Part Two: The Obama 20/20 plan for higher education: Chump change you can’t believe in
“We are not speaking of education in the narrower sense, but of that other education in virtue from youth upwards, which makes a man eagerly pursue the ideal perfection of citizenship, and teaches him how rightly to rule and how to obey. This is the only education which, upon our view, deserves the name; that other sort of training, which aims at the acquisition of wealth or bodily strength, or mere cleverness apart from intelligence and justice, is mean and illiberal, and is not worthy to be called education at all.”
Plato, Laws I, 643e
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As I wrote in part one of this series: Obama’s 20/20 plan: “chump change you can’t believe in”, there are two prongs to the Obama educational plan. One, which we spoke of in the first part of this article, is the funneling of students into more and more debt by declaring that 60% of students must have a college degree by 2020 (http://www.dailycensored.com/the-obama-2020-plan-for-education-chump-change-you-cant-believe-in/). With no jobs in sight and those that do exist continuously being contracted out to third world countries as well as robotized, the insidious and perfidious plan asks students to borrow more and more money to buy a financialized, commodified diploma from for-profit predatory colleges, public and non-public institutions subsidized by loans and debt from Wall Street stock-traded Sallie Mae and other private Wall Street banking institutions.
However, the second prong of the Obama plan is even more pernicious, for it shackles education to little more than a school-to-work curriculum and thus evaporates any hope for meaningful education for students. This is the ‘student learning outcomes’ (SLO’s) part of the two prong plan and here (the new Race to the Top for higher education), in part two and following in part three, we will look at the SLO’s, what is slated for students in the future of higher education, the proposed federalization of the Department of Education (DOE) and the subsequent concentration of power in the DOE’s hands along with who, why and what organizations are really behind this sordid plans.
The Obama Race to the Top policy for higher education is a cold, calculating strategy that seeks to put students on the conveyor belt for monetization and harvesting by Wall Street. It is all about ‘competing with China’ for what the US ruling class calls the new jobs of the 21st century and as such, students are little more than cogs in a ruthless plan to maintain American dominance of the world stage, as the country struggles to forestall its eventual and inevitable fall as a world Empire.
Student learning outcomes (SLO’s) and the Race to the Top for Higher Education
The University of Rhode Island defines student learning outcomes this way:
“Student learning outcomes or SLOs are statements that specify what students will know, be able to do or be able to demonstrate when they have completed or participated in a program/activity/course/project. Outcomes are usually expressed as knowledge, skills, attitudes or values” (http://www.uri.edu/assessment/media/public/page_files/uri/outcomes/student/outcomes/outcomes_tools/Handout_Student_Learning_Outcomes_101__8_7_06.pdf).
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Sounds innocuous enough, right? After all who would argue against student assessment; certainly no one I know of. However, like most proposals from the neo-liberal government of the US and their handmaidens — the corporations, the politicians, ‘private stink tanks’, the universities and colleges themselves, the devil is in the details.
Student learning outcomes for higher education have been bandied about for years now. Colleges and universities have been under intense and heavy pressure, especially under the Bush administration and then Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings and others, to be more accountable for how successfully they educate students. But as we will see, the real issue has nothing to do with education, it is all about creating a curriculum that will ‘train’ students, not educate them, to compete with China and other countries in South East Asia and elsewhere. The American ruling class sees the development of a school-to-work curriculum based on emerging technologies as their only hope in assuring imperial rule.
In light of all this educational rhetoric and policy transformations, many faculty members and college leaders have complained that their efforts to educate and authentically assess students have been unfairly dismissed and that the critics have promoted oversimplified and negative approaches to measuring and reporting student learning outcomes, such as an overemphasis on inauthentic standardized tests. However, according to the Department of Education this is simply too bad. Democratic governance is now a thing of the past as corporate control of education has taken a major step forward.
Accountability, data driven testing, inauthentic student assessment based on rote memorization, and forcing teachers to become dispensaries of mis-educational initiatives is the hallmark of the Spellings and now Duncan administration and the design of corporate education. It is the new Race to the Top and if teachers do not like it, then so be it; let them quit. Or better yet, as we will see, teachers themselves will be soon made redundant by robotization and the new Massive Open Online Classes (MOOCs) that will allow the educational industry to do away with most teachers in favor of “mediators” who will attend students in classes on-line with more than one thousand students per teacher (http://educationnext.org/virtual-schools/).
