While some educators are trying to avoid modernizing their craft in favor of old-fashioned learning, others who are embracing modern teaching practices are not only propelling themselves into the future, but remaining relevant in an evolving world. With the growing prevalence of artificial intelligence (AI), many fear that its influence in society, particularly in education, will overwhelm users with misinformation. Despite a hesitancy for some to engage with AI, leading educational organizations are embracing it as an exceptional tool for learning. Leftist educators in particular have reason to be enthusiastic about the tool as it has become a means to further influence young minds with the development of what is being called Stretch, a chatbot created exclusively for K-12 schools. By controlling the sources from which this AI draws information, the left is seizing an opportunity to ensure their biased sources are the only ones used by teachers and students.
According to an article in Education Week, the chatbot Stretch will be considered a reliable resource for teachers since the creators assert that it will only be learning from “vetted” materials. The organizations responsible for vetting or developing the materials, however, are the left-leaning International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Their recommendation to use the 1619 Project as a top resource says enough in and of itself, but there are other notable recommended resources that suggest Stretch may only learn and be able to share the far left’s “facts.”
The ISTE is a respected resource for teachers nationwide who use their framework, professional development, and guidance on best teaching practices to excel in their field and propel their classrooms into the future so that their students could be successful in the world in which they will live. While the ISTE’s influence on pedagogy is prevalent, so is their political influence on educators and their curricula, which now will include artificial intelligence.
One example of the ISTE’s and the ASCD’s political motivation is their outspoken support of Black Lives Matter and “anti-racist” teaching which are popular topics on their social media.
How do you nurture anti-racism in children? Can educators and parents teach young people to see past their unconscious bias and ingrained beliefs to truly empathize with peers of color?
— ISTE (@ISTEofficial) August 14, 2020
At ASCD, we believe that Black Lives Matter and are dedicated to supporting educators, students, and school communities as we work to dismantle racism at every level. We have curated a list of free resources to help you during this time: https://t.co/LaHXy6m74X pic.twitter.com/II1hYFMY5G
— ASCD (@ASCD) June 4, 2020
“If we do not equip our young people to confront inequity, they will grow up to be adults who are unable to identify racism, bias, and their complicity in oppressive structures.” –@DenaSimmons https://t.co/Z5SA5iGj0r pic.twitter.com/ze1aCQemCR
— ASCD (@ASCD) June 19, 2020
— ASCD (@ASCD) March 7, 2021
Discover how to engage in authentic dialogue and daily acts to change #SystemicRacism with Mary Rice-Boothe.
— ASCD (@ASCD) May 9, 2023
Pivoting from “dead white men” lessons of the past, these Ts are taking a culturally responsive approach to history https://t.co/QqA9vRAdbu
— ASCD (@ASCD) July 20, 2017
If teachers and students anticipate exploring sexual material, Stretch will likely have that covered as well. The ISTE and ASCD recommend resources from pre-K and beyond to discuss “sexual preferences.”
Only 5% of LGBTQ+ youth say all of their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBTQ+ people, according to the @HRC's 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report.
— ISTE (@ISTEofficial) June 16, 2021
Happy #PrideMonth! 🏳️🌈
Let's take action to become better allies.
Check out these resources to deepen understanding and support for the LGBTQ+ community. ⬇️https://t.co/PZuXPjzUx8
— ISTE (@ISTEofficial) June 5, 2023
🗣 Calling all #Educators! 🗣
— ASCD (@ASCD) June 28, 2023
— ASCD (@ASCD) April 9, 2022
There are many implications of using Stretch, but its most serious problem is the role it will play in furthering the far left’s agenda and stifling any opposition where points of contention may exist.
Authorities from the ISTE know how to convince educators to use their resources, and so far, they are hitting all the points teachers will question when determining if Stretch meets high enough standards for classrooms. Joseph South, the chief innovation officer at ISTE described the “reliability of information” as “rock solid.”
Richard Culatta, ISTE’s CEO, explained that Stretch “avoids the pitfalls of ChatGPT and similar chatbots, which often spit out inaccurate or outdated information.” Stretch was built largely with credibility in mind, suggested Culatta, who noted that its sources will all be vetted. Unlike other chatbots, the sources Stretch uses will also be cited, and if Stretch does not know an answer it will respond as such instead of grabbing any information that it may find relevant to a question.
Culatta summed up the problem with Stretch in one sentence when he said, “[t]he real value is to say, hey, the future of AI, especially in learning, is to create these specialized tools where we can control exactly what the content is.”
The National Council for the Social Studies is among the leading and highly respected educational organizations ready to embrace AI. In “The Democratization of AI and its Transformative Potential in Social Studies Education,” by Ilene R. Berson and Michael J. Berson, the authors argue that AI is not to be feared, but recognized as a tool that will “revolutionize the way social studies is taught and learned.”
Recognizing the need to teach towards the future, the NCSS makes the valid point that “Banning the use of these tools may produce students who are better able to do more by hand; however, such students will be at a disadvantage in a workforce where peers are proficient in using AI. This creates a need for educators to adapt their assessment design to these new technologies […] After a bit of reflection, school bans are being modified; instead of prohibiting the use of digital tools, educators and students are being empowered to utilize these tools to enhance their learning experience. This requires a re-envisioning of the assessment process to accommodate AI and a shift in focus to authentic and process-focused assessment.”
Although the NCSS article does not mention Stretch, it does point out the problem with AI that Stretch has been pitched to solve.
As educators across the country prepare to welcome AI into their classrooms, the left has already taken the steps necessary to ensure their control in education, including their development of exceptional teaching materials, remains strong with AI. While many conservatives are focused on bringing back the teaching styles of the past, the radical left is investing millions of dollars in the learning of the future, and training thousands of teachers on how to infiltrate the minds of their students through the use of modern technology.