The Globalization of “Lifelong” Corporate-Technocratic Education: “Classrooms without Walls,” Teachers without Degrees

by John Klyczek for The Saker Blog

Throughout candidate Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, The Donald spewed slogans of “America First” nationalism that were the bedrock of his electioneering rhetoric. But apparently, this was all just con-game carnival barking because Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has announced that the fascistic merger of the United States Department of Labor with the US Department of Education will restructure the two departments together into a unitary Department of Education and the Workforce that will be modeled after the European workforce “charter-schooling” systems of the United Kingdom (UK), the Netherlands, and Switzerland [1].

After visiting these foreign countries, Secretary DeVos reported her observations in an op-ed for Education Week, which recommends emulating these European nations to revamp American “school choice” reforms because “the Netherlands and the United Kingdom show that high student achievement is possible with robust parental choice and flexibility for educators [2]. Switzerland shows the benefit of giving students a wide variety of career options through apprenticeships. Most importantly, these countries show that a commitment to freedom in education can produce student success.” In the long run, DeVos is gearing up to conglomerate America’s privatized charter school corporations into international public-private partnerships with European workforce-schooling programs so that US workforce training can “catch up” to international school-to-work standards.

Even prior to her tour of these European workforce-ed systems, DeVos delivered the keynote address to the third International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) held in Winterthur, Switzerland, where she preemptively asserted that “[t]here is much to learn from our European counterparts as they continue to advance education options centered on the needs of individual students and focused on their ability to succeed in the modern economy . . . The proof is in the results as Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom continue to out-perform American students on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).”

To be sure, there have long been international public-private partnerships contracted between European and American edu-companies through corporate-government partnerships across US and European schooling systems. For some time now, the UK Pearson Education Corporation, which owns and operates virtual-online charter schools across America and abroad, has been dominating the corporate education market in the United States. As such, DeVos’s globalist plan to copy European school-to-work privatization is a greenlight for Pearson and other European workforce-conditioning businesses to accelerate their corporate-international takeover of American “school choice” through public-private workforce-training partnerships that implement adaptive-learning software which operantly condition students through online “career-pathways” curriculums that digitally data-mine each student’s “individualized” “social and emotional learning (SEL)” algorithms for workforce placement in a globally planned economy [3].

Case and point: Connections Academy’s commercial chain of online-virtual charter school corporations, which were formerly owned by an American business executive based out of Maryland, USA, until Pearson bought out the parent company, Connections Education, in 2011.

Connections Academy (Pearson PLC): The London-based Pearson PLC, which is the “world’s largest education company,” is widely known for publishing textbooks and formulating standardized tests for schools across the globe [4]. What may not be so well known, though, is the fact that the Pearson Corporation also owns and operates globalist virtual charter schools that implement “personalized” adaptive-learning technetronics.

In 2011, Pearson paid $400 million to buy out the Maryland-USA-based Connections Education, which is a globalist, for-profit edu-company that manages a subsidiary corporation called Connections Academy. The Pearson-owned Connections Academy proudly announces that it operates numerous virtual-online charter schools “in 21 states in the US—serving more than 40,000 students in the current school year.” These British-owned US charter schools include Georgia Connections Academy Charter School, Oregon Connections Academy, California Connections Academy @ Ripon, and Maine Connections Academy.

There is even an International Connections Academy (iNaCa) that enrolls student bodies across multiple nations and integrates them into a single virtual-online classroom for corporate-fascist workforce conditioning. The International Connections Academy describes itself as “a virtual private school [that] meets individual needs through high quality instruction and enriching, rigorous curriculum; empowers students to be self-directed and reflective learners who actively participate in our global society through innovative 21st century technology; and builds the essential skills necessary for college or career readiness.” Stated differently, International Connections is a corporate-globalist virtual school that “individual[izes]” academic and career-training curriculums through “self-directed” learning modules on CBE-style internet platforms [5].