In fact, movements by the Spellings-educational syndicate throughout the decade of 2000 attempted to make a one size fits all ‘core competency’ test that they then could impose on faculty at colleges and universities to promote comparability — competition and productivity. Sound like Race to the Top under Obama? Sure it does and it should; it is the Race to the Top under Obama for higher education policies from the Department of Education that continues to seek to straightjacket teachers into standardized testing while chloroforming contemplative learning and critical thinking in favor of a science and technology based curriculum to be delivered online.
But there is more: the whole Race to the Top ruse is designed to funnel students into technological and science-based course work while destroying a liberal arts education in entirety. No one in the DOE is calling for more accountability or student learning outcomes for philosophy, music, art, humanities, literature or history. The whole clarion call for accountability is largely aimed at the courses the ruling elites believe are necessary or competition with emerging nations.
Not surprisingly, even the overpaid teacher union leadership is on board with attempts to de-bowel meaningful learning in colleges and universities and replace education with training. Back in 2009, Randi Weingarten, the discredited and sell-out union leader for the American Federation of Teachers also called for national standards tied to testing; this was after Obama was elected and Race to the Top for K-12 was in full swing:
“There are many areas in education around which we need to build consensus. A good place to start would be revisiting the issue of national standards. Abundant evidence suggests that common, rigorous standards lead to more students reaching higher levels of achievement” (http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2009-02-16/opinions/36813327_1_rigorous-math-standards-national-standards-federal-standards).
The federal government is using political chiropractics to administer the new Race to the Top for higher education in an effort to align the spine with the K-12 common-core curriculum, along with early childhood education. Now, however, Obama’s latest budget accelerates the program, rapidly moving it into college campuses where chiropractic efforts will bring into line higher education with the commodified K-12 educational body, producing both the destruction of any meaningful education and eventually leading to national standards centralized and controlled by the federal government and tied to online learning and the new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum the rulers say are needed to keep America competitive.
In fact, the new Obama budget is committed to a “competitive grant system”, which is little more than bullying the states, like that which was done to K-12 by Race to the Top, and Obama is dedicating $1 billion for states that make positive changes. “Positive changes” of course, means that in order to ‘get the federal swag’ the states need to mandate what courses must be taken, standardize all testing for students in colleges and universities and then dispense federal privatized educational mandates according to the directives of the Department of Education, little more than a public subsidiary of corporate America.
According to the Department of Education, their efforts:
“Focuses this year’s Race to the Top competition on supporting State efforts to tackle college costs and raise completion levels, while driving innovation and college access through a companion First in the World fund and better leveraging the campus-based aid programs” (ibid).
This soaring rhetoric of ‘access and affordability’ is vacuous and vague and purposely so. Opposition to the Obama SLO movement for higher education is expected, for Race to the Top has been used in K-12 to use monetary policy to reward efforts made by states and individual school districts for making deforms the DOE sees fit and then mandates — and it has been veritably opposed by teachers and students. Many K-12 schools have been forced to implement changes to their curriculum, restructure their budget plans to accommodate new federal mandates, open the doors to charter schools, and revise teacher contracts in an effort to euthanize teacher unions — removing tenure, control of the curriculum and of course imposing inauthentic, privatized assessment.
If the states didn’t do this under the K-12 Race to the Top, they lost financial aid and during a time of fiscal insolvency brought on by years of public defunding of education and the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, this meant they would perish. This is the naked visage of the shock doctrine and it has worked and continues to work.
So, the federal government’s blackmail of K-12 schools has been effective and we can imagine it will continue to be so as the “shock doctrinaires” key up for the wholesale attack on higher education with the same sour song: competition, productivity and free markets are good, teacher unions are bad, student learning outcomes tied to technology and science based learning must replace humanities, assessment must be data driven, teachers should have less control, the federal government knows more about education than teachers and of course school-to-work must be the goal in the great 21st century competition for global dominance.
Teachers and faculty thus have legitimate concerns about how much control they have over what and how they teach in the classroom and how it is assessed; students do as well for they are now considered the ‘product to be produced’ on the assembly line of competition run by the corporations.
