Students protest Zuckerberg-backed digital learning program and ask him: ‘What gives you this right?’

Valerie Strauss:

Though there is no consensus definition of “personalized learning,” and though it seems to make intuitive sense to enable students to move at their own pace, in practice, this has amounted to computer-based learning programs of varying quality that require kids to sit in front of screens for a good part of the school day.

Kelly Hernandez, 17, a senior at the Secondary School for Journalism, said she helped organize the protest because students felt their complaints about Summit were not being heard. She said students began using it at the beginning of the school year without background information.

“We weren’t asked for an opinion about whether we would want to do Summit Learning,” she said. “ ‘Just use the computer. Here’s your name and password. Enjoy.’ ”

Akila Robinson, 17, another protest leader at the school, said she had problems logging on to Summit for two months and couldn’t get help. Another student, she said, had the same sign-on information.

School officials declined to comment on the protest or issues with Summit.

After the protest, school officials told students the program would no longer be used for juniors and seniors, but that ninth- and 10th-graders would continue using it.