Education: America’s Next Extractive Industry

The following poem was presented as my 3-minute testimony at the Philadelphia School Reform Commission’s monthly meeting held September 14, 2017.

Our children, your profit centers.

Their data, digital toil,

your oil.

Not to sell…outright,

 

But to collect and package

for the gamblers of global finance.

Titles and social standing held out.

Such a terrible temptation to frack children for time behind the velvet rope.

 

Impact investors, “social” ones, cloak exploits in justice

starve schools

play a long game

nudge, nudge, nudge us in the direction they want us to go.

 

Towards the “Infinite Campus” and say

The city is your classroom!

Go out and learn anytime, anywhere.

It’s all good, Future-Ready, innovative, personalized!

No need for neighborhood schools.

Expensive

20th century

Human

And humans simply do not deliver data with fidelity.

 

So, tablets for the littles

Chrome books

Smart phones for “lifelong learning”

Algorithms, optimizing us for a dystopian economy.

Know what we do.

Where we go.

How we think.

How we feel.

How we RATE.

 

In a world of divide and conquer.

We are quantified, always.

A digital divide back-filled with surveillance.

“Smart” cities, Internet of Things, machineQ.

 

Community partners are standing by.

Mentors? By Americorps?

Deliver a solid ROI in the value chain

of securitized education data futures markets!

 

Readying kids for workforce pathways.

Laid out in refined rooms of tony clubs

behind velvet ropes.

For other people’s children.

 

Exhausted, many acquiesce to digital “solutions” engineered to harvest

proof of physical presence

knowledge

mindset

compliance

 

Measuring “growth,” proof of success.

Competencies generated and verified.

Payments issued, automated.

Life on the Blockchain ledger. Are we ready?

 

Social impact investing rests on a foundation of data.

Rockefeller, Third Sector, Federal Reserve

Know it’s coming, coming, coming

Though yet unseen, by most.

 

It rides the coat tails of the David Osbornes.

The Commission for Evidence-Based Policy Making

Mission Related Investments, strategically spent

To reinvent all things PUBLIC into private, profit.

 

Nothing personal, just the logic of the market.

State-finance nexus, what global capital demands.

Forests logged, air poisoned, oil pumped.

Digital data extraction IS the next logical frontier.

 

Can you afford to pay it no mind?

Choose your own reality?

Augmented, on-demand, iPhone enabled?

For a price, they DO make virtual an enticing option.

 

But not for me, which is why

I speak my truth, in chalk, on public walks

and wear jeans

to the Master’s House.

 

It kept me out of the room

but amplified my message, over a thousand times

despite the mantra of the bow tie crowd

that it would never be heard.

 

4 thoughts on “Education: America’s Next Extractive Industry”

  1. Allison, I hope we have a chance to discuss how we can craft strategies to counter this dehumanization/privatization of education at the NPE Conference in Oakland (after all, I did come across the continent to Philadelphia for the UOO Conf.!).

    Like

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