Getting teacher buy-in for the dreadful Race to the Top for K-12 has been a difficult chore for the DOE and chariot driver Obama. However, because colleges do not have a universal testing system to gauge performance through data driven assessment, this is now one mechanism that Obama is looking to create. Again, the assessment will rest on the assumption that everyone needs to compete in the monopolized market, which is the hallmark of Race to the Top and thus lends understanding to its name.
The expansion of Race to the Top to colleges has not been discussed in detail much by the DOE under Obama. However, the timing is right for such a grubby plan, for Obama and Duncan, along with their financiers like Gates and The Lumina Foundation, have gotten away, by and large, with both imposing inauthentic, data driven assessment on students and teachers and socially engineering the educational landscape to the detriment of teaching, learning and any semblance of democratic governing.
What we do know about the new Race to the Top for higher education is that President Barack Obama’s plan, which he is fleshed out in a speech at the University of Michigan back in January of 2012, would create a new $1 billion version of his signature Race to the Top competition grants for states to improve (meaning adopt the DOE plans) their higher education systems (http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget13/justifications/t-rtt.pdf)
Questions about what colleges need to change in order to compete aren’t fleshed out in Obama’s plan, but as we will see, we can find them in the kitchen cabinet of the DOE — the Lumina Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Teagle Foundation and scores of more right wing organizations and think tanks. This will all be covered in part three, the final part of this series, when we look at the privatization puppeteers.
We can say is that we do know that in order to snag their share of the one billion in grants, states would have to smooth the transition between K-12 and college education by aligning entrance and exit standards between the two systems and this is where the not so subtle chiropractics come into play. First attack the K-12 body politic and then, once this has been accomplished, move on to higher education with the same rancid policies.
Add to this, the Obama administration is also seeking to create a $55 million grant contest, dubbed the “First in the World” competition, to help institutions scale up promising strategies in areas such as technology and early-college preparation (http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2012/01/white_house_proposes_new_race.html). The language is Orwellian of course and designed to fool a not so critical public.
Republicans are wetting themselves with glee over the “competition based” student learning outcomes and the arm twisting of the states by the Obama administration through higher education Race to the Top mandates. Rep. John Kline, R-from Minnesota and the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee stated it well:
“Competition and transparency are basic principles Republicans have long supported to help lower costs in higher education, and institutions have a responsibility to do everything they can to provide a good education at an affordable price. We need responsible solutions that will serve the students of today and tomorrow without increasing the federal role in our nation’s education system. The president has proposed a number of interesting ideas that deserve a careful review” (ibid).
So, if you thought the Common Core curriculum, now adopted for K-12 was bad, think about all of this at the college and university level and it is enough to make one scamper to the vomitorium.
Recently, in May of this year, Arne Duncan the head of the DOE, addressed participants of the annual American Educational Research Association conference in San Francisco where one man in the audience rose and asked:
“Do you get out of the office much? Do you know what Race to the Top is? Despite the rhetoric from your office, [the program] is marginalizing and suffocating educators.”
The man said Race to the Top has dissolved “the joy of education,” as several rows of seated audience members rose and clapped loud enough to drown out his voice (http://diverseeducation.com/article/53035/#). As for students, it has replaced child wonderment with adult bewilderment.
With K-12 education little more than obedience training, faculty at universities will not be perp-walked to the trenches of educational despair and like their colleagues in K-12, be forced to dig their and their students’ own graves if the Obama Race to the Top for higher education goes into effect. Of course, we as American citizens will be called on to finance the shovels and the clean-up crew with our tax dollars. This is how neo-liberalism or late stage financial capitalism works.
The Student Success Task Force
Californians might remember the Student Success Task Force (SSTF), another Orwellian name for privatization and corporatization that was created to “examine best practices and effective models within higher education throughout the nation to improve educational achievements in California” — student learning outcomes.
The ‘task force’ produced a final report which was adopted by the California Board of Governors and was then presented to the Legislature in February 2012. Senate Bill 1456 also known as the ‘Student Success Act of 2012’, was approved 33-1 by the California state Senate in May 2012. Corporate democrats were at the helm of this bill and it is now the law of California, sweeping the nation like locusts.
The SSTF states at its website that:
“California Community Colleges have built many unique and interesting partnerships over the years, allowing students to gain valuable experience in fields that interest them while building resumes” (http://californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/BusinessPartnerships.aspx).
