Detroit, Education — March 20, 2015 at 9:33 am

UPDATED: Now that Agilix’s BUZZ software has been fully beta-tested by Detroit student guinea pigs, it’s time to cash in!


As I reported over a year ago, the Education Achievement Authority – Gov. Rick Snyder’s failed education experiment on Detroit children – was used as a testing ground for software that endeavors to teach children using computers with little teacher interaction. The colossal failure of this software called BUZZ has been well-documented here on this site.

At the time, I wrote this:

What seems very clear from these accounts is that this is not user-friendly software by any fare stretch of the imagination. A little digging shows why: The EAA was the field testing operation for BUZZ which is a product of Agilix. In other words, it had never been used anywhere else; it was unproven, untested software and the students & teachers of the EAA were the beta testers.

Now that the bugs have been worked out of the software which never worked properly for the Detroit students who were forced to use it, Agilix is marketing BUZZ nationally and they are using Detroit and the EAA as their “case study”. The long post about the EAA is capped off with these entirely inaccurate claims:

During the 2012-2013 school term, 59% of students achieved 1.5 or more year’s growth in Reading (64% 1+ ) and 58% of student achieved 1.5 or more year’s growth in Math (68% 1+). All six direct run K-8 schools ranked in the top 20 out of 124 K-8 schools across governance models in Detroit (Detroit Public Schools, Charter, Archdiocese and EAA schools).

These numbers have been proven to be completely inaccurate in a comprehensive analysis of EAA students’ MEAP testing results conducted by Professor Tom Pedroni. Recall that MEAP test scores were the metric used to put schools into the EAA in the first place.

Here’s one of their promotional videos that mentions Detroit, one of many on the Agilix Vimeo page:

They also have an Instagram page that has images like this one that talks about their “personalized learning solutions” (i.e., BUZZ):

None of this is a surprise, of course. It was entirely predictable and predicted. I just thought Detroit parents would like to know how their children were used and exploited to enable the enrichment and profiteering of a for-profit corporation. Seems to me those families ought to be cut in on the profits since they were the beta testing guinea pigs who helped find the myriad flaws in BUZZ.

It’s all part and parcel of the Republican corporatization of our state, led by our CEO-in-Chief, Rick Snyder.

UPDATED: I was reminded that current Chancellor of the EAA Veronica Conforme herself believes that the EAA hasn’t shown any improvement in student academic achievement “three years into this.”

Here she is with Devin Scillian on WDIV. The pertinent section starts around the 6:30 mark:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

We have to be really clear about the things that we are measuring and valuing in our organization and in our schools. And we have to be transparent and parents have to know how the schools are performing. You’re right. Three years into this, [academic] achievement hasn’t moved.

Sorta shows Agilix’s claims about the academic success of EAA students using their product to be the utter deceitful lies that they are, doesn’t?