Furthermore, by virtually corralling the student bodies of sovereign nation states into a single computerized school box, and then digitally conditioning the students for “career-readiness” in a “global society,” iNaCa is the posterchild for the future of virtual workforce charter schooling in the fascistically planned global economy of the technocratic New World Order. In a Pearson blog article titled “When Classrooms Have No Walls,” the International Connections Academy School Director, Hannah Rinehart, publicizes how iNaCa “puts a premium on the development of the ‘global student.’ Through programs like ‘Around The World in 60 Minutes,’ young learners are exposed to and engage with students in other countries during guided sessions that maximize the myriad benefits of the conference. Virtual students on both ends of the exchange work to prepare presentations on aspects of their traditions and daily lives that they would like to share with their virtual classmates around the world.” This psycho-behavioral conditioning of the “global student” through “career-readiness” curriculums at the Pearson-owned iNaCa virtually programs students to conform as corporate citizens of a fascistically planned global political-economy [6].

Pearson PLC is also operating other for-profit schools abroad as part of “Pearson’s 11 equity investments in programs across Asia and Africa serving more than 360,000 students,” reports Wired Magazine. These globalist charter schools include APEC Schools in the Philippines and Omega Schools in Ghana, the latter of which enrolls students based on a “Pay-As-You-Learn™” system. Similar to Pearson’s Connections Academy subsidiaries, APEC and Omega Schools are both virtual schools that rely on blended-learning classrooms that hybridize human-teacher instruction with CBE-style adaptive-software instruction [7].

According to the Wall Street Journal, the British Pearson Corporation even bankrolls the US-based Bridge International Academies (BIA) Corporation, which runs chains of commercial charter school companies through globalist public-private partnerships with foreign governments.

Bridge International Academies (BIA): The Bridge Academies model of public-private charter schooling is self-described by the international edu-corporation as an “Academy in a Box,” which employs “personalized”/“individualized” learning pedagogy through a blended-learning methodology that teaches students with adaptive-learning ed-tech. According to Mail & Guardian Africa, “Bridge’s model is ‘school in a box’ – a highly structured, technology-driven model that relies on teachers reading standardised lessons from hand-held tablet computers.” However, Bridge’s so-called “teachers” are not actually real teachers at all.

BIA’s standardized computer lessons are not taught by certified educators who hold specialized bachelors’ or masters’ degrees: “Bridge hires education experts to script the lessons, but the teacher’s role is to deliver that content to the class. This allows Bridge to hold down costs because it can hire teachers who don’t have college degrees – a teacher is only required to go through a five-week training programme on how to read and deliver the script.” To put it another way, BIA para-teachers need only be competent in navigating and operating the basic functions of the stimulus-response adaptive-learning tablets; they need not be competent in any of the actual academic content being taught in the adaptive-learning modules, which means they need possess no expert knowledge of reading, writing, arithmetic, or science.

As a result, BIA’s school-in-a-tablet technetronics become virtual substitutes for the human authorities over the curriculum, and the college-educated, certified teacher is replaced with a paraprofessional tutor who merely facilitates the standardized tablet lessons after less than two months of training.

Like all “individualized”-learning technologies, BIA’s adaptive-learning tablets “personalize” edu-conditioning lessons based on a student’s cognitive-behavioral stimulus-response algorithms that are data-mined from his or her responses to digital stimuli programmed for specific career or academic learning pathways. Jacqueline Walumbe, a spokesperson for BIA, applauds how Bridge’s “school in a box” computer tablets are “powered by the two-way movement of data in near-real time” that “collect[s] information on what lessons work best, [so] educators can improve lessons for all children.” In other words, each student’s “two-way” stimulus-response data on “competency-based” software are tabulated by BIA’s hi-tech “Skinner boxes” to individuate “what lessons work best” through adaptive-learning algorithms [8].

According to Walumbe, Bridge’s adaptive-competency data-mining computers have supposedly enabled Liberian students to learn “at twice the speed of their peers” in non-Bridge schools. Based on these self-reported BIA statistics, corporate raiders of public education are already begging the following question: if such stimulus-response operant-conditioning computers can in fact double learning outcomes at a fraction of the cost of college-certified teachers, then why not get rid of all those expensive human beings who teach from the archaic expertise of their paper-and-pencil university studies?

