Profit Centers in Schools: Remember how, a couple of weeks ago, I noted that NYC Mayor Michaerl Bloombberg was investing money and influence in a school-board election in Los Angeles? Well, it's over and the billionaires won:
(T)he pervasive media mythology tells us that the fight over the schoolhouse is supposedly a battle between greedy self-interested teachers who don’t care about children and benevolent billionaire “reformers” whose political activism is solely focused on the welfare of kids. Epitomizing the media narrative, the Wall Street Journal casts the latter in sanitized terms, re-imagining the billionaires as philanthropic altruists “pushing for big changes they say will improve public schools.”Woody'll guarantee you: These skeevy, greasy, skin-flint goat-fuckers do not give a reeking, dripping, runny, globular SHIT about children's educations. Only the money they can scoop out and run away with.
The first reason to scoff at this mythology should be obvious: it simply strains credulity to insist that pedagogues who get paid middling wages but nonetheless devote their lives to educating kids care less about those kids than do the Wall Street hedge funders and billionaire CEOs who finance the so-called “reform” movement. Indeed, to state that pervasive assumption out loud is to reveal how utterly idiotic it really is – and yet it is baked into almost all of today’s coverage of education politics.
Now the Walton family — which derives its fortune from the Arkansas-based Walmart — is trying to use that fortune to bring Walmart-style education to Los Angeles.
The Waltons have long supported efforts to privatize education through the Walton Family Foundation as well as individual political donations to local candidates. Since 2005, the Waltons have given more than $1 billion to organizations and candidates who support privatization. They’ve channeled the funds to the pro-charter and pro-voucher Milton Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, Michelle Rhee’s pro-privatization and high-stakes testing organization Students First, and the pro-voucher Alliance for School Choice, where Walton family member Carrie Walton Penner sits on the board.
In addition to funding these corporate-style education reform organizations, since 2000 the Waltons have also spent more than $24 million bankrolling politicians, political action committees, and ballot issues in California and elsewhere at the state and local level which undermine public education and literally shortchange students.
To Complete the Nightmare: Collecting and selling student/school data to private mfgrs to use to develop apps to SELL to schools as part of an IT curriculum? This IS Orwellian.
This coordination, in turn, is likely to attract even more technology entrepreneurs to a market for educational IT spending estimated to be worth $20 billion in 2013. And similar to the way that electronic health records promise to reduce costs and increase efficiency and effectiveness in medicine, the use of centrally hosted data, says Streichenberger, offers similar cost savings and improvements in education.Collecting student data, which properly BELONGS to the students themselves, and selling it to IT "entrepreneurs" eagerly looking for ways to get into the School "money-pot," seems pretty skeevy to me. Maybe they can use it to develop better "tests."
But the very moves that make this idea a huge opportunity from the point of view of edtech entrepreneurs—the ability to find a large market for learning games and systems all in one place, to pull student data automatically, and to coordinate effortlessly with other apps—makes parents “horrified,” in the words of school activist Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters.
“There are no limitations on the time-frame, or the kind of data. There’s no provision for parental consent or opt-out. The point is to give our kids’ data away for free, and share it as widely as possible with for-profit ventures to help them market and develop their learning products,” she says. ”For-profit vendors are slavering right now at the prospect of being able to get their hands on this info. and market billions of dollars of worth of so-called solutions to our schools.”
“Developing better tests of student learning in the 21st century is as futile as attempting to find a faster horse and buggy would have been in the 20th century.” Douglas Reeves, “A Framework for Assessing 21st Century Skills”...According to Reeves, It is “not possible to reconcile the demands of 21st century skills with the realities of the traditional testing environment.”
A boycott by Seattle teachers of a widely used standardized test has attracted national attention and given new momentum to a growing protest movement that seeks to limit standardized testing in U.S. public schools.
But bigotry, bias, and discrimination are NOT "racism."
Racism is found, it CONSISTS, in the social consensus which PERMITS certain bigotries and biases to occur for the (implicit) purpose to disempower a despised minority, to injure them, to deny or deprive them of their just share of the social "goods" enjoyed in consequence of our 'corporate' associations.
It is not the acts themselves, but the conditions that permit them to go unrebuked, unremarked, that is 'racism.'
This is why, to the inevitable fury and consternation of so many, I can confidently say there are virtually ZERO incidents of "reverse racism" in the USofA, because there are very very very few cases wherein blacks COULD employ racial bigotry, bias, or discrimination to oppress whites.