Indeed community colleges have built up some interesting corporate partnerships, so let us look at some of them:
There is Genencor, Amgen, Biogen-Idec, Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative, Industrial Fasteners Institute, Neumedicines, EWD Biotechnology Initiative, Workplace Learning Resource Center, Southland Motor Car Dealers Association, Small Business Development Center, and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, to name just a few of the corporate ‘partners’.
Yes, certainly. Years of lobbying and producing phony think tank reports and front organizations devoted to disinvestment in public education in favor of “market solutions” is paying off. Subsidized by privatizers, political cronyism and supplicant politicians (the most favored being corporate democrats), state laws and bills that promote standardization, blackmail by the federal government through Race to the Top and its program of withholding federal funds to those fiscally broken states and districts not on board with the new student learning outcomes, have all come to fruition in Obama’s new Race to the Top for higher education.
What the sundry corporations all have in common is to work with ‘the public sector’ to form scurrilous public-private partnerships that will basically allow the corporations to determine the curriculum of community colleges, funneling students into what is now called STEM or “science, technology, engineering and math courses which Wall street and the American ruling class have determined to be the “competitive fields of the future” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STEM_fields).
Of course there is no such thing, as I have written previously, as a public-private partnership for one simple and easy to understand reason: private businesses, be they Goldman Sachs or the Southland Motor Dealerships have a fiduciary responsibility to only one group of people: investors and those seeking profit maximization. Thus the pleasant sounding term “public private partnership” is nothing more than a treacherous system whereby private business uses public tax monies and coin-operated politicians to subsidize private profits and this, of course, is what is known as “neo-liberalism” (http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=376). It is the hijacking of what were supposed to be public policies for the purposes of fueling private profits. It is using state and federal agencies as handmaidens for profit accumulation for a very select few.
The SSTF recommendations that have been adopted have grave consequences for community colleges in California and of course throughout the nation. They centralize control of community colleges in a large, lumbering administrative bureaucracy devoted to business and Wall Street. They impose inauthentic assessments developed by for-profit making corporations in lieu of teacher created, authentic assessments. They limit the definition of success to one thing: school-to-work” and thus they ignore the varied ways that community colleges contribute to the success of a very diverse population. They are a direct attack on a liberal arts education in favor of a neo-liberal education for they emphasize STEM learning while drowning out any education in history, art, music, culture, humanities or philosophy. They threaten ESL, older adults wishing to go back to school and other “non-degree” programs for these are not considered important for profit maximization. They limit the amount of time and number of classes students can take at community colleges, thereby rationing access – which the Obama 20/20 plan for higher education consistently speaks of. They throw out any notion of lifetime learning in favor of precariat earning.
In fact, the Student Success Task Force recommendations are actually a threat to student success, if success is defined as being able to think critically about oneself and the world we live in. Again, doublespeak is the order of the day.
When one looks at the SSTF and their recommendations, it is obvious that they parallel those of the Lumina Foundation, spelled out in their document, “Navigating the New Normal” (http://www.luminafoundation.org/publications/Navigating_the_new_normal.pdf). In fact, the SSTF recommendations are the Lumina Foundation recommendations for all colleges and universities and the SSTF is simply a public front for privatization plans. Moreover, the Lumina Foundation’s plans are designed and scripted by corporate America, as we will see in part three of this series.
The task force members are all Lumina marinated public figures who have abandoned their fiduciary duties and responsibilities to the public and instead have hopped on board the neo-liberal plan to harness education to the needs of Wall Street, multinational corporations and financial capitalism in general (http://californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/PolicyInAction/StudentSuccessTaskForce/TaskForceMembers.aspx).
Take Dr. Brice Harris, named the 15th Chancellor of all California Community Colleges in September of 2012. He’s on the task force and is himself connected to the Lumina Foundation. He once directed the Lumina Foundation project, “getting Past Go” (http://ahed.assembly.ca.gov/sites/ahed.assembly.ca.gov/files/hearings/CA%20town%20hall%20bios.pdf).
Dr. Manuel Baca is another made-man for Lumina (http://www.sdccd.edu/public/events/we/Online/2011/WE-Dec2011_LO.pdf).
Rubén Lizardo is a made-man for Lumina (http://collegecampaign.org/v1/assets/docs/timlim/Early-Endorsers-1MM-Campaign.pdf).