Indeed, according to the New York Times, the Liberian government signed a 2016 contract with Bridge International Academies, which authorizes the for-profit educational corporation to “take charge of 120 government primary schools, 3 percent of the total,” through a public-private project called Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL). The New York Times reports that this privatization contract “could lead to a nationwide charter school system.” Depending on the success of this public-private PSL pilot, the nationwide expansion of BIA Liberia could perhaps catapult into a worldwide system of virtual charter schools packaged inside “personalized” computer boxes.

Today, Bridge International already operates hundreds of schools with thousands of students across India and various African countries, including Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda [9], and it has a US Office as well as a London Office. It is important to note here that although the original corporate headquarters of BIA are located on the continent of Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, the company is owned and operated by two white Americans who graduated from Harvard University: the birthplace of the modern charter school reform movement, where “cradle-to-career” schooling spokesman, Geoffrey Canada, spearheaded his public-private workforce training pedagogy that evolved into the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) corporate charter school system.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the technetronic Bridge International is funded by the corporate-globalist kingpin of charter school philanthropists: techno-plutocrat Bill Gates. Additionally, Bridge Academies is financed by two oligarchical Zuckerberg foundations: Zuckerberg Education Ventures, which is a philanthropy owned by technocrat Mark Zuckerberg himself; and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which is a foundation owned by Mark’s wife, Chan Zuckerberg.

BIA is also bankrolled by the global governance institution, the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group. Moreover, BIA’s corporate-globalist colonization across Third-World Asia and Africa is further subsidized by foreign aid investments from Western governments, such as the United Kingdom government, which funneled £3.45 million toward the establishment of 250 BIA charter schools in Lagos, Nigeria.

Make America Globalist Again:

Back here in the United States, as the DeVos Administration internationally privatizes US workforce schooling through public-private partnerships with European school-to-work corporations, Pearson PLC’s online-virtual charter schools and other globalist workforce edu-companies will be integrated into America’s nationwide system of state-level P-16 and P-20 councils, which fuse together public departments of education, labor, healthcare, human services, and community-oriented policing into an amalgamation of fascistic public-private partnerships [10].

Reporting on the wonders of her trip across the workforce “charter-schooling” systems of Europe, Secretary DeVos’s op-ed for Education Week recommends that American “school choice” take a state/local-level approach to incorporating international public-private partnerships with European workforce edu-corporations: “[n]ow, simply copying European approaches will not be sufficient—American communities have their own unique challenges and needs. . . . For the United States, lasting and positive changes to education cannot and should not be mandated by the federal government. . . . Instead, forward-thinking states and school districts should take note of the effective approaches found abroad, and they should consider how they can extend educational freedom to their own constituents.” Stated differently, DeVos is prompting state/regional-level P-16/20 councils to coordinate corporate-globalist “school choice” through public-private career-pathways partnerships that are aligned with European workforce training standards, such as the “Post-16 Skills Plan” issued by the UK Minister of State for Skills. Indeed, DeVos lauded how “the ‘Post-16 Skills Plan’ outlin[es] a new technical track for students and formaliz[es] a framework for 15 occupational routes leading to ‘T-level’ qualifications that students receive around age 18. . . . A T-level program prepares students for employment in a skilled trade or pursuit of higher technical/skilled education.”

By cloaking her corporate-globalist scheme in the doublespeak rhetoric of state and local education planning, DeVos can front as if her techno-fascist “school choice” agenda is an attempt to loosen the grips of centralized federal control over America education. Yet in actuality, this ostensibly bottom-up approach to international public-private schooling is really just a back-door stratagem to provide cover for ultimately overriding both the US federal government and US state governments through public-private P-16/20 council partnerships with globalist charter school companies which will effectively result in top-down international regulation of US education. As foreign edu-corporations and international workforce-ed standards are woven more thoroughly into the legal framework of P-16/20 councils in the United States, America’s publicly elected education system will in time be effectively transferred to the international authority of the unelected United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) under the auspices of UNESCO’s “lifelong learning” standards [11].

