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Rotten STEM: How Technology Corrupts Education

At the violet hour, when the eyes and back
Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits
Like a taxi throbbing waiting
                                       —T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land

The U.S. education system spent more than $26 billion on tech­nology in 2018. That’s larger than the entire Israeli military budget. By one estimate, annual global spending on technology in schools will soon total $252 billion. To hear presidents and prime ministers tell it, this spending is laudable and even necessary to reduce inequality and prepare a workforce ready to compete in the global economy.1

But the technology pushed into schools today is a threat to child development and an unredeemable waste. In the first place, technology exacerbates the greatest problem of all in schools: confusion about their purpose. Education is the cultivation of a person, not the manufacture of a worker. But in many public school districts we have already traded our collective birthright, the promise of human flourishing, for a mess of utilitarian pottage called “job skills.” The more recent, panicked, money-lobbing fetish for STEM is a late realization that even those dim promises will go unmet.

Second, it harms students even in the narrow sense of training workers: the use of technology in schools actually lowers test scores in reading, math, and science, damages long-term memory, and induces addiction. Both advanced hardware and the latest software have proven counterproductive. The only app or device found to meaningfully improve results with any consistency is an overhead projector in the hands of a competent human teacher.

Finally, educational technology is a regressive political weapon, never just a neutral tool: it increases economic inequality, decreases school accountability, takes control away from teachers, and makes poorer students more vulnerable to threats from automation and globalization.

STEM against Science

Liberal arts education, which has always given a central position to mathematics and the sciences,2 will only be harmed by the recent push to “get more STEM in schools,”3 because today’s STEM has only a cosmetic relationship with the sciences. STEM ideologues and real educators are pursuing very different goals. The purpose of edu­cation in the sciences is to cultivate children as knowers in and of the world. The purpose of STEM programs is just to create more of a certain kind of worker.

That sounds like a controversial claim, but it isn’t. STEM pro­moters tell you as much. In 2009, the Obama administration launched two education programs with a combined budget of over $4.6 billion. “Race to the Top,” which asked states to compete for federal grants, and “Educate to Innovate,” a series of public-private partner­ships, were both explicitly designed to promote STEM train­ing. “America needs a world-class STEM workforce to address the grand challenges of the 21st century,” said John Holdren, Obama’s science advisor. In his 2013 five-year plan, Holdren wrote that “ad­vances in STEM have long been central to our Nation’s ability to manufacture better and smarter products . . . and grow the economy. . . . The jobs of the future are STEM jobs.”4

The Trump administration has continued in the same direction. In 2018, the same executive office council affirmed: “A diverse talent pool of STEM-literate Americans prepared for the jobs of the future will be essential for maintaining the national innovation base that supports key sectors of the economy.”5 Again, the push was never really about science on its own terms or for its own sake. These efforts are all about technology, especially technology as a substitute for a well-ordered political economy.

Consider the acronym:

  • “Science,” in this context, means only the natural and physical sciences, nothing social or human. But increasingly natural sciences are absent, too. Attend a local “STEM festival” (which used to be called a “science fair”), and you probably won’t find much geology or physics or chemistry happening, but there will be plenty of “apps” and Lego robots, i.e., tech-based labor in place of intellectual development;6
  • “Technology” obviously is the focus;
  • “Engineering” is arguably already one of the sciences and thus redundant in this acronym;
  • “Mathematics” is just there for looks and because politicians are nervous about competition from East Asia. No one actually wants your student to get into category theory or probabilistic combinatorics, unless of course there is some commercially viable applied angle.

What we find is that even the traditional disciplines are subordinated, not just to the practical, but even in practical application to further commercial prostitution. The theory of relativity, calculus, even the physics of a bridge—these are deemed valuable not for helping us reach the good, the true, and the beautiful, but only insofar as they give us GPS satellites, efficient insurance pricing, and interstate highways—and even then, only if the latter public goods are mediated by private profits.

Yet, after decades of trying, it is clear that injecting more tech­nology into education turns out to be a massive waste of time and resources, even according to its proponents’ own criteria. The massively subsidized rush to convert schools into Apple stores only diminishes students’ capacity for “creativity” and “innovation.” Technology, even in the narrowest commercial sense, depends on the liberal arts—pursuits that are subject neither to the practical demands of society nor to its untrained desires—to provide the higher ends that technology serves, as well as the new thinking on which it is based. The blatant commercial wastefulness and impracticality of number theory, not to mention literature or playing the violin, offers hints that those pursuits are priceless rather than worthless.

