Wellington, kan. -- the seeds of rebellion are planted in the classroom and grow in conversations between students and their parents' kitchens and living rooms.
It came to a head in January when Collin Winter, a 14-year-old eighth grader from McPherson, kan., joined a strike. High school students staged a sit-in in this small town near Wellington. Their parents organized in the living room, the church, and the back room of the mechanic shop, and attended the school board meeting en masse. Political slogans were nowhere to be seen in the courtyards of houses in the area, but now suddenly hand-made slogans with scarlet slashes began to appear.
Silicon valley is coming to small-town schools in Kansas -- and it's not going well.
I just want to get my Chromebook back and tell them I'm done, said Kallee Forslund, 16. She is a tenth grader in Wellington.
Eight months ago, public schools near wichita launched a web-based platform and curriculum from Summit Learning. The silicon valley-based project promotes an educational approach called "personalized learning," which USES online tools to customize education. The platform provided by pinnacle was developed by Facebook engineers with funding from Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician.
八个月前，威奇托附近的公立学校推出了来自“巅峰学习”(Summit Learning)的一个基于网络的平台和课程计划。这个总部在硅谷的项目推广一种名为“个性化学习”的教育方法，用在线工具来定制教育。巅峰提供的这个平台由Facebook的工程师开发，其资金来自马克·扎克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg)和他的妻子、儿科医生普莉希拉·陈(Priscilla Chan)。
The change was initially accepted by many families in small-town Kansas, who have been plagued by underfunded public schools and deteriorating test scores. In the peak program, students spend most of their time on laptops, taking lesson plans and quizzes online and working at their own pace. Teachers only assist students by conducting tutorial activities and directing specific subjects. The system is free for schools. But laptops usually need to be bought separately.
Then, some students began experiencing headaches and hand cramps. Some said they felt more anxious. One child had recurring seizures, and another asked to bring her father's hunting ear muffs to class to block out the voices of her classmates, who now do most of their homework alone.
We're using computers to teach, and the kids are all zombies, said Tyson Koenig, the director of a factory in McPherson. He went to see his son's fourth grade class. He took his 10-year-old out of school last October.
In a school district survey of parents of McPherson high school students released this month, 77 percent of respondents said they would prefer their children not be in classes that use the peak. More than 80 percent said their children expressed concern about the platform.
Change rarely comes without a few nails in the door, said Gordon Mohn, Mr. McPherson's education chief. "Students are becoming autonomous learners and showing greater autonomy in their learning activities," he added.
The vast majority of our parents are happy with the program, said John Buckendorf, principal of Wellington high school.
The Kansas boycott is just one of a growing number of people across the country who oppose the summit. Peaking began testing its system in public schools four years ago and is now used by about 380 schools, involving 74,000 students. In November, students went on strike after some brooklyn high schools used the platform. In Indiana, Pennsylvania, the school board scaled back the peak after an Indiana University of Pennsylvania survey found that 70 percent of students wanted to eliminate it or make it optional, and voted this month on whether to end the program. In Cheshire, Connecticut, the project was withdrawn after protests in 2017.
全国范围内有越来越多的人反对巅峰，堪萨斯州的抵制只是其中之一。巅峰于四年前开始在公立学校试用其系统，目前被大约380所学校使用，涉及7.4万名学生。去年11月，一些布鲁克林的高中使用巅峰平台后，学生们举行了罢课。在宾夕法尼亚的印第安纳，宾夕法尼亚印第安纳大学(Indiana University of Pennsylvania)一项调查发现，70%的学生希望取消巅峰，或让其成为可选项目，随后学校董事会缩减了其规模，并于本月投票决定是否终止该项目。在康涅狄格州的柴郡，该项目在2017年遭抗议后被撤销。
When something is bothering them, the kids usually get used to it, the parents get used to it, and then they get over it, said Mary Burnham, who has two grandchildren at the Cheshire school and started a petition to stop using the peak. "But no one is used to this."
Despite the reluctance of many in the tech world to use electronics and software at home and the race to send their children to schools where technology is not allowed, silicon valley has been trying for years to reshape American education in its own image. The pinnacle has been one of the movement's frontiers, but the revolt has raised questions about the heavy reliance of public schools on technology.
For years, education experts have debated the merits of autonomous online learning versus traditional teacher-led classrooms. Supporters say programs like summit provide children with high-quality classes and teachers, especially in underserved towns. Skeptics worry that too much screen time could cause students to miss important interpersonal lessons.
John Pane, a senior scientist at the RAND Corporation, has studied programs that use digital tools to customize learning. He says the field is still in its infancy. "There's not enough research," he said.
兰德公司(RAND Corporation)的资深科学家约翰·潘(John Pane)研究过使用数字工具定制学习的项目。他说，这个领域仍处于起步阶段。“没有足够的研究，”他说。
Summit's chief executive, Diane Tavenner, a former teacher, founded a series of public charter schools called summit public schools in 2003 and developed software for the classroom that allowed students to "unleash their inner power." The resulting peak learning program is growing into a new nonprofit organization called TLP education. Tavenner says the protests in Kansas are mainly about conservatism.
Some people don't want to change. They like it the way it is, she said. "People who don't like peaks are also people who have been vocal in their opposition to change throughout the process."
In 2016, peak paid the Harvard Center for Education Policy Research to design a study, then decided not to participate in it. Tom Kane, a harvard professor who prepared the review, said he was reluctant to speak out against pinnacle because many of the educational programs are funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Zuckerberg and Chan charity.
