adjusted, and from more stable environments.
      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by unitron on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:42PM

        by unitron (70) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:42PM (#2026) Journal

        Public education exists (and is financed by property taxes) to protect property values by keeping the place from filling up with illiterates and by making neighborhoods more attractive to buyers "because there are good schools nearby".

        --
        something something Slashcott something something Beta something something
        • (Score: 1) by demonlapin on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:22AM

          by demonlapin (925) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:22AM (#2118) Journal
          If you swapped the student body of, say, Cal State - San Bernardino with Harvard's, keeping faculty the same, would you expect that Harvard degrees would command the same respect they do now?
          • (Score: 1) by unitron on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:56AM

            by unitron (70) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:56AM (#2157) Journal

            By public education, I mean grades 1-12.

            And I don't know enough about either student body or university to answer your question, the relevance of which to what I said escapes me.

            --
            something something Slashcott something something Beta something something
            • (Score: 1) by demonlapin on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:01PM

              by demonlapin (925) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:01PM (#2354) Journal
              Now you're being deliberately obtuse. Harvard is widely recognized as one of the world's beat universities, and CSU-SB is the sort of school most people have never heard of. That's really all you need to know. The problem at a university level is the same as the problem at the high school level: are good schools good because of what they do (quality of teaching) or because of who their students are (quality of raw material)?

              Not everyone is capable of obtaining a meaningful high school diploma. The difference between a "good" school system and a "bad" school system largely boils down to how many of the students are there to learn, and how many are being warehoused against their will. Schools can allow people to reach their maximum potential, but what they are really bad at doing is figuring out when that maximum potential has been reached and then getting them out the door and into doing something productive.
              • (Score: 1) by unitron on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:52AM

                by unitron (70) on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:52AM (#3094) Journal

                Young families buy houses because they're near good elementary schools, not because they're near good universities.

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                • (Score: 1) by demonlapin on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:06AM

                  by demonlapin (925) on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:06AM (#3152) Journal
                  You're ignoring what makes them good: they exclude the idiots who aren't there to learn. If you swapped the student bodies of the public schools in the worst part of New York with those of the public schools in the richest NYC suburbs, what do you think would happen? Keep funding and the teachers exactly the same.
              • (Score: 1) by unitron on Thursday February 20 2014, @05:01AM

                by unitron (70) on Thursday February 20 2014, @05:01AM (#3185) Journal

                Are you seriously giving me grief for not being familiar enough with CSU-SB to know that most people have never heard of it?

                --
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    • (Score: 5, Informative) by slash2phar on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:03AM

      by slash2phar (623) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:03AM (#2038)

      None of the referenced articles actually contain examples of the claim that "Pearson included corporate logos and promotional materials inside its test booklets". I eventually found the source here [nypost.com].

      "Teachers and students said yesterday's multiple-choice section of the eighth-grade tests name-dropped at least a handful of companies or products - including Mug Root Beer, LEGO and that company's smart robots, Mindstorms."

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Fluffeh on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:39PM

    by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:39PM (#1943) Journal

    While I agree that a non-government/public/etc body shouldn't be setting the rules for education, surely it's not a bad thing that these folks are out there actually doing a better job (in many places) than those who were given the task previously.

    I don't think this argument should be about "Who has control" - that's pretty simple, let the likes of the Gates Foundation help as long as they play in the rules - but at the same time, learn what they are doing differently so that it can be incorporated into the normal classroom for everyone else.

    • (Score: 1) by janrinok on Wednesday February 19 2014, @10:37AM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 19 2014, @10:37AM (#2317) Journal

      I'm afraid I don't agree with you. Business, as well as religion and politics, should not be involved with education. Of course, you can teach about business, religion and politics, but any direct involvement will likely result in a bias in what the student learns. Do you not think if Bill and Melinda are sponsoring education they will not be pushing for Microsoft products in schools? What should be taught is computing skills, use of a word processor or spreadsheet, programming etc but not any particular brand or computer language. As a European, I am horrified by the influence that religion (specifically Christianity) has in some US states. As a religion, Christianity is fine, but the basics of all religions should be taught and the student can then make an informed decision based on sensible reasoning - he or she should not to be led by the nose along any one path.

      Would you be happy if only the policies of one specific political party were spoon-fed to your children? Do you think that it would be good for the country's future?