UNESCO spawned a global “lifelong learning” pedagogy for cradle-to-career workforce schooling that has been disseminated through the publications of UNESCO’s Towards a Conceptual Model of Lifelong Education in 1973 and UNESCO’s Foundations of Lifelong Education in 1976 (Iserbyt 141). The principles of lifelong school-to-work set forth in these UNESCO documents are aligned with UNESCO’s International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) published in Paris, France, in 1976 and UNESCO’s International Standards of Operation (ISO), which are classified into ISO 9000 for manufacturing standards and ISO 1400 for human resources standards (Iserbyt xxi, 138) [12]. At the third International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET), Secretary DeVos dog-whistled her true intent to revivify these lifelong UN-learning standards in the United States by touring Europe’s workforce-schooling systems to copy international best practices for career-path education and then transfer them back to the US: “I look forward to this important opportunity to learn from European education leaders and to exchange ideas on how to ensure America’s students have access to the lifelong learning journey that will put them on the path to success.”

If we unpack the ulterior meanings of the UNESCO jargon in this loaded statement from DeVos, her true motive behind her applause for EU workforce-ed is unveiled: her mission to interlock America’s public-private P-16/20 partnerships together with European career-path privatization partnerships that are regulated under the global governance of UNESCO “lifelong learning” statutes which standardize workforce placement in a planned world economy.

These globalist reaches of DeVos’s techno-fascist plot to corporatize workforce-ed through multinational public-private partnerships with online-virtual charter school companies may be a relatively new frontier in American education. But in fact, the seeds of this fascist-international future of corporate-technocratic schooling were sown in the late nineteenth century when Johanne Gottlieb Fichte’s Prussian system of militarized education was copied by Skull-and-Bones liaison, Horace Mann, who transported Fichte’s collectivist pedagogy across the Atlantic Ocean to be installed as the basis of compulsory workforce schooling in the United States [13]. Fichte, who was an associate of the Bavarian Illuminati (Sutton 34, 79), is not only considered to be the godfather of national-socialist fascism; he is likewise the regarded as the progenitor of cosmopolitan-globalist fascism, otherwise known today by the contemporary euphemistic terms of “free trade” globalization, or “free market” globalism. In his Addresses to the German Nation, Fichte pontificates on the cosmopolitan bent of his proto-fascist education philosophy: “[s]o this German and very modern art of the State becomes once more the very ancient art of the State, which among the Greeks founded citizenship on education and trained such citizens as succeeding ages have never seen. Henceforth the German will do what is in form the same, though in content it will be characterized by a spirit that is not narrow and exclusive, but universal and cosmopolitan” [14].

Today in 2018, more than two hundred years after the publication of his Addresses to the German Nation in 1808, Fichte’s Prussian model of proto-fascistic school training is being refined by computerized stimulus-response methods of psycho-behavioral adaptive-learning that can be commercially mass-produced and distributed across the entire planet through market globalization and trade liberalization which facilitate public-private partnerships between multinational charter school corporations contracting with national governments that align workforce-conditioning curriculums with international standards.

In the future, as “personalized” adaptive-learning computers become the dominant providers of edu-conditioning across the planet, computers will thereby dominate the “outdated” human beings who once administered education. In this redundant technocratic system where computers are programmed to program students to work computerized jobs in a digitally planned global economy, the final equation will inevitably render human cognitive-behavioral labor obsolete, and computers will effectively become the dominant species on the planet as human cognition is eventually surpassed by automated quantum computing and artificial intelligence.