2016年，巅峰花钱请哈佛大学教育政策研究中心(Harvard Center for Education Policy Research)设计一项研究，之后又决定不参与它。筹备这项评估的哈佛大学教授汤姆·凯恩(Tom Kane)说，他不太情愿公开反对巅峰，因为很多教育项目都是由扎克伯格和陈的慈善组织“陈-扎克伯格行动”(Chan Zuckerberg Initiative)资助的。
Zuckerberg backed peak in 2014 and assigned five Facebook engineers to develop the software. In 2015, he wrote that pinnacle's programs help "meet the individual needs and interests of students," and that technology "frees up time for teachers to do what they do best -- mentor students." Since 2016, the chan zuckerberg initiative has pledged $99.1 million to summit.
In a statement, Abby Lunardini, chief communications officer for the chan zuckerberg initiative, said: "we take the issues raised very seriously, and pinnacle has worked with school leaders and local parents to address them." She added that many schools that use peak "love and support the program."
Wellington (8, 000) and McPherson (13, 000) in central Kansas best illustrate the response to the peak. The towns are surrounded by wheat fields and factories. Residents work on farms, at nearby oil refineries or in aircraft parts factories.
In 2015, Kansas announced that it would support "moonshot" initiatives like "personalized learning" in its education system. Two years later, it chose the "astronauts" in the school district, including McPherson and Wellington. When parents receive brochures promising "personalized learning", many are thrilled. The school district director chose the top.
We want every child to have a level playing field, said Brian Kynaston, a macpherson dentist and school trustee.
He said he liked the lessons at the top. His 14-year-old daughter, Kelcie, said she felt a sense of autonomy. "People are too quick to jump to conclusions," he said.
You want your kids to be innovators, says koenig, the factory's director. You want them to be at the forefront of the future."
(if you are a parent, teacher or manager who has experience with peak learning and would like to discuss it with us, click here to contact us.)
At the start of the school year, children were given laptops to use the top software and lessons. In class, they sit in front of the computer to study math, English, history and other subjects. The teacher told the students that their role now was that of a mentor.
Parents of students with special needs immediately noticed the problem. Amy Jackson's daughter, Megan, 12, has epilepsy, and her neurologist advised her to limit screen time to 30 minutes a day to reduce seizures. Megan has had seizures several times a day since the school started using peak.
Peaking usually leads students to click on links to the open web, and in September, some students stumbled upon problematic content while studying on the platform.
In a course on paleolithic history, peak provides a link to an article in the UK's Daily Mail that shows pornographic advertisements for bikini-clad women. Two parents said their children were directed to a Christian conversion website to look up the ten commandments.
Mr Tavenner says that building the course through the open Internet means that mailonline articles are also optional in the programme. "The daily mail articles are not demanding reading standards," she said. She also said that, as far as she knew, the top classes did not direct students to Christian conversion sites.
Teachers across the country are divided over the summit. Some said it freed them from making lesson plans and grading papers, giving them more time to tutor alone. Others say it makes them bystanders. Some parents said they were concerned about the privacy of their children's data.
The peak requires a lot of personal information about each student and plans to track them throughout the university and beyond, said Leonie Haimson, co-chair of the Parent Coalition for student Privacy, a national organization.
“巅峰要求掌握每个学生的大量个人信息，并计划在整个大学乃至大学毕业后追踪他们，”全国组织学生隐私家长联盟(Parent Coalition for student Privacy)的联合主席莱奥妮·海姆森(Leonie Haimson)说。
Summit means compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.
巅峰表示遵守了《儿童在线隐私保护法》(Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act)。
By winter, many macpherson and Wellington students had had enough. Although the peak curriculum requires schools to promise to allow students to meet with their teachers for at least 10 minutes a week, some children say the meetings were only about two minutes long, or did not take place at all.
Myriland French, 16, a student at Wellington high school, said her eyes were tired and she missed talking to her teachers and classmates in class. "Everyone is under more pressure now," she said.
Collin Winter, an eighth grader in McPherson county, said he joined about 50 other students in the January strike. "I was a little scared," he said of the involvement. "But I still feel good about doing something."
On a recent evening in Wellington, 12 parents and students held an organizational meeting in the back room of local parent Tom Henning's mechanic shop. Chris Smalley, a mechanic with two children, ages 13 and 16, attended the meeting. Smalley had been putting up increasingly large yard signs in front of his house, although he knew zuckerberg was unlikely to drive by and see them. The sign was red, with a slash in the middle of the word "peak."
近日在威灵顿的一个晚上，12名家长和学生在当地家长汤姆·亨宁(Tom Henning)的机修行里屋召开了组织会议。有13岁和16岁两个孩子的机械师克里斯·斯莫利(Chris Smalley)参加了会议。斯莫利此前在家门前打出了越来越大的庭院标语，尽管他知道扎克伯格不大可能会开车经过看到它们。标牌是红色的，“巅峰”一词中间划了道斜线。
It sounded good, the way they were selling us, smalley said. "That's the worst lemon we've ever bought."
Deanna Garver, the church secretary, whose sons are in second and eighth grade, also has a yard sign. It said, "don't go crazy following the peak."
More than a dozen Wellington parents pulled their children out of public schools after the fall semester, according to city council member Kevin Dodds. In McPherson, Mr. Koenig and his wife, Meggan, used money they had saved for a refurbished kitchen and a vacation to send their children to a Catholic school.
We're not Catholic, Mrs. Koenig said. "But we just think it's easier to talk over dinner about what they learned in religious classes than what they learned at the top."
Nearly 40 more families plan to take their children out of public schools this summer, dodds said.
We're in the middle of nowhere, he said. "So use us as guinea pigs."