Unless you’re completely off the grid, you’ve read about Apple’s most recent releases including updated iPads, their latest operating system for Macs and of course the new iPhone 6 and Apple Pay. As a result of these products that seemingly can’t stay on the shelves, Apple’s earnings, which were released on Tuesday showed a revenue of $42.1 billion.
Clearly, Apple has come a long way from the days when TIME Magazine described Apple in 1997 as “arguably one of the worst-managed companies in the industry.” The Cupertino design team has turned out winner after winner for years. Our phones, cameras, maps, televisions, books, stereos and plane tickets are all the same object now. You can soon add another item to that ever-growing list, and anyone who is opposed to Common Core should take note, because Apple is quickly inserting itself into an area that will affect parents and students for years to come – classroom materials.
How you ask? In 2013, Apple and Common Core developer Pearson teamed up to win an implementation contract that would preload iPads with Pearson’s Common Core curriculum for Los Angeles United School District. The deal represented the bulk of a technology development plan of over $1 billion that would distribute iPads and computers to students and faculty across the LAUSD for the purpose of aligning curriculum to meet Common Core standards.
Giving kids access to technology to learn is obviously a great thing, and the potential with tools like the iPad in classrooms presents tremendous opportunity to improve learning overall. However, with that kind of money exchanging hands in just one city, one has to wonder about the obvious conflict of interest and cronyism inherent in Apple supporting a radical transformation of American education and the implementation of technology-reliant standards in the classroom.
Consider the concept of “Challenge Based Learning”, an initiative developed by Apple to study and promote strategies that “encourages learners to leverage the technology they use in their daily lives to solve real-world problems.” While the stated goals may be noble, a simple analysis shows a company developing a need that will be served by its very own product.
In fact, former Apple Development Executive and current CEO at The Challenge Institute, Mark Nichols wrote in 2012, “Districts and schools will be tempted to simply align existing content or purchase packages and software ‘aligned’ to the standards without fundamentally re-thinking the process. To manage the instructional change inherent in the Common Core different instructional frameworks are necessary.”
In simpler terms, the drive to implement Common Core is two-fold: change the entire concept of curriculum and develop the technology as the new medium in which that curriculum is delivered. Nichols continued by saying, “CBL provides a concrete framework and set of resources for districts, schools and individual teachers to fundamentally ‘shift’ the way the learning community goes about the business of learning.”
We all learned E=MC2 in our classrooms. Now there’s a new one to add to our thought process: Apple + Pearson = National Common Core Implementation.
Knowing this, it is not a surprise to see that Apple has significant involvement with advocacy groups pushing the implementation of Common Core Standards. For example, Apple is listed as a corporate partner with the Center for American Progress, the liberal think tank with close ties to the Obama Administration that has championed Common Core as “one of the most important reforms to American public education in decades.” Also, Apple is a Strategic Partner for the New Media Consortium which has promoted “Tablet Computing” as a tool for developing “personalized learning environments” as part of a Common Core implementation strategy.
Pushing Common Core’s implementation deserves close examination from conservatives as billions of taxpayer dollars are at stake, not to mention what, and more importantly how, our children are learning in the classroom. Obviously, Apple sees long-term revenue streams from the implementation of a new curriculum and is willing to go to bat to defend Common Core and finance the PR campaign to do so.
Chris Walker is the Executive Director of 2nd Vote, a conservative shopper app. To find out more, download the free app or visit 2ndVote.com.