I know a number of activists out there are working to raise awareness around the brutality of third grade reading guarantees. These laws demand students achieve a specific score on standardized reading test. If they do not, they can’t advance to the next grade. I wrote this short introduction with the idea that it could be shared with people who are not yet aware of the speculative financial underpinnings linked to these laws.
“Pay for success” was embedded into federal education law with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Public-private partnerships, in coordination with investors, are embracing this form of “innovative finance,” catalyzing new markets in human capital. Digital platforms, including ed-tech and online behavioral services, are designed to generate data for the evaluation of outcomes-based contracts. That is what is behind the push for expanded screen-time and benchmark testing in schools.
It’s known as “collective impact,” and the Strive Network based in Cincinnati is working with United Way chapters across the country to advance data-driven education and social services to meet the demands of this burgeoning investment market. Children are being turned into data so the debt associated with funds allocated to provide education and social services to them can be traded on global markets (like bundled mortgages prior to the 2008 crash).
A “cradle to career roadmap” with set achievement metrics has been created with benchmarks where impact evaluation will be imposed as a requirement of outcomes-based contracts. These include: kindergarten readiness, fourth and eighth grade reading scores, and graduation rates. While the early phase of this investment market focused on social impact bonds (SIBs), other, more flexible, contracting arrangements are being piloted now. Billionaire, now Illinois governor, JB Pritzker backed the Chicago pre-k SIB. It was among the first to include a pay out based on third grade literacy scores. Source
National campaigns to “Read by Fourth” are cultivating this impact investment market. It’s not about helping children read. It’s not about reducing class size, or hiring certified reading teachers, or restoring school libraries, or providing students access to abundant books of their choice. No, it is about plugging students into digital interventions that will profile them and harvest academic and behavioral data to feed investment markets. Hedge funds intend to literally gamble on children’s futures (life outcomes data), and they have no reticence about plugging students into devices to accomplish this goal. Third grade reading guarantee legislation is an integral part of the plan.
We must recognize that those in charge understand it’s developmentally inappropriate and harmful to children, teachers, and the learning process. They simply don’t care. They’ve been charged with building a machine to keep global capital moving. They are following orders. To stop this will require a broad campaign of non-cooperation at all levels: parents, students, and educators. That is where your power is. Spending time to educate those imposing this system of human capital speculation, thinking that somehow they don’t already know the truth, is not a good investment of resources. Talk to one another. Tell them about the “collective impact” human capital machine. Get your wrenches and be prepared to take direct action. Do it now. Time is of the essence.
For more information:
Gambling On Our Futures-Social Impact Bonds: Here
Strive and Human Capital Supply Chains: Here
Interoperable Databases and Commodities Trading: Here
Read By Fourth Campaign: Here