Dr. Yasmin Delahoussaye is also connected to the Lumina Foundation (http://www2.swccd.edu/pdfs/20120117acsen_enclosures.pdf).
Cynthia Rico-Bravo is also tied to the Lumina Foundation (http://www.sdccd.edu/public/events/we/Online/2011/WE-Dec2011_LO.pdf).
Dr. Melinda Nish is part of the Lumina cabal as well (http://www2.swccd.edu/pdfs/20120117acsen_enclosures.pdf).
Senator Carol Liu, yes that’s right, Lumina (http://closedstudentsuccess.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Who-is-behind-this/316120-12397).
Dr. Constance M. Carroll, another figure tied to Lumina (http://www.aacc.nche.edu/newsevents/Events/wdi/Pages/2013presentations.aspx).
Dr. Peter MacDougall, another made-man for the Lumina Foundation (http://www.santarosa.edu/senate/archive/misc_docs/SSTF%20FinalReport.pdf).
One could go on and on identifying the SSTF members’ ties with the Lumina Foundation, for task force members are all beholden to Lumina. It is easy to do: just go to ‘Google’, type in the name of the ‘task force member’ (http://californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/PolicyInAction/StudentSuccessTaskForce/TaskForceMembers.aspx) AND The Lumina Foundation. Push the ‘enter button’ and they will all appear like zombies from the Night of the Living Dead.
The whole sickening roux, the SSTF recommendations for community colleges in California, has been cooked up by the Lumina Foundation and the public faces that appear on the task force are really the hidden private faces of Lumina. In fact, as said, the SSTF itself is little more than an educational Frankenstein conjured up by the Lumina Foundation and funded with tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars. The obsequious ‘public figures’ that made up the task force are lap dogs for privatization and their goal is clear: to destroy the master plan for education that was adopted in 1960 by then, Governor Edmond Brown, father of current Governor Jerry Brown.
As author John Douglas noted in 2000:
“Prior to the Master Plan’s development in the 1960′s, California struggled to reform its society. Under a political strangle hold, due to the railroad monopoly of the 1920′s, new, self-proclaimed reformers attempted to overthrow the economic and political corruption existing in the state at the time. They wanted to create new institutions with a public morality to give California a new form of purpose” (Douglass, John. “The California Idea and American Higher Education.” Stanford University press, 2000, p. 81).
The plan adopted the assumptions that some form of higher education ought to be available to all regardless of their economic means, and that academic progress should be limited only by individual proficiency.
Clark Kerr, the first chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley and twelfth president of the University of California stated that his goal was to balance the competing demands of fostering excellence and guaranteeing educational access for all.
The Master Plan for California education stated that the top 12.5% (1/8th) of graduating high school seniors would be guaranteed a place at one of the University of California campuses (Berkeley, Los Angeles, etc.); the top third would be able to enter the California State University (San Francisco State, Cal State L.A., etc.); and that the community colleges (Bakersfield College, College of the Canyons, etc.) would accept all applications. Previously the UC’s admissions standards allowed the top 15% of the state to enroll, and the CSU would accept the top half. These percentages are now enforced by sliding scales equating grade point average and scores on the SAT Reasoning Test or ACT, which are recalculated every year. Graduates of the community colleges would then be guaranteed transfer to the Cal State or UC systems in order to complete Bachelor’s degrees (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Master_Plan_for_Higher_Education).
This of course now has all changed. The Master Plan for California Education is now the ‘Master’s plan’ for California education and the new masters are private sector companies or the corporate ‘private partnerships’, Wall Street and the authors of California’s educational devastation, like the Lumina Foundation.
Former Governor Pat Brown’s son, current Governor Jerry Brown, pushed forth a proposal to set a lifetime limit on the number of units students can take at reduced in-state rates. The proposal was part of Brown’s spending plan for the state’s 112 community colleges, which included efforts to increase graduation and transfer rates by discouraging students from lingering or taking courses without an academic plan. The plan was rejected on June 18, 2013 but this is just the beginning of a long fight to limit access (http://www.sacbee.com/2013/04/15/5341604/lifetime-limit-on-community-college.html#storylink=cpy). Under Brown’s unit cap proposal, Under the unit-cap proposal, many of those students would pay nonresident rates of $180 to $200 a unit, compared with in-state rates of $46 a unit.
