Global Finance Needs Our Schools to Fail

Yesterday Peter Greene expanded on an idea I’d put forth a few months back that Competency Based Education (and really all digital curriculum) was a way of gradually turning neighborhood public schools into charters from the inside out. I encourage you to take a few minutes to read his piece “Charterizing From Within.” I’m glad this proposition is making it out into the world and finding a wider audience. However there are still many who doubt CBE / Personalized Learning / Blended Learning etc. will ever take hold. This despite the fact that adaptive “personalized” learning systems are popping up all over the country each passing day.

Doubters say virtual schools and e-learning don’t “work.” So there; it won’t happen. But therein lies the problem. Many assume that a system that “works” is one designed to serve the needs of children and society as a whole. The present system, however, is being increasingly twisted to serve the interests of global capital markets. When you look at it through that lens, the “failure” of CBE is actually “success.” Succeeding by creating failure moves the ball forward for those who seek to kill the old system and create a new educational paradigm, one custom-built for profit.  That is why global capital needs our schools to fail. Comprehensive dismantling of public school districts across the nation will throw open the doors to a new age of social impact investing. If you’re not familiar with the the term yet, please set aside time to read “Impact Investing and Venture Philanthropy’s Role in Sowing the Seeds of Financial Opportunity” carefully. Take the time. It’s important.

In the aftermath of the failure that has been intentionally created, venture capitalists will install learning ecosystems in the place of neighborhood schools. These diffuse networks of online and badge-based learning opportunities will be structured for maximum social control, surveillance, and behavior management (the nudge) as well as financialization. Children will no longer be children, but rather commodities to be monitored in real time (Internet of Things), bet upon and securitized.

Below is a comment I left on Peter’s piece. I’ve shared it a few places, and some found it helpful, so I thought I would blog it here today.  I fully anticipate New Profit will be a central character in the drama that is unfolding. Below is a list of grants they’ve received from the Gates Foundation since 2014, $23 million+.

New Profit Gates Foundation

“People do not yet understand the role that global finance will play in transforming public education from a human enterprise to a digital one. It’s not about creating a system that “works” for children or teachers or society as a whole. It is about creating a financial market, a market that is different from the charter school market. In my gut, I believe that this new market is going to revolve around social impact investing-pay for success and social impact bonds.

Public schools will be starved of public money, broken to pieces, and then rebuilt through public-private partnership investments where the payback is determined by growth as evidenced by data and metrics. To get to that point you have to make education all about the data. Data that will later be evaluated by 3rd party SIB evaluators doing the bidding of Goldman Sachs and Pritzker. It’s not about humans, it’s about finance.

I wish more people could look ten years down the road to see that. All of this started with New Profit and is looping back to John Arnold and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Sure, they’re taking their cut from the first round of ed reform via charters and the development of ed-tech software, but the big payoff is coming later; and it’s all wrapped up in evidence-based policy. I write about Pay for Success and its relationship to testing here. You can access an interactive map of New Profit here. New Profit brought SIBs over from the UK to the US.

Tim Scott has a much more expansive write up here: “Social Impact Bonds: The Titans of Finance As the Altruistic Merchants of Schooling and the Common Good.”

We have to step back and grasp this or we are not going to be able to organize to stop it in time, if that is even possible at this point.”

Understanding why global finance needs our schools to fail is key. Please read up and educate yourself and others.

4 thoughts on “Global Finance Needs Our Schools to Fail”

  1. “Personalized” learning is replacing the code words “blended learning”. Tech is moving in hard and fast with no questions asked. Someone is making a lot of money. Meanwhile, districts are spending oodles of money on screens, not teachers and real hands-on experiential (differentiated) learning in a community.

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    1. KEY PHRASE: “Sure, they’re taking their cut….” And when we hear names like Microsoft, Facebook or Google now pushing to do their part in this “philanthropic” interest in education, it only takes a nanosecond to see that these are TECH companies looking for personal profit.

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  2. Where I live, if you start this kind of talk, people’s eyes roll because they think you have conspiracy theory problems (You lady, wear a tin foil hat!). People living in the suburbs of DC think that tech is great, tech is GOD, computers/tech in schools is great. I sit right in between a Pearson owned county and Dallas Dance’s STAT county. Parents buy into the testing madness because they are so competitive with EVERYTHING that their children do and they want to compare their children with “the others”. If I have to hear my child is a stellar_____ (insert whatever) one more time, I think I’ll puke! It’s laughable! You would think that in a county as diverse in ethnicity and wealth, that the parents would be demanding more than CC aligned curriculum, PARCC , digital learning, digital science labs, digital language courses. All the parents want is more tech, more AP classes, more SAT sessions. No one here thinks 10 years down the road because their children will be done with the public school system by then. It’s all about “ME” where I live. I’m sorry, but democracy is gone. Democracy is about “We” and competition is about “Me”. We are living in a very “Me” oriented world, devoid of any good or neighborly feelings. I pity these children.

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