New York Times Follows the Money Behind Big Education Ideas Back to Silicon Valley

LOOKING BEHIND THE CURTAIN: New York Times education technology reporter Natasha Singer follows the money flowing from Silicon Valley into public education, focusing on how tech giants such as Netflix, Facebook and Salesforce are steering the wheel.

Technology magnates have always tried to shape education, she notes. But this time the barons can now offer funding, subsidies and direct pitches via social media to students, teachers and parents to influence how their ideas are adopted. While interviewing hundreds of government executives, government officials, school administrators, researchers, teachers, parents and students, the New York Times found that there were “relatively few if any checks and balances” on these reform efforts.

Billionaire Marc Benioff, chief executive of Salesforce, is unabashed in his hands-on approach to school reform, telling the New York Times, “This is not just a sea gull strategy where we are dumping a bunch of money and leaving town. We are in the trenches.”

That deep level of involvement does not sit well with Larry Cuban, an emeritus professor of education at Stanford University, who also told the Times: “This end-to-end influence represents an “almost monopolistic approach to education reform.”

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