So, under the auspices of access and affordability, these forces have succeeded in proposing and passing laws that will and are serving to cull students, forcing those that do not submit to the new learning and assessment programs out of college, thus assuring no access, no affordability and limited learning — all in stark contrast to the pronouncements of Obama and the Department of Education.
It’s a ruse, of course and one designed to assure that only ‘certain’ students are allowed into the corridors of higher education and that course offerings be designed to prepare students for what Wall Street and the capitalist class deem to be the top priorities for profit-extraction: STEM.
There is even an organizational drive to support the new Race to the Top from a multitude of entities. The National Institute for Learning Outcome Assessments (NILOA) (http://www.learningoutcomeassessment.org/), is one of them and is itself a creation of the Lumina Foundation and the Teagle Foundation, both of which we will speak more about later in part three of this series.
The mission of the NILOA is simple:
“NILOA’s primary objective is to discover and disseminate ways that academic programs and institutions can productively use assessment data internally to inform and strengthen undergraduate education, and externally to communicate with policy makers, families and other stakeholders” (ibid).
Their goal like so many other front organizations of their ilk is clear: a Race to the Top for higher education that will tie teachers’ hands to testing data derived from standardized testing, promoted and built by testing corporations lashed to corporate educational demands put forth by leading corporations.
Peter Ewell is one of the principal players in NILOA. Ewell has directed many projects on this topic, including initiatives funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the National Institute for Education, the Consortium for the Advancement of Private Higher Education, The Pew Charitable Trusts and of course, the omnipresent Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and (http://www.nchems.org/about/staff.php?name=peter). Ewell is part of the privatization cabal that has helped to shoehorn the takeover of K-12 education and he along with his paymasters are now set to gobble up higher public education and deliver it right into the hands of Wall Street and vulture capitalists.
Jillian Kinzie is part of NILOA and has all hands on deck as well. Jillian Kinzie is the Associate Director of the Center for Postsecondary Research & NSSE Institute and she coordinates the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) institute project activities. One of her claims to fame is “choice” in education (http://nsse.iub.edu/html/staff.cfm?iuid=jikinzie). There are countless more patrons like Ewell and Kinzie and they are rewarded handsomely for their work to destroy education in favor of training.
Just what are STEM learning outcomes and why does business think they are so important?
In order to understand how the whole higher educational landscape is being transformed to correspond to what the capitalist class sees as legitimate careers of study in alliance with business competiveness, one must understand STEM as the new student learning outcomes.
The term STEM, as previously mentioned, is typically utilized when focusing on education policy and curriculum choices in schools, from kindergarten through college. It is an attempt by the ruling elite to call for an improvement of the nation’s competitiveness and productivity in science and technology development. So much for support for humanities, liberal arts or a learning curriculum that would foster a contemplative life and a critical examination of self and society. The demand now is to ‘create’ the new workers of the future. Alas, this is bound to fail as well, as we saw in part two for robotization is increasingly robbing the country of work and workers.
Corporations and their supplicants are now running the Obama 20/20 plan for higher education and the STEM student learning outcomes. As we saw with the Student Success Task Force so called ‘partnerships’, the ‘partners’ tend to be corporations involved in pharmaceuticals, oil and gas extraction, communications industries, war and military industries, security industries, medical industries, bio-sciences, and robotization and technology.
In early June, 2013, the San Francisco Exploratorium announced they have partnered with leading California corporations to expand or develop programs that strengthen scientific literacy. PG&E, Genentech, Chevron and Autodesk are partnering with the Exploratorium to expand the museum’s already robust programs by extending field trip opportunities to the more than 20,000 Title I school students in the region and developing teacher workshops on new educational standards, among other initiatives. These programs will impact thousands of schools and teachers statewide and of course will rewrite the curriculum in the interests of American capitalism.
Dr. Dennis Bartels, Director of the Exploratorium stated:
“A robust STEM learning ecosystem in California is a powerful driver for the community, business and state. The Exploratorium is venturing beyond traditional corporate support to collaborate with leading businesses to identify new ways in which its mission and its partners’ long-term vision in support of STEM education align” (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/exploratorium-partners-with-leading-corporations-to-expand-stem-education-across-the-state-2013-06-04).