Footnotes:

[1] In the UK’s Kingdom of England, is corporatizing their public education system through privatized “academies” and “free schools,” which are the semantic equivalent of America’s public-private charter schools.
[2] In my article, “The Corporatization of Education,” I explicate how the buzz phrase “school choice” is nothing more than a hucksterish code phrase for the corporate-fascist privatization of public education through public-private charter schools, publicly subsidized private school vouchers, and other public-private school partnerships.
[3] In a June 28th, 2018, Tweet from the official Twitter account of the US Department of Education, Secretary DeVos posted the hashtag “#SEL” in an endorsement for socioemotional-learning methodologies. In a 2016 issue of The Federalist, an article titled “Schools Ditch Academics for Emotional Manipulation” documents how SEL programs are geared to improve learning outcomes by “personalizing” instruction based on mass data-mining of students’ psycho-behavioral qualities such as “self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making” as well as “resilience, teamwork, curiosity, and leadership.”
[4] In 2016, a Ugandan High Court ruling ordered BIA to be barred from reopening in 2018 due to failures to meet government regulations regarding sanitation and teacher training. Nonetheless, Bridge Academies has flagrantly defied the court order by continuing to operate their Uganda schools with total disregard of edicts from Uganda’s First Lady and Minister of Education, Janet Museveni, who declared “that the impunity being exhibited by Bridge Management, and its likes, will not be tolerated and that Government will spare no effort to use all legal means to enforce the requirements of the Law to protect our children and our future, as a country.”
[5] In 1968, the godfather of computer-machine teaching himself, Harvard Psychology Professor B. F. Skinner, foreshadowed the evolution of “individualized” teaching machines into virtual-online courses that can be attended on the internet through computer devices stationed in the comfort of each student’s own home. In his fifty-year-old book, The Technology of Teaching, Skinner foresaw that “[s]elf-instruction by machine has many special advantages apart from educational institutions. Home study is an obvious case” (56).
[6] One hundred years after Harvard Professor of Education, Alexander Inglis, authored his “six basic functions” of schooling, iNaCa has virtually perfected Inglis’s “adjustive/adaptive function” and his “integrating function” of workforce conditioning on a global scale by digitally conditioning students to conform to corporate-technofascist authority over global political-economic planning. For a detailed breakdown of Inglis’s adjustive/adaptive and integrating functions of education, see “Part 3” of my “Virtual School in a Computerized Box” series.
[7] However, the noble and lofty rhetoric behind Pearson’s global education agenda should be held in light of a Huffington Post investigation, which reports that “[i]n 2013, the Pearson Charitable Foundation paid $7.7 million in fines in New York State to reach an out-of-court settlement after the Office of the State Attorney General found the Foundation had broken state laws by generating business for the for-profit [Pearson Education] company.” Additionally, the FBI confiscated twenty boxes of documentation during an investigation into alleged “complicity between officials in LAUSD [Los Angeles Unified School District], Pearson, the Pearson Foundation, representatives of Apple, and America Choice, a Pearson affiliate, to influence a LAUSD contract decision [with Pearson] and circumvent the bidding process.”
[8] “Competency-based education” (CBE) is a pedagogical buzzword that semantically spins the older “outcomes-based education” (OBE) pedagogy by upgrading the behaviorist operant-conditioning methods of OBE into hi-tech “Skinner box” “teaching machines” that are programmed for workforce training. For a thorough history of psycho-behavioral workforce-conditioning technology from OBE to CBE, see my article “Secretary DeVos, Neurocore, and Competency-Based Workforce Training.”
[9] Pearson VUE formulates the General Education Degree (GED) high school equivalency test through a public-private partnership with the American Council on Education that was acquired in 2011, resulting in the GED price being raised by approximately seventy percent in most states. Pearson is also contracted with the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) to formulate and proctor the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) for admitting students to graduate-level business colleges. In addition, Pearson Virtual University Enterprises (VUE) also formulates and administers the state-level teacher certification tests for various American states, such as the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE), the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations™ (NYSTCE®), The Indiana CORE Assessments for Educator Licensure, the Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS), the Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests (PECT), and the Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE).