      --
      I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
      • (Score: 1) by Thexalon on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:03PM

        by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:03PM (#2402)

        the basics of all religions should be taught

        There isn't really time to do that: The largest 5-10 religions, as well as atheism, could be covered, but there are approximately 4300 [adherents.com] religious classifications in existence, and there would be a lot of controversy if you left something out, and even more controversy if something really far out of the mainstream was put in. Who's to say that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is in but the Raelians are out? How about the Moonies, Scientologists, Quakers, and Mormons? Does New Age qualify as a religion? Is Santeria a separate religion or merely something to be included under Catholicism? I for one don't want government and public school systems to be put in the position of making decisions like this.

        Would you be happy if only the policies of one specific political party were spoon-fed to your children?

        I don't, but there are plenty of die-hard believers in a particular political party that would love to make sure that all children are indoctrinated to believe that that political party is good and all others are bad.

        --
        The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
        • (Score: 1) by janrinok on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:59PM

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:59PM (#2453) Journal

          In some European countries, the amount of time spent teaching a specific religion is (very roughly) proportional to the number of adherents worldwide (where known). A proportion of religious instruction is spent on teaching 'religion' in general without looking at any particular religion. This seems to be to be a fair distribution of time.

          This way proponents of, say, Divine Creationism, do not get the chance to persuade young (and relatively easily persuaded) students of their particular belief to the detriment of any other.

          As for your comment on political party support in education, I think that we are both arguing on the same side - perhaps I misunderstood something earlier. There should, in my opinion, be NO political left- or right-wing bias in education.

          --
          I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
          • (Score: 1) by Thexalon on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:31PM

            by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:31PM (#2572)

            In the US, the problem is that religious instruction varies between:
            A. Steering completely clear of it and trying to pretend it doesn't exist or isn't important.
            B. Teaching fundamentalist Christianity, complete with young-Earth Creationism.

            Very rarely, you'll get a history or geography teacher that will do brief mentions of "This is what the Puritans of Massachusetts believed" or "This is why Mecca is important". What there definitely isn't in most American high schools is extensive and in-depth examination of the history, meaning, and belief structures of even the 5 largest world religions, because both fundamentalist Christians and atheists would be outraged and vocal about it.

            And yes, we're mostly on the same side about this.

            --
            The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by r00t on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:42PM

    by r00t (1349) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:42PM (#1948)

    B&M invested $218M into polio immunizations worldwide, great, but then dumped millions (~$400M) into their oil magnate buddies who blanket some of the same areas with pollution levels unheard of in the US or UK. Funny how you can be "worried" about protecting kids against Polio, but then fund the refineries polluting the air these same kids breathe: http://www.latimes.com/news/la-na-gatesx07jan07,0, 2533850.story [latimes.com]

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Zwerg_Sense on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:50PM

    by Zwerg_Sense (927) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:50PM (#1951)

    When discretionary income of the average citizen is decreasing until there is little to no buying power from consumers left - How can corporates generate Shareholder value - how will corporates find new markets?
    (yeah go international, but what after that converges into the same dilemma?)

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by GeminiDomino on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:59PM

      by GeminiDomino (661) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:59PM (#1958)

      They'll have theirs by then, so why should they care?

      I'm still not sure if a sickening lack of foresight is an inborn trait, or if it's got its own coursework in the MBA track...

      --
      "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by gallondr00nk on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:44PM

      by gallondr00nk (392) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:44PM (#1996)

      When discretionary income of the average citizen is decreasing until there is little to no buying power from consumers left - How can corporates generate Shareholder value - how will corporates find new markets?

      Drifting off topic for a second, the answer to stagnant wages for the last thirty years has been increased household debt. In 1985, household debt was was about 40% of GDP, in 2008 it had accelerated to nearly 90%, and still hovers around that level.

      As for TFA, like No Child Left Behind, the purpose of these new standards seems to be that schools dramatically fail them. After that, little seems to be done to redress the balance. Education officials seem to not know the difference between identifying a failure and addressing it.

      Even then, they often have completely the wrong idea about how to remedy the situation. For example these schools in LA [vice.com] that are spending $1 billion on iPads when their buildings are more or less disintegrating.

      If I were being cynical, I would suggest that these initiatives are helping manufacture an education crisis, perhaps for the purpose of for-profit organisations swooping in to "improve" the failing state education system. Local government seems in such bad shape across so much of the US that it's hardly surprising that standards are low, yet somehow we miss that part and leap straight for the market solution.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Jameso_ on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:57PM

    by Jameso_ (252) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:57PM (#1956)

    Does anyone else remember it?