The S.F. Exploratorium and criminal Chevron will launch the first of a series of STEM Education Teacher Conferences, which will host more than 200 educators statewide for an all-day seminar. Sessions will provide professional development to teachers to prepare for the Next Generation Science Standards that will soon include subjects such as design and engineering and will be required in all California high schools next year. Chevron says it will bring key educational partners as well as Chevron employees to contribute to the conference and provide tools in the new subject areas, alongside the Exploratorium’s PhD-level teacher professional development staff. The sessions will be recorded and available online along with a digital magazine for further distribution.
Diana Reyes Baughman, Manager of California Corporate Affairs for Chevron stated:
“Chevron invests in education because it’s critical to the competitiveness of our home and the success of our own business. Our investments in professional development for STEM educators support the Next Generation Science Standards and will help California build a new and growing talent pool of young critical thinkers” (ibid).
Of course this is all mendacity for Chevron doesn’t really want ‘critical thinkers’, what they do want are corporate business problem solvers. Real critical thinkers might question Chevron’s energy policies or say, their failure to compensate Ecuador with the $19 billion the company owes to the tiny country for environmental devastation that has left many Ecuadorians dead and their environment largely ruined (http://chevrontoxico.com/) (http://www.crudethemovie.com/).
No, like the other ‘private’ members of the phony private-public partnership, Chevron sees only more riches in the future and they know they must have the human labor to make this happen – or so they tell us.
Barbara Van Dillen, Director of Corporate Engagement for the Exploratorium, noted that the Exploratorium’s new partnership with business is:
“…a great example of how the educational and business communities can collaborate to make a meaningful impact” (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/exploratorium-partners-with-leading-corporations-to-expand-stem-education-across-the-state-2013-06-04).
Quite recently the Business Roundtable, committed as it is to expanding competition, capitalism and profits, announced that it too will work with the National Governors Association and other state leaders to strengthen existing – and form new – statewide STEM initiatives. Most immediately, they said, “we will offer assistance as states develop their applications for the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top competitive grants program” (http://businessroundtable.org/committees/education-innovation-and-workforce/world-class-education/stem/).
As early as 2005 the Business Roundtable was lamenting that American students were falling behind in math and science. They howled about the fact that fewer and fewer students were pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and complained that American students were performing at levels far below students in competitor nations on international standardized tests in these subjects.
They also noted in 2005 that international students educated in America were facing misguided immigration policies that hampered their ability to apply their skills and knowledge in the United States (this of course explains the new Homeland Security policies and growing foreign student attendance at US colleges and universities which is covered below).
Further, like so many other reports from similar pro-profit organizations, the Business Roundtable bewailed the fact that other countries were doing better than America in ‘producing’ students for healthy competition purposes. They observed then that China not only graduated four times as many engineers as the United States did, but it also offers lucrative tax breaks to attract companies to conduct research and development (R&D) in the country. According to the Business Roundtable’s report, by 2010, 90% of the world’s engineers will live in Asia (http://businessroundtable.org/committees/education-innovation-and-workforce/us-innovation-leadership/tapping-americas-potential/).
Using the corporate media to hammer away at states not fully invested in STEM
Big business understands the need to cull a new generation of workers who they feel will add to their bottom line and thus they are using the corporate controlled media to hammer away at states that they say are doing a poor job in preparing for STEM education. With six companies controlling what Americans see, hear and feel, the umbrella of propaganda is working (http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6).
The New Mexico congressional delegation stated on June 13, 2013 that they have introduced legislation to strengthen education and training programs for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs across the nation and in New Mexico. The state’s Congressional delegation, through their support behind the Teachers in Education and Mentoring Act which includes incentives that are designed to improve student interest and performance in STEM skills, has now embraced the new curriculum. The law would help teachers and schools engage students in STEM fields by providing STEM professional development resources and by encouraging business and educational professionals identify STEM skills that are needed in the workforce.
Fueled by a recent study by the Brookings Institute the Albuquerque metropolitan area was found to rank 34th among the largest 100 metro areas in the percentage of jobs that are related to STEM fields.
Democratic U.S. Senator, Tom Udall, stated that:
“New Mexico has a rich history involving STEM fields and this bill will encourage a new generation of students to develop the skills necessary to succeed in these areas, As education legislation moves forward in the Senate, I will be making the case that STEM subjects should be given priority attention so our students can have the tools they need to compete (in) an increasingly economy” (http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/blog/morning-edition/2013/06/nm-delegation-unites-to-back-bill.html).