[10] For a thorough breakdown of how P(K)16-20 councils fuse public schooling with other public governance agencies through public-private partnerships, see my following two articles: “National Charter School Fascism” and “Corporate-Fascist Workforce Training for the Hegelian State“.
[11] Don’t be fooled by Trump’s recent proclamation that the United States has pulled out from its membership in UNESCO. The official notice of “withdrawal” by the US Department of State on October 12, 2017, declares that America’s UNESCO status will merely be demoted from full membership only “to establish a permanent observer mission to UNESCO [from the US] . . . in order to contribute U.S. views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organization, including . . . promoting scientific collaboration and education.” To put it another way, notwithstanding neo-con Trump’s blustering grandstand, the United States will still be “observ[ing]” and “contribut[ing]” to UNESCO’s worldwide regulations for standardizing international “scientific collaboration and education” for “lifelong learning” outcomes across the planet—the USA just won’t be allowed to officially vote on any final decisions arbitrated by official UNESCO councils or committees.
[12] The USA is also a signatory to UNESCO’s international education treaty entitled the Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials. In addition, it should be noted that, in 1990, the World Conference on Education for All was sponsored by UNESCO and the World Bank, and it was also “[c]onvened by the executive heads of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), [and] the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF)” (Iserbyt 270).
[13] In my article, “Corporate-Fascist Workforce Training for the Hegelian State,” I outline how the corporate-fascist political-economics driving the cradle-to-career charter school takeover are rooted in the proto-Nazi philosophies of Johann Gottlieb Fichte, who was the philosophical predecessor of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. In fact, it was Fichte, not Hegel, who conceptualized the dialectical theory of the historical and sociopolitical evolution of “the State”; Hegel merely popularized Fichte’s dialectic which the latter originated in his Foundations of the Science of Knowledge. My article also historicizes how the Gospel of Hegelianism was spread throughout American schools by the Yale secret society of Skull and Bones, otherwise known as The Order of Death (or the Russell Trust Association). Specifically, my article documents how The Order of Death imported Fichte’s Prussian system of militarized edu-conditioning into America’s compulsory schooling system while manipulating the Fichtean-Hegelian dialectic to co-opt the leftwing-rightwing political discourse over US educational policy and hence steer American public schooling incrementally toward corporate-fascist workforce training through career-pathways curriculums.
[14] To be sure, there tends to be a rift between those scholars who view Fichte as the wellspring of proto-Nazism and those who view Fichte as a beacon of cosmopolitanism. Generally, those scholars who revere Fichte as a liberal cosmopolitanist are those who tend to be apologists attempting to rescue him from the condemnations of those who denounce him as the philosophical predecessor to Nazi fascism. In brief, it is uncommon to reconcile these two schools of thought. For the purposes of this article, it is not germane to discuss at length here the arguments on either side of this debate. Instead, it will suffice to briefly note here that I have synthesized these opposing characterizations of Fichte by simply applying the very pre-Hegelian method of dialectical reasoning coined by Fichte himself.
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John Klyczek has an MA in English and has taught college rhetoric and research argumentation for over seven years. His literary scholarship concentrates on the history of global eugenics and Aldous Huxley’s dystopic novel, Brave New World. He is a contributor to the Centre for Research on Globalization, OpEdNews, the Intrepid Report, the Dissident Voice, Blacklisted News, the Activist Post, Rense, News With Views, and Natural News. He is also the Director of Writing and Editing at Black Freighter Productions (BFP) Books.  (This article is excerpted from Klyczek’s soon-to-be-released book, School World Order: The Technocratic Corporatization of Education, which can be pre-ordered from Trine Day Press).

References:

Iserbyt, Charlotte Thomson.  The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America: A Chronological Paper Trail. Revised and Abridged Ed.  Parkman, OH: Conscience Press, 2011.  Print.
Skinner, B. F. The Technology of Teaching. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1968. Print.
Sutton, Antony C. America’s Secret Establishment: An Introduction to the Order of Skull and Bones. Updated Reprint. Walterville, OR: Trine Day, 2002. Print.

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