    When I was in high school (Seattle area public school, about 15 years ago), time was allocated during class to watch it, which included multiple commercial breaks. Even at that age I found it kind of unsettling to be watching commercials in a classroom setting. I can only hope I'm not the only one.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by SyntaxError on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:27PM

      by SyntaxError (1577) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:27PM (#1983)

      I had to sit through Channel One news as well. They had us vote on which color M&M to add.

    • (Score: 1) by demonlapin on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:38PM

      by demonlapin (925) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:38PM (#2025) Journal
      Anderson Cooper's beginnings.

      The only thing I can clearly remember from perhaps three years of Channel One was this horrible little piece on Poison's Every Rose Has Its Thorn. They stuck a mic in front of some redneck dude who promptly intoned, "Well, Ah thank it's a vary politicul sawng." (I'm a native Southerner, and his speech pattern stuck out to me.)
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by m on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:52AM

      by m (1741) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:52AM (#2173)

      Yep, I remember being subjected to that in the zoned public high school. Celebrity gossip "news" interspersed with copious ads for junk foods. If you wanted a dark satire of the very worst of commercialized television, you couldn't have done much better. Fortunately, when I was able to transfer to the public magnet school where the teachers had more control over classroom activities, "study hall" didn't mean "mandatory advertising indoctrination hour." Unfortunately, all the students in the zoned school --- some of whom might have viewed the broadcasts as something other than a cruel mockery of humankind --- were still subjected to it (and rewarded the corporate sponsors with their loyalty).

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Zoot on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:59PM

    by Zoot (679) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:59PM (#1959)

    Really they need to stop granting Phd's in Education I think.

    Our 1st grader's "Reading Street" system of books is full of meta-rubbish telling you all about the system, and there's an excessive amount of stuff like explaining the genre of the current story ("Realistic Fiction", etc.) Does a 1st grader really have to care how some academics classify a story?

    And after the stories they have a set of "Critical Thinking" questions which are very often ludicrously bad.

    And yeah, there are "Meet the Author" sections which prominently advertise the author or illustrator's other works.

    They're colorful, there's good variety, but overall they're way too full of themselves and if you took out the meta-educational rubbish they'd be about half their current length.

    Z.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by andrew on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:31PM

    by andrew (755) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:31PM (#1985)

    This brings to mind Target Corporation's school library renovations. 100% marketing and advertising under the guise of philanthropy. Target gets their logo up in a place where impressionable young minds will see it everyday in an attempt to turn them into a lifetime customer.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:49PM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:49PM (#1998) Journal

    The Common Core seems like another round of the culture wars that have been going on my whole life. Standards and testing are hotly contested because whoever controls them presumably controls funding for educators, a reliable voting block for one side of the political spectrum, and secondarily, can shape the minds of the next generation of voters. So we've been treated to endless rounds of school voucher proposals, No Child Left Behind, and now the Common Core. Back and forth. The discourse has withered to a binary choice between standardized testing and the risks of teaching to the test, and a loosey-goosey holistic approach that defies strict measurement and accountability.

    I believe it's the wrong conversation to be having. Our educational approach remains an essentially 19th century one (and perhaps older--I'm not a historian of pedagogy) whereby you learn English in English class, Math in Math class, Science in Science class, etc. But that seems ill-suited to our world. A few years ago I read an article [nytimes.com] about an experimental school in Gramercy in Manhattan that uses a project- and guided-play based approach to teaching students required concepts on the general philosophy that humans remember material in context and really achieve mastery when they use it in that context. The idea quite resonates with me, and I found I was jealous of those kids who have the opportunity to learn this way. Redesigning our education along these lines seems much more productive than rehashing a threadbare debate on testing vs. not testing.

         

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:19AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:19AM (#2046)

      Offtopic but I hate the world holistic. My employer uses it way to much.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Jameso_ on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:52AM

      by Jameso_ (252) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:52AM (#2154)

      I used to think that kind of thing might be a good idea until I attempted to tutor a student who was taking an "integrated math" class at a private school. The book, in an effort to give everything "context," had very poorly defined chapters that were an inscrutable morass of different topics, offering no opportunity to solidify one concept before flitting on to the next. What's more, every single problem in the book was a story problem, often making reference to information from previous problems, in an attempt to form some kind of hypothetical real-world narrative out of the concepts.