The sciences and mathematics have a historic place in the cur­riculum, and technology does not, for the simple reason that the latter is not inherently “about” anything. Absent human contributions on specific topics, cut off from the subject matter of academic work, technology is nothing—an electron microscope without any samples, darkened VR goggles, an empty spreadsheet. Specializing in techne as such means trying to teach people to be good at “making” without having any idea of what to make, or why to make it.

How did we get here? The American public education system, a rusted-out 1976 mustard sedan whose “check engine” light is always on, is driven by a psychopath who wants, by turns, to crash it for the insurance, to insist that cars can be submarines, and to spend hilarious sums on unnecessary parts.

Libertarians with their vouchers would rather send the vehicle over a cliff, cash the insurance payout, and save themselves. Progressives want to replace the curriculum with pamphlets based on social theories invented five minutes ago, submerging the institution in an absurd soup. “Sober-minded centrists” promote coding, gadgets, and the Taylorization of the classroom, the equivalent of gleaming cus­tom chrome rims on such a tired auto: pointless, expensive, embarrassing, distracting enough to cause an accident, and no help what­soever for the corrosion happening inside the engine block.

Doing Less with More

Over the last decade there has been a broad, coordinated effort to raise the status of technology education and to bring more computer resources into schools. Almost every classroom in the United States now has internet access; 88 percent have high-speed broadband; and the ratio of computers to students is nearly one to one.7

Yet there are now clear signs of a movement against tech in edu­cation, especially before high school. In the United States, the classi­cal education movement as well as Waldorf, Montessori, and other alternative models continue to grow; many of these prohibit infor­mation technology in K–8 classes and yet manage to foster model students. The most popular private school in Silicon Valley is just such a school.8 Likewise, an elite private school in Sydney, Australia, the alma mater of three prime ministers, banned laptops in 2016 and required students to handwrite essays through the tenth grade: the headmaster said the school found money spent on interactive white­boards, laptops, and the associated software was a total waste.9

The backlash is justified. The first stage of STEM penetration, carpet-bombing classrooms with PCs and gadgets, turned out to be a disaster. The largest international education survey, the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), most re­cently tested over 540,000 students in seventy-two countries with exams on reading, science, and mathematics. The latest results showed that classroom usage of all of the most advanced equipment was associated with worse student performance on every type of exam.

Students using tablet computers at school saw on average a 10 percent lower math test score versus peers who didn’t. E-book read­er use meant an 18 percent lower score in reading. Desktops, lap­tops, internet access, and Wi-Fi all were linked to lower scores. Even the widely touted interactive whiteboard was associated with worse results in reading, science, and math. The only technology linked to a meaningful improvement in test scores was that old standby, a projector.

U.S.-specific studies reach similar conclusions. Austan Goolsbee, before he was chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Ad­visers, found that four years of investments in education technology in California public schools had no statistically significant impact on student performance.10 In another study, a randomized, controlled trial giving computers to U.S. students in grades six to ten had no meas­urable impact on homework time, grades, standardized test scores, or attendance, and some trials saw negative effects.11 In a study of over seven hundred students at West Point, those with computers in class had test scores 0.2 standard deviations below those of students who did not.12

The use of devices in class is also linked to impaired long-term memory. In one study, the final exam scores of students whose class permitted electronic devices were 5 percentage points lower than those whose classes did not.13 Importantly, performance was not meaningfully different for quizzes conducted immediately after ma­terial was presented; end-of-unit exams saw a moderate divergence, with the greatest difference at the end of the course.

Distraction, in this case, had the greatest effects on long-term retention. One surprising result was that of memory impairment even for students who didn’t use devices, if they were placed in classes where many other students did—a kind of technological con­tact high (or low, in this case). The study authors explain the latter effect in terms of device-riddled classes having been changed “from an occasion for joint attention to more like a group of individuals in a waiting room occasionally looking up.”

When confronted with such poor results, tech proponents coun­ter that while the initial effort was to get students connected to the internet and using computers, the next and more promising step has been the introduction of “computer-assisted instruction” (CAI). The pitch is that specialized software allows for “personalized” instruction at a student’s own pace.

