On Wednesday, March 13, 2019 in the Senate Education Committee, two public education advocates from both ends of the political spectrum stood in opposition to SB 226 by Sen. Brandes which seeks to expand the unproven, undocumented five county Competency Based Education program to all 67 counties. The five year pilot is only two and a half years old and the state mandated annual report contains zero data and no proof of its success. All committee members voted yes. If that doesn’t smell like a horse trade, what does? If we don’t speak against these bad bills, who will? These are times that require us to document and expose.
The Tea Party Network and FL Stop Common Core opposes the expansion in SB 226 of the Mastery/Competency Based Education Pilot Program to all 67 districts, not only because zero data exists showing its effectiveness in any of the pilot counties, but also because of the clear evidence that it failed in Lake County, one of the original pilot districts. Lake County experienced a significant drop in graduation rates and the high school participating in the pilot saw its school grade drop from a B to a D. Bill Gates, who funded Lake County’s Mastery/CBE effort has since admitted that, in general, education technology has not improved academic performance.
Data collection, including psychological data, in Mastery/CBE is extensive and occurs without parental consent. Even the FBI is issuing warnings about the privacy dangers related to education technology. Other Mastery/CBE problems include:
- Use of data to pigeonhole children into careers not of their choosing
- Harm to student-teacher interactions
- High cost
- Narrowing of curriculum only to that which can be digitized
- Inability of parent or teacher to actually see the online curriculum or assessments
- Increased screen time for students resulting in harm, especially for younger students
In short, there are numerous empirical and fiscal reasons not to expand the Mastery/CBE learning pilot to all 67 counties at this time, if ever. SB 226 is great for vendors but harmful to students, please vote it down. – Testimony of Catherine Baer
Common Ground stands opposed to the expansion of SB 226 Mastery/Competency Based Learning to all 67 districts for the following reasons:
- There is no evidence that Mastery/CBE works. We are now 2 ½ years into the 5 year pilot and the state mandated official DOE annual reports contain no data or proof of success of this program. This is shocking coming from a DOE that prides itself on being data driven. You must question why they aren’t sharing any real outcomes of this pilot with you.
- We understand this expansion of the Mastery/CBE pilot into all districts is optional however, by accepting the incomplete DOE study, you are granting a misleading and implied endorsement of the program from the state and you. One should question whether a program expanded to all 67 districts can really be called a pilot.”
- Finally, if this is a real pilot, there’s no reason to change its name from Competency to Mastery in the middle of the pilot. That just causes confusion. We know the Foundation hired a marketing research firm to do message testing and that parents preferred the term mastery to competency. In fact, this name change feels more like a product launch.
For these reasons, we oppose SB 226, Mastery/CBE which is nothing more than an incomplete pilot lacking any proof of success. We urge you to stop experimenting on our students and move to complete the pilot with data transparency. Vote no on SB 226 and the expansion of Mastery/Competency Based Education at this time. – Testimony of Marie-Claire Leman