Why Are Common Core Critics Against Personalized Learning?

Matt Barnum at Chalkbeat asks whether opponents of Common Core will “bring down” personalized learning. I certainly hope so.

He writes:

Major funders and the federal education department are promoting the idea.

Teachers are wary. Parents are perplexed.

Criticism is coming from both the political left and right.

It’s not the Common Core, though a few years ago, it would have been. Now, we’re talking about technology-based personalized learning, the latest, hottest, and best-funded idea to dominate the conversation about American schools.

The backlash to the Common Core standards, and their associated tests, was enough to get them revised or replaced in some states. Today, some teachers, political conservatives, and parents are beginning to mobilize against personalized learning, too. And in some cases, the very same people are taking up the fight.

I’m glad he points out that personalized learning has critics on the right and the left and that teachers and parents are skeptical. Unfortunately, he provides a superficial overview of the opposition. This is not a right vs. left issue. Also many on the right and the left oppose personalized learning for the same reasons.

There are several reasons why Common Core opponents are taking up the fight against personalized learning. Here are seven primary reasons (not exhaustive) why I oppose personalized learning.

  1. It’s another dataless, top-down reform, a fad of which there is no evidence showing it will increase student achievement.
  2. Personalized learning is the natural progression of standards-based learning many schools implemented under Common Core which was also a top-down reform.
  3. It reduces the teacher’s role in the classroom to a facilitator.
  4. It gives tech companies far, far too much influence on education.
  5. The data privacy threats under personalized learning are immense. What data is collected? How is that data used? How is it being protected?
  6. The increase in screen time is simply unhealthy for kids, and unlike personalized learning, there is a wealth of evidence that demonstrates that.
  7. Personalized learning contradicts the “science of learning.”

Read the whole article and the comments.

One thought on “Why Are Common Core Critics Against Personalized Learning?

  1. Europe has teachers integrated with personal learning. Taking charge & interacting when beneficial.
    All reforms have trade offs. Wise to be aware of limitations BUT do NOT prevent the opportunity! I wanted personal learning decades ago when I was frustrated with the slow pace of classroom lectures.

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