Unfortunately, results for this next phase are no better. Meta-analysis of the literature in this area concludes, “studies of ICT [in­formation and communications technology] and CAI in schools produce mixed evidence with a pattern of null results.” Programs that give software to students do not “generate gains in academic outcomes” and programs using computer-assisted learning tend to “crowd out traditional instruction.”14 A broad study of sixteen dif­ferent software products found that, after one year, students using the software did not have test scores that were statistically significantly better than students who did not, and some had significantly lower math scores after a second year.15

A simple point about expectations often gets overlooked. The programs studied here include an increase in instruction, additional educational funding, or both. As Bulman and Fairlie note, “Much of the evidence in the schooling literature is based on interventions that provide supplemental funding for technology or additional class time, and thus favor finding positive effects.” In other words, we should expect great results given the boost in resources. We already know that an increase in conventional resources (e.g., teachers, smaller classes) works; therefore even null results from tech programs are damning.

There are a few ways tech was supposed to help. The most obvious change, substituting for teachers, has proven counterproductive: “using educational technology to replace teachers or to scale ineffective practices guarantees poorer learning outcomes.”16 Second, while “personalized” instruction tailored to the needs of individual students is intuitively appealing—that’s what a human tutor offers, after all—the mixed results for mathematics software and null-to-negative results for reading software suggest again that for each dollar spent, nothing beats instruction from a human teacher.

Finally, the big hope had been to motivate students to learn through interactivity and “gamification.” What any given software vendor might tout as a stimulating lesson, however, is often just a frustrating distraction for students. The case of edustar basketball shows that even highly engaged students may not be learning any­thing at all: in a randomized controlled trial, more than five hundred students were assigned either to an ordinary module teaching how to divide fractions or to a module teaching the same topic using a basketball game–like computer program. Students assigned to the basketball game spent about five minutes longer on the lesson, but performed significantly worse than students following the regular method. Ultimately, tech that boosted student engagement just took a longer time to teach them less.17

Then there are the side effects and opportunity costs. Replacing handwriting with typing is academic malpractice, given the overwhelming evidence on the value of handwriting for brain development, deeper learning, and memory.18 Reading on paper results in better understanding than reading on screens.19 Today’s “distraction machines” weaken our ability to concentrate and even make us worse at multitasking.20 STEM initiatives only exacerbate the broader social ills of addiction to technology and tech-related mental health problems.21 American and English public health officials warn about the strong links between screen use and childhood anxiety, depression, obesity, and low self-esteem.22 On an addiction scale from candy to crack cocaine, Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired, describes tech as “closer to crack cocaine.”

More Vulnerable, Not Less

Robbed of even the most basic utilitarian talking points, what is a politician looking for campaign contributions from the tech sector, a naïve school board member trying to be helpful, or a software sales representative to do? Make an appeal to politics, of course.

The “Digital Divide” was, until it turned out to be false, the idea that students in low-income school districts would be at a disadvantage in the future because they were not doing enough STEM stuff today. However, we have already seen that the introduction of information technology only tends to distract students and deplete budgets. What’s increasingly clear is that the real digital divide of the future will be between students who can afford protection from the bad effects of technology for as long as possible, and those who can’t.

Dumping gadgets on children is a win-win proposition in poor school districts. It’s a win for tech billionaires looking to buy pro­gressive indulgences (e.g., Mark Zuckerberg in Newark), and it’s a win for local mayors wanting to gesture toward needy schools with­out changing the underlying economic reality (e.g., Cory Booker in Newark, Pete Buttigieg in South Bend). It’s obviously a win for tech companies, which compete fiercely for the budgets of public schools, mimicking pharmaceutical lobby methods like offering lav­ish travel budgets and even consultant fees to friendly school offi­cials.23

But for students, STEM promotion for the sake of future em­ployment is darkly ironic. The most common claim, that globalization and automation require teaching students to “code,” doesn’t stand up to even fleeting scrutiny. Reliance on technology makes poorer students more vulnerable to globalization and automation, not less. It is not preparing them for “the workplace of the future” but delivering them into the gaping maw of the ravenous present. Among the jobs most likely to be automated out of existence are those whose functions are the most similar to computers, including jobs like computer systems administrators, network architects, and computer support specialists, 60–70 percent of whose functions could be automated using current technology.24

Even the brainiest are not safe. In the finance industry, in recent years, we have seen the development of machine learning tools that can perform in minutes the same analysis for which a human com­puter science major required hours or even days. You can guess which of those resources was less expensive to retain. An Oxford University study on the vulnerability of different jobs to automation, the largest on the topic, concluded that students who want to prosper in the future must travel against the prevailing ideological winds—that is, they will have to “acquire creative and social skills.”25

Automation need not be a threat, though it seems likely to be in the existing political economy. In the United States, over the last forty years more than 85 percent of productivity gains have accrued to the owners of capital, and there is no evidence that the distribution is changing.26 In a perpetually unjust system, advocates for low- and middle-income families should not be naïve about who benefits from robots.