Corporate democratic Senators like Udall are representatives of US industry for they know what side of the bread has the butter they need to maintain their power. Providing teachers and students with a rich, critical curriculum is not that side.
On a similar note, on June 14, 2013 the Miami Herald reported that:
“Jobs requiring knowledge in science, technology, engineering or math — known as STEM jobs — are a much broader and more diverse part of the national and regional economy than many people think, according to a new study. But the survey also shows that South Florida — with a higher unemployment rate, lower median household income and far fewer patents per capita than the nation as a whole — also trails in the share of STEM jobs.
Nationally, 49 percent of the STEM jobs are filled by workers with an associate’s degree or less education, according to a report released Monday by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. As of 2011, 20 percent of all jobs, or 26 million in total, required a high level of knowledge in any one STEM field. This compares to previous estimates of 4 to 5 percent from the National Science Foundation and others”, the study’s authors said (http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/10/3442597/study-miami-area-ranks-low-for.html#storylink=cpy).
All of these new business friendly reports and virulent attacks on states is part of the Obama 20/20 plan for higher education that has been engineered by the Lumina Foundation and commercial interests and supported with billions from Wall Street and transnational corporations. Corporate induced propaganda and the need to prepare the American mind for a radical shift in educational policy is what all this is about and it comes with perfect timing for the Obama educational proposals being put forth in the new Race to the Top for higher education. In fact, it has been calibrated by Obama in tandem with his paymasters.
STEM sweeps developing and collapsing nations
A STEM curriculum and learning is not just the providence of the US. Britain is even further ahead of the US in encouraging and pushing the STEM curriculum and its prominence in education. In Britain, reports found that there are even STEMClubs that have popped up within the last few years. And just what is a STEM club?
According to STEMNET, an international concern, STEMCLUBS:
“Although they complement the curriculum, they are not designed to be about writing, tests, or exams. Activities may involve practical experiments, investigation, discussion and reflection. Most of all, they should be fun. They can motivate and build confidence in young people who struggle with STEM subjects, and provide an extra outlet for children who already show aptitude and are interested in furthering their learning (http://www.stemclubs.net/about).
STEMCLUBS are another part of a full force propaganda effort by businesses throughout the US and Europe to promote “new learning” in the service of business as they erase all humanities and liberal arts in a full gallop to compete with China. Look for the STEMCLUBS to come to the US as part of the misinformation efforts.
The National STEM Centre in Britain actually called on the British government to ensure that science and mathematics have continued eminence in the school curriculum. They conducted a survey of over 700 influential business leaders and reported that whilst ‘STEM skills are vital to areas of future growth and employment including advanced manufacturing and low carbon industries’, close to 45% of employers are currently having difficulty recruiting STEM-skilled staff, with almost six in ten (59%) firms expecting difficulty in the next three years. As a result 42% of employers are calling on government to take action to raise the quantity and quality of STEM graduates.
The survey also found that STEM graduates are particularly sought-after in the banking, finance, manufacturing, engineering, and energy and construction sectors. However, the desirability of STEM-related degrees is much broader, with employers often preferring to recruit individuals with STEM-related diplomas for their highly desirable employability skills or better said, their highly desirable capitalist accumulation skills (http://www.nationalstemcentre.org.uk/news/business-looks-to-stem-subjects-for-employability-skills).
The rhetoric and assumption behind the push for STEM education and the overhaul of American and developed countries colleges and universities is that as businesses that need STEM graduates are said to continue to be profitable and grow, they will need more and more STEM workers, creating a greater demand in the labor market and, perhaps, creating a greater impetus for students to take STEM courses.
Yet as I argued in part one of this series, this is merely mendacity dressed up as truth for the worldwide workforce is actually declining as technology, artificial intelligence and cybernetics is erasing work in favor of surplus labor (http://www.dailycensored.com/the-obama-2020-plan-for-education-chump-change-you-cant-believe-in/).
I am not alone in noting this. Far better thinkers than I, specifically John Bellamy Foster, Robert W. McChesney and R. Jamil Jonna, noted in an article for the journal Monthly Review entitled, The Global Reserve Army of Labor and the New Imperialism, 2011, Volