Students at the Secondary School for Journalism walked out to protest the Chan-Zuckerberg Summit depersonalized learning program, but thought Mark Zuckerberg might not have noticed. So they wrote him a letter to explain why they don’t like interacting for hours a day with a computer. They wrote and told him that they were learning little or nothing, and they complained about the collection of their personally identifiable data. They asked why Summit (and CZI) was collecting all this data without their knowledge or consent. Great points!

The article appears in EdSurge, a tech journal that is partially underwritten by the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative. I bet Mark and Priscilla see it.

They had tried before to address their concerns with the program, says Kelly Hernandez, one of the organizers of the protest. But no matter how many times they talked to their principal, or how many calls their parents made to the school to complain, nothing changed.

“We wanted to fight back with a walkout,” Hernandez, a 17-year-old senior, tells EdSurge, “because when we tried to voice our concerns, they just disregarded us.”

The Secondary School for Journalism is one of about 380 schools nationwide using Summit Learning, a personalized learning program that involves the use of an online instructional software, called the Summit Platform. This program grew out of Summit Public Schools, a network of 11 charter schools based in California and Washington, and soon caught the eye of Facebook, which lent engineers to help build the software. The platform was later supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Earlier this year, Summit Public Schools announced it would be spinning the program out as an independent nonprofit in the 2019-2020 school year.

This is not the first time that the Summit software has attracted questions and protests. Around this time last year, a Connecticut school suspended its use of the software just months after implementing it.

For Hernandez and her classmates, the breaking point came the week of Halloween, when students got their report cards, she says. Some weren’t showing any credit for the courses they’d taken and passed—courses that were necessary to graduate. Others had significant scheduling errors. “It was just so disorganized,” Hernandez recalls.

So she and her friend, senior Akila Robinson, began asking around to see who might participate in a walkout. A few days later, on Nov. 5, nearly 100 students left the school to protest Summit.

“We didn’t necessarily want attention,” Hernandez says, even though they got plenty from the media. “We wanted the changes we felt we needed.”

Some changes have come. The school dropped the learning program for 11th and 12th grade students, because teachers of those grades didn’t receive any professional development for Summit. It is still using it with 9th and 10th graders, which Hernandez wants to change.

She believes a lot of the problems with Summit fall on her teachers and administrators, who were not properly trained in using it. Summit Learning officials, in an email to Education Week, also attributed the problems described by the students to poor implementation and a lack of professional development for teachers.

But fundamental issues with the learning system, as well as concerns over the data Summit collects and shares about its students, must be addressed with the people behind Summit, Hernandez feels. That’s why she and Robinson drafted and sent a letter to Zuckerberg on Thursday.

Below is the full text of the email the students sent to Facebook’s chief executive. Diane Tavenner, CEO of Summit Public Schools, is also copied on the note.

[Please open the link to read the students’ letter.]

Disclosure: EdSurge has received grant support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.