Is Universal Pre-K Legislation A Set Up For “Lifelong Learning?”

I’m worried about universal pre-k.

Let me repeat. I’m VERY worried about universal pre-k.

I worried when Michael Bloomberg and John Arnold supported it in Philadelphia.

I worried when I learned about social impact bonds and “pay for success” finance.

I worry few people know about these new methods of intrusive pre-k data collection:

vests holding digital recorders that count words spoken to babies;

play tables with video cameras to record and assess group play dynamics;

gamified education that tracks engagement with content;

apps to nudge proper parenting behaviors via text; and

playground equipment with QR codes for phone-based recreational learning

Today’s preschoolers will grow up in this new world order.

It is being built around them.

They’re the test cases for Global Education Futures’ dystopian 2035 agenda.

gef poster

The econometricians have crunched the numbers.

The pathways are finalized.

The badge systems and learning lockers ready.

They’ve lined up early adopter states to promote the “Swiss Model.”

2/3 of students will be shunted into work-based education with “stackable credentials.”

They’ll curate a personal brand to compete in globalized digital labor markets.


At each step, data will be vacuumed up.

Knowledge, mindset, and compliance captured digitally, indefinitely.

Predictive analytics and “risk scoring,” to evaluate human capital potential in real time.

Impact investors demand to know “what works” to net them the best rate of return.

Universal pre-k will push children into the “social impact investing” value chain.

Meanwhile, Lumina Foundation, chambers of commerce, venture philanthropists, tech, United Way, and their ilk await the legislation that will green-light this futures market.

Human Value Chain Infographic

Below is an infographic I developed to show how “re-designed” education, global digital labor markets and social impact investing intersect. This program of human systems engineering is framed as “lifelong learning.” You can also download a PDF here.

lifelong learning biocapitalism-2

California Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, chair of the budget subcommittee on education finance, dropped a package of universal pre-k bills in December, ready for the state’s new governor. Gavin Newsom, a tech/venture philanthropy-supported candidate, has come out strongly in support of expanded early childhood education. Click here for interactive version of map below.

kevin mccarty ece ca

But outgoing Governor Jerry Brown offered words of caution in a recent interview with John Harris of Politico. Though as one California parent noted, it’s actually a case of too little, too late, since the infrastructure that will subordinate public education to workforce interests was installed on his watch. While he may have protected the teachers somewhat, children remain on the front lines.

Brown does not mention impact investing or the Heckman Equation, even though Heckman and Pritzker spent a lot of time courting community foundations in the state. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s “Choose Children” Campaign had done a full court press on the “early childhood education” investment vehicle “No Small Measure” that featured Robert Dugger and Heckman’s work last September. I’ll be writing a follow up on that next.

Check out the trailer and then read what Jerry Brown has to say about computers, control, measuring and ranking.

choose children tour

Former Governor Jerry Brown’s words of caution on Cal-PASS Pre-K to Workforce Pathways:

Harris: What’s an example of that (totalitarianism) being pushed by the liberals?

Brown: An example would be measuring each individual child from preschool to beyond college, and keeping those as permanent records in the computer, that would measure discipline and mental attributes. Just the general centralization of information, which is being billed as the way to help the poor but which will enable an authoritarian to totally monopolize and control the society.

In fact, we have something called “Cal-PASS,” a state computer, which I kept in check. And I think now it’ll be full throttle to collect as much possible data and measure people in all sorts of ways. I think it’s dangerous. I don’t think it’s very useful, except for academics who have to write theses and do research. We had one on the teachers, which we stopped.

See, the trouble is the computer can collect a lot of information and regurgitate it in many different ways, and people are fascinated by that. Controlling and measuring everything. … We’re all ranked. And who’s it for? Now, if it’s for the academics, they’re relatively harmless. But then it’s going to ultimately be used, at some point, and it has kind of a smell of eugenics, that we want to purify this kind of motley race called human beings and if we can measure all the different attributes, we can then make normative the right path and the right way to be. I think that is the absence of diversity and the absence of freedom.

I would just say, spoken in a somewhat abstract level—it’s not just me who says that. I mean, there are political theorists who notice that the welfare state and the warfare state work hand in hand. They both want to see more power. They want more engineering of things. And, in many ways, that’s mass society, that’s an inevitable trend. But we do need to—we, the government—so that it can function is guard against that. And some of these big issues are not thought about.”

From Jerry Brown’s Midnight in America by John Harris for Politico


3 thoughts on “Is Universal Pre-K Legislation A Set Up For “Lifelong Learning?”

  1. Mary Porter says:

    I wish somebody would post this link in the comments on those You tube videos. Google won’t let me into my account.

Comments are closed.