Globalization is an even more important risk. Almost 50 percent of the 5.6 million U.S. manufacturing jobs lost since 1990 can be attributed to free trade agreements and China’s entry into the WTO.27 Policymakers who refuse to address trade and capital ac­count imbalances should at least focus on training workers for jobs that can’t be sent so easily offshore—i.e., roles that require a local, physical presence. Programming, data analysis, and other tech-based “knowledge economy” functions are the opposite of this. They are obviously the most portable roles that exist, commodity skills beg­ging to be outsourced to economies with cheaper labor. Shunting children in poor school districts into tech jobs is, in other words, merely preparing them for the work that has not yet been sent to eastern Europe or South America.

More locally, the tech incursion poses a clear threat to the authority of teachers and reduces the accountability of schools. Tech proponents are explicit about their desire to replace teachers with screens, but even cooperative instructors are likely to see their expertise devalued in favor of a software-based curriculum against which there is no immediate appeal. Once everyone is using it, deviating from the default settings becomes a rebellious act. Company-trained proctors will be the secret weapons of gubernatorial aus­terity; look for these regrettable, hard choices to be made for poorer districts during the next recession.

Conversely, schools with struggling students can offload respon­sibility for poor performance to the evaluation of the new experts. It’s not that the student is behind; she’s just achieving her full potential as determined by the software. “Individualized learning” is to anxious, abandoned children what “live your best life” is to anx­ious, economically precarious adults: paternalistic condemnation and the soft bigotry of low expectations.

In theory, STEM programs help poor and minority students leap­frog the problems that have plagued their schools. In practice, when those problems reassert themselves, tech is used to punish the lag­gards. The meanest trick of all is when funds allocated to bring struggling students “into the future” are used instead to banish them into the realm of for-profit programs called “online charter schools,” which consist mostly of children watching lecture videos all day instead of being taught by a teacher.

Online charter schools are a worsening catastrophe. Compared to the performance of peers in traditional public schools with similar income, race, gender, and first-language characteristics, the impact of online charter attendance on student reading is so bad, it’s like miss­ing 72 days of school each year. In math, being afflicted by an online charter school is like being absent for 180 days!28

The authors of the Stanford University study wondered whether the terrible results might be related to the distinctive flexibility of a charter program, but found instead that online charter students fared just as poorly when compared to traditional charter students. In other words, the online, computerized nature of the program is the problem. This matches conclusions from other studies of online courses, which found that they accomplish little and may even “ex­acerbate rather than reduce disparities in educational outcomes relat­ed to socioeconomic status.”29

Not that any of these test scores really matter, though, because the jobs at the end of school don’t exist. American colleges graduate 50 percent more students each year than are hired into fields like computer and information science and engineering.30 Peter Thiel, the billionaire libertarian cofounder of PayPal and Palantir, and one of the last people we might expect to take a critical view of recent tech enthusiasm in education, gave this assessment in a class at Harvard Law School earlier this year:

One of the great lies we tell in our society is about STEM, because there are in fact no jobs in most of these STEM fields. If you get a PhD in physics or chemistry, there’s no well-paying job for you at the end. The same is true of biology. I’ve often commented that you’re better off as an undergraduate majoring in the humanities than in the sciences, because in the humanities at least you know there will be no job for you at the end, whereas in the sciences you will be deluded into thinking that you will be taken care of by the natural goodness of the universe.

The jobs promised by STEM programs serve therefore as a Hitchcockian MacGuffin in political economy, always unattainable, al­ways distracting us from broader goals and more important ques­tions. What should be done with disaffected suburban teens? Just teach them to code. How to help abused women and trafficking victims? Teach them to code.31 Forgotten Appalachian coal miners? Code.32 Prison inmates? Code!33 Liberated Afghan girls? Code! Code!34 A thousand well-meaning start-ups dispense palliative skills to the least of these, leaving economic tumors intact.