      The kid was really struggling, and I tried my best to help him, but to solve even one problem required explaining so many different concepts all at once that it was impossible to find any conceptual grounding. I eventually had to just tell his mother I couldn't help and suggested they talk to the teacher to see if there was anyone at the school who could try to tutor that mess of a class. Honestly, if I had been subjected to a class like that, I'm certain I would have failed as well.

      In short, I found tutoring to be most effective when a specific concept was outlined that could then be practiced until the student felt confident enough in their grasp of it that they would be emboldened enough to try to apply what they'd learned to something more substantial. Mixing everything up can be fun for the kids who already get it, but if someone is struggling, bombarding them with constantly changing topics just causes them to become overwhelmed and shut down completely.

  • (Score: 1) by Khyber on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:55PM

    by Khyber (54) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:55PM (#2000) Journal

    Let's face it. As much as we want to say 'We're #1!' that shit isn't happening for several categories (including at LEAST two in STEM-focused courses.)

    Until we kill private education and force everything to a high-standard gov't mandate, we are under-privileged versus these other countries. We're just dead soldiers to the gov't at this point and time unless we know good tactics and electronic shit to stop the 'enemy,' just like our current enemy already knows.

    Don't be naive. If you can think of it, our military already has it. Think past yourself to win.

    --
    Destroying Semiconductors With Style Since 2008, and scaring you ill-educated fools since 2013.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:59PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:59PM (#2004)

      Kill private education? ...Please explain

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Blackmoore on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:56PM

    by Blackmoore (57) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:56PM (#2001) Journal

    Look, if you know anyone who teaches the Common core isn't about teaching. it's about selling standardized testing.

    and guess what - the reinforcement of tests takes away time to teach the subject; and are not a good indicator of whether or not the student understands the subject.

    But it gives the district a nice club to eliminate teachers, and teachers unions. terribly convenient that.

    There are more and more people with college degrees - who can't find work in their field of study. There's a lot of blame to go around for that; but it really comes down to "who's gonna pay you to do.. that?"

    and perhaps we need to take a look and start demanding some way to help these students set up their own shops - and out of minimum wage hell. You can't trust corporations to provide jobs. Even research is hard to come by. that education was not a waste - but it is being wasted every day that they cant do whatever it was.

    and yes - too many kids are going to college. not enough kids are sent to trade schools. that's a problem with student COUNSELING; not the classes being taught.

    If my clothes don't fit right I can either yell at the manufacturer or I can go to a tailor. I seem to think that the tailor might get it right. I wouldn't expect a manufacturer to bother.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Khyber on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:20PM

    by Khyber (54) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:20PM (#2011) Journal

    "the Common Core is a scary new concept that takes power away from state and local school governance, the real danger is allowing corporate enterprises to have so much control over our classrooms."

    I remember seeing within the past two weeks a post of some sorts on another site from a parent that was pissed at the golden arches being used as a corporate promotional tool.

    Quite honestly, I'd be pissed, too. Not only from a parent standpoint, but from a business owner standpoint. This provides extremely unfair impressionable advantage upon our children with regards to knowing one sign versus another in regards to food advertising.

    This should simply not be allowed. No McDonalds, Burger King, Whataburger, In-N-Out, or any fast food place proven to be bad for our health should be allowed to advertise in our schools. PERIOD. Nor their parent companies (like Taco Bell owns Pepsi.)

    To do so is the fault of the parents, and in my opinion, they should be charged with criminal neglect if they allow their children to eat this garbage more than once a week. If they can afford this, they can afford to make a more nutritional meal for their children. Damn the excuse "I don't have time" because if you truly didn't have time you shouldn't have had a child to feed, and thus you failed in practicing logical birth control, plus likely you didn't think in the first place.

    --
    Destroying Semiconductors With Style Since 2008, and scaring you ill-educated fools since 2013.
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Sir William on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:49AM

      by Sir William (173) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:49AM (#2152)

      The common core was developed by a cooperative of the states. You may make the argument that it takes away local control, but not state control as the states developed it and each state chooses to adopt it or not.

      In a separate issue is local control good? Do we have local control of medical standards or do we let people who study medicine and are educated about the field make decisions about what is best practice.

    • (Score: 1) by dmc on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:10AM

      by dmc (188) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:10AM (#2177)

      "
      Damn the excuse "I don't have time" because if you truly didn't have time you shouldn't have had a child to feed, and thus you failed in practicing logical birth control, plus likely you didn't think in the first place.
      "

      While I agree with the idealistic animosity of much/all of your comment, I'll criticize. Short of some fascist/tyrannical dream including total state control of reproduction, your sentiment will never get anybody anywhere. People failing logical birth control is how humanity progresses through time. It'd be wonderful if it wasn't the case. It is worthwhile to calmly do your best to nudge things toward it not being the case. But it's the case. I suggest that if you really want to see the world become a better place, you come to terms with it, instead of just damning it for all the good that will do anyone. While I certainly don't have the answers, I'm quite certain your attitude of damnation isn't going to get anything improved either.

