Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

'Blended Learning' is a Euphemism

by Susan Ohanian

Tracking down Blended Learning just may be the one that drives me over the edge. For starters, Here is a Blended Learner--or maybe a Learner Blending.

People pushing Blended Learning like to use the phrase "personalized instruction" a lot.

Since Learning Accelerator just got a big grant, I decided to take a look. Here's the Board of Directors.

Look at their Resource Page.

To zero in on just one "resource", the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation was founded by Clayton Christensen, Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. Their senior research fellow in education was a strategy consultant for McKinsey & Company. She graduated from Harvard College and received an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School. Another research fellow in education, formerly with Teach for America, has a BS in Economics from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. Another ed researcher graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Comparative Literature and Latin American Studies. She also received a JD from Yale Law School and formerly worked at New School Venture Fund. A visiting research fellow in education has a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College and an MBA at the Harvard Business School.

Are you beginning to see a pattern here?

That is the tiny tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Hume Foundation Awards $5 Million to Learning Accelerator
March 15, 2013

The Learning Accelerator, a Bay Area nonprofit whose mission is to transform K-12 education by accelerating the implementation of high-quality blended learning in school districts across the United States, has announced a $5 million grant from the San Francisco-based Jaquelin Hume Foundation (Ohanian Note: See Source Watch for connections to ALEC, Heritage Foundation, Manhattan Institute, Foundation for Excellence in Education, and on and on and on.)

The grant will support TLA's work to create robust district-level implementations of blended learning approaches and establish solutions that can be replicated nationwide. While many school districts are looking at blended learning and service providers are beginning to offer some components of the approach, such efforts remain fragmented, risky, and expensive. With the grant, TLA will work to identify barriers to the adoption of blended learning and develop solutions to overcome those barriers. "This is the biggest grant the foundation has ever made and the first time it made an exception to its policy of giving anonymously," said Hume Foundation president Jerry Hume. "The foundation considers TLA's mission so critical that we chose to make our commitment public."

Founded in late 2012, TLA aims to mobilize $100 million to accelerate the implementation of high-quality blended learning in school districts across the country. The organization received a $750,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in January and awarded $500,000 to EducationSuperHighway, a nonprofit organization that is working to upgrade the nation's K-12 Internet infrastructure and provide every school with the kind of broadband access needed to enable digital learning in the classroom.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant
2013: $2,000,000

"Blended learning is the transformative educational innovation of our time and has the potential to significantly improve K-12 education in America," said Joe Wolf, president and founding board member of TLA. "Over the next five years, we will partner with organizations across the country to make this happen faster, more effectively, and with high quality. Students and teachers will receive the benefits every day in their classrooms."

Joe Wolf: Joe holds a BA from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School; former employment:Partner at RS Investments (formerly Robertson Stephens Asset Management), Goldman Sachs & Company. On boards at New Classrooms (formerly School of One), is on the Leadership Council of the New Schools Venture Fund, and is on the National Board and head of the Innovation Committee for Summer Search.

Grants from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Learning Accelerator

Nov. 2013 $750,000

to accelerate the implementation of high-quality blended learning across the U.S. by strengthening the ecosystem and creating examples of district-wide implementation both independently and in partnership with the Foundation̢۪s NextGen Systems Initiative.

Nov. 2012 $750,000

to (1) share information about blended learning with districts; (2) align ecosystem to improve efficiency and reduce redundancy among implementation organizations

What is Blended Learning? It's an enterprise in which at least part of student's program is delivered online. Khan Academy is the most famous example.

Grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Khan

2012 $5,000,000 for a special project whose purpose is, in Gates Foundation words, "not available."

Grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Bay Area KIPP schools

2012 $100,000 to expand personalized blended learning pilots in five KIPP middle schools and two KIPP high schools in the Bay Area serving 10-12 classes impacting 300-350 students; exploring new blended learning solution while still leveraging Khan Academy

2011 $50,000 to KIPP Bay Area schools to expand the use of Khan Academy's adaptive software platform for self-paced individualized and mastery-based learning

Nov 2011 $50,000 to Envision Education Inc to expand the use of Khan Academy in order to facilitate the management of learning differences within a Response to Intervention framework and a mastery-based curriculum to ensure all students are successful

To Khan Academy
2011 $4,079,361 to develop the remaining K-12 math exercises to ensure full coverage of the Common Core math standards and form a small team to implement a blended learning model.

To Khan Academy
2010 $1,464,667 to provide general operating support, expanding Khan Academy's leadership and staff capacity to map Khan Academy content to the Common Core high school standards, improve assessments, and enhance the user interface.

Blended Learning is a kinder, gentler euphemism WBW: What Bill Wants: computer-delivered instruction. Most of the advocates (besides Bill and Melinda Gates) are associated with Harvard Business School. Yes, even Salman Khan. He has a BS from MIT in mathematics, electrical engineering, and computer science and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

These people all know a lot more about how to make a buck than how to teach a child.

— Susan Ohanian




This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.