Two Cultures, Double Standards

In 1959, C. P. Snow famously claimed that modern society has two cultures at odds with one another: scientists and technologists sup­posedly “have the future in their bones,” while intellectuals in the humanities are to be dismissed as “natural Luddites.”35 The critic F. R. Leavis infamously thundered that Snow was an uninformed, pompous hack, a public relations man for the scientific establishment, and that his naïve picture of material progress left us bereft of hope and meaning. On this sixtieth anniversary of Snow’s lecture, it is clear that Leavis won the intellectual battle, but Snow won the culture war.

People with the ability to avoid this dystopia already understand the conflict and are years ahead in their response. Elite families in Silicon Valley have been taking a different approach with their chil­dren for some time. There are tales of parents with names like Gates and Jobs keeping their children far away from their companies’ own products.36 Chris Anderson talks about the “descent into chaos” and subsequent retrenchment after his child’s private elementary school introduced iPads and smart whiteboards. When asked for his most urgent advice for students, Lloyd Blankfein, until recently the CEO of Goldman Sachs, counseled, “Study the humanities. Know how people think, know how the cycles work, know the lessons of history.” Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, insists that the most important skills gap in America is not coding; the gap is in “soft skills” like writing, persuasion, and leadership.

In this halfway-critical stance the investors and CEOs of the world make unlikely comrades with dozens of philosophers and thinkers who have patiently charted the eclipse of reason: Horkheimer, Marcuse, Heidegger, Christopher Lasch, Christopher Daw­son, Jacques Ellul, Michel Henry, Neil Postman, and many others. Of course, the difference between the critics and the elites is that the latter target their advice for their immediate peers while pulling up the ladder behind them. Conscientious wealthy families may limit screen time at home and send their own children to prep schools exempt from deadening education mandates, but they also fund (in the case of the Gates Foundation) projects like the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which take a dim view of any curriculum content that isn’t aimed at job readiness.37

 Things could be different. To start, cancel the $26 billion of STEM waste; give a $5,000 raise to our 3.6 million elementary and secondary school teachers (average annual salary of $57,000), and hire another 130,000 teachers at the higher rate. Let distinctive re­gional and cultural traditions persist within the context of a classical curriculum made universally available. Support college-age voca­tional training and skills-focused programs to help fill gaps in key national industries when necessary, but protect the foundational years for younger students.

This fight is not just about jobs or middle-class college admissions hysteria. Joseph Ratzinger gave the most penetrating comment of all on what is at stake in a sermon that predates the internet and social media, delivered during Lent in 1973:

The machines that [man] himself has constructed now impose their own law on him: he must be made readable for the computer, and this can be achieved only when he is translated into numbers. Everything else in man becomes irrelevant. Whatever is not a function is—nothing.

The Common Core standards, adopted now in most states, include sets of functionalist requirements for meeting key goals. Many of the English language arts anchor standards, for instance, require that children cite evidence and write (and thus think) in patterns that can more easily be graded by computers.38 Here is the triumph of tech­nology over wisdom and learning: Submit to Tech in Every Matter. We are Eliot’s human engines, humanity made readable for the computer.

This article originally appeared in American Affairs Volume III, Number 3 (Fall 2019): 82–96.

Notes

The author thanks Kimberly Woodard and Tommy Ricketts for comments.

1 Spending estimates are from EdTech Navigator, accessed March 12, 2019; and EdTechXGlobal.

2 As early as Plato’s Republic and Phaedrus, education includes logic, grammar, and rhetoric (what would later be called the trivium), then arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy (the quadrivium).

3 For one of countless examples of such efforts, see the surprisingly pitiable 2011 State of Arizona application for Race to the Top funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

4Federal Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education 5-year Strategic Plan: A Report from the Committee on STEM Education of the National Science and Technology Council,” Executive Office of the President, National Science and Technology Council, May 2013.

5Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education: A Report from the Committee on STEM Education of the National Science and Technology Council,” Executive Office of the President, National Science and Technology Council, December 2018.

6 There are sometimes environmental projects, too, whose hidden premise is usually that political problems about climate or water supplies will have technological rather than political solutions.

7 Aaron Chatterji, “Innovation and American k-12 Education,” NBER Working Paper 23531, June 2017.

8 Tom Knowles, “Silicon Valley’s Tech-Free Waldorf School Is a Hit,” Times (London), November 10, 2018.

9 Natasha Bita, “Computers in Class ‘a Scandalous Waste’: Sydney Grammar Head,” Australian, March 26, 2016.

10 Austan Goolsbee and Jonathan Guryan, “The Impact of Internet Subsidies in Public Schools,” Review of Economics and Statistics 88, no. 2 (May 2006).

11 Maya Escueta, Vincent Quan, Andre Joshua Nickow, and Philip Oreopoulos, “Education Technology: An Evidence-Based Review,” NBER Working Paper no. 23744, August 2017.

12 Susan Carter, Kyle Greenberg, and Michael Walker, “The Impact of Computer Usage on Academic Performance: Evidence from a Randomized Trial at the United States Military Academy,” SEII Discussion Paper no. 2016.02, May 2016.

13 Arnold L. Glass and Mengxue Kang, “Dividing Attention in the Classroom Reduces Exam Performance,” Educational Psychology 39, no. 3 (July 26, 2019): 395–408.

14 George Bulman and Robert W. Fairlie, “Technology and Education: Computers, Software, and the Internet,” NBER Working Paper no. 22237, May 2016.

15 Larissa Campuzano et al., “Effectiveness of Reading and Mathematics Software Products: Findings From Two Student Cohorts,” National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, 2009.

16 Bulman and Fairlie.

17 Aaron K. Chatterji and Benjamin F. Jones, “Learning What Works in Educational Technology with a Case Study of edustar,” Policy Memo 2016-01, The Hamilton Project, March 2016.

18 Markus Kiefer et al., “Handwriting or Typewriting? The Influence of Pen- or Keyboard-Based Writing Training on Reading and Writing Performance in Preschool Children,” Advances in Cognitive Psychology 11, no. 4 (December 2015); Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer, “The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand over Laptop Note Taking,” Psychological Science 25, no. 6 (2014): 1159–68; Anne Mangen et al., “Handwriting versus Keyboard Writing: Effect on Word Recall,” Journal of Writing Research 7, no. 2 (October 2015). Allowances obviously should be made for disabled students using computer assistance where handwriting is not possible.

19 Virginia Clinton, “Reading from Paper Compared to Screens: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Research in Reading 42, no. 2 (January 2019).

20 Tim Wu, “How Today’s Computers Weaken Our Brain,” New Yorker, September 9, 2013.

21 See, for example,  Adam Alter, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked (New York: Penguin Books, 2017).

22 Yolanda Chassiakos et al., “Children and Adolescents and Digital Media,” Pediatrics 138, no. 5 (November 2016).

23 One particularly compliant superintendent in Baltimore took 65 industry trips over the course of three years, at least two thirds paid for by the educational tech lobby; Natasha Singer and Danielle Ivory, “How Silicon Valley Plans to Conquer the Classroom,” New York Times, November 3, 2017.

24 Michael Chui, James Manyika, and Mehdi Miremadi, “Four Fundamentals of Workplace Automation,” McKinsey & Company, November 2015.

25 Carl Frey and Michael Osborne, “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerisation?,” September 17, 2013.

26 Anna Stansbury and Lawrence Summers, “On the Link between US Pay and Productivity,” VOX CEPR Policy Portal, February 20, 2018.

27 Matthew C. Klein, “How Many US Manufacturing Jobs Were Lost to Globalisation?” Financial Times, December 6, 2016; David Autor, David Dorn, and Gordon Hanson, “The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States,” August 2011.

28 James Woodworth et al., “Online Charter School Study,” Stanford University Center for Research on Education Outcomes, 2015.

29 John Hansen and Justin Reich, “Democratizing Education? Examining Access and Usage Patterns in Massive Open Online Courses,” Science 350, no. 6265 (January 2015).

30 Hal Salzman, Daniel Kuehn, and B. Lindsay Lowell, “Guestworkers in the High-Skill U.S. Labor Market: An Analysis of Supply, Employment, and Wage Trends,” Economic Policy Institute, April 2013.

31 Anniecannons (website), accessed July 27, 2019.

32 Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “Beyond Coal: Imagining Appalachia’s Future,” New York Times, August 17, 2016.

33 Chris Redlitz, “Why I’m Teaching Prisoners to Code,” TED, February 18, 2016.

34 Code to Inspire (website), accessed July 27, 2019.

35 C. P. Snow, The Two Cultures (London: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

36 Nellie Bowles, “A Dark consensus about Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley,” New York Times, October 26, 2018.

37 Nicholas Tampio, “Democracy and National Education Standards,” Journal of Politics 79, no. 1 (2016).

38 Nicholas Tampio, Common Core: National Education Standards and the Threat to Democracy, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018), ch. 3; Benjamin Winterhalter, “Computer Grading Will Destroy Our Schools,” Salon, September 30, 2013.

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