    • (Score: 1) by nukkel on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:21AM

      by nukkel (168) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:21AM (#2181)

      Most people hate to think, so yeah.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Tangaroa on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:12AM

    by Tangaroa (682) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:12AM (#2044) Homepage

    Ana Marie Cox has a fascinating ability to hold two contradictory items in her head at the same time. She starts off saying that nobody has heard of Common Core, then spends three flag-waving paragraphs attacking the Republicans, half of the electorate, who have been complaining about Common Core for years. Later she says that Common Core is not a federal program. It's just that the DOE "has promoted it heavily" and "the Obama administration has essentially drafted it as a de facto set of official national standards." By the same logic, the Iraq War was not a federal program. It was formulated and promoted by the Project For a New American Century, a nonprofit organization; the Department of State promoted it heavily; and the Bush administration essentially drafted it as a de facto strategic policy.

    The Republican criticism has been largely unconvincing, mostly in the form of blaming Common Core for any badly written assignment from any classroom [pjmedia.com] without even attempting to show a relationship between the assignment and whatever the Common Core standards are. Whereever they may have a point is where Cox attacks hardest with mockery and denial. Cox laughs away, as "wistful steampunk dystopia" about "stormtroopers" and "biomechanical monitoring", reports that opponents of government policy are being banned from school board meetings [michellemalkin.com] and biometric scanning of students was pioneered by a school district in Florida at the request of a capitalist business [michellemalkin.com]. If these reports came from anyone other than Michelle Malkin the Republican, Cox might be promoting them herself.

    Part of the Common Core standards (allegedly) is that states must develop compatible and highly detailed databases of student information. [edweek.org] While the information may today be private and separate, there are plenty of corrupting influences who would want the information and may bend the rules to get it: advertisers, credit reporting agencies, background check companies that build psych profiles of job candidates for employers, the police, foreign intelligence agencies. However, Cox assures us it is "Tea Party paranoia" to worry about the corrupting influences of capitalism or the feds spying on the public.

    When Cox finally does declare that there is one politically acceptable reason to oppose Common Core, it is this: people have found a way to make money off a government program by providing desired services to the government. People can write textbooks that meet the new standards. People can automate the correction of standardized tests. They can sell these services to school districts. That to Cox is too much capitalist influence in education, but it is not capitalist influence in education for Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch to develop the school curriculum and use the wealth earned from their businesses to pay school districts to implement it.

    All that Cox accomplishes in the article is calling Common Core names: "capitalist", "outsourcing". This namecalling marks Common Core as the enemy so that it is now politically correct to oppose Common Core without worrying that one might be condemned as a Republican and Tea Partier and then become ostracised from one's favoured social circles. Like in the Republican complaints, there's not much in the way of analysis.

    So... does anybody out there know what the Common Core standards actually are?

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Blackmoore on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:48AM

      by Blackmoore (57) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:48AM (#2106) Journal
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by theluggage on Wednesday February 19 2014, @10:06AM

      by theluggage (1797) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @10:06AM (#2299)

      So... does anybody out there know what the Common Core standards actually are?

      A set of definitions of what should be taught in grades K-12.

      From the math standards, here are the Standards for Mathematical Practice [corestandards.org] that describe the overarching goals, and here is an example of some specific content specification [corestandards.org]. Both aspects are important. You can navigate to the rest of the standards from there.

      Such standards are not new. Prior to the CCSS every state would have their own document serving the same purpose as the 'content specifications' which would form the basis for their own compulsory state tests.

      The 'Standards for Mathematical Practice' are a departure from typical state standards - and they are anything but standardized-test-friendly!

      Standardised testing is not new.
      Outsourcing testing to large publishers is not new.
      Judging both students and teachers simplistically based on their students' scores in standardized tests is not new.
      At worst, the standards create a 'single market' for this sort of thing and allows 'standardization' of tests country-wide rather than state-wide.

      NB: most 'standardization' is based on statistical models that assume there exists a 1-dimensional measure of 'ability' in the subject at hand, that all the questions on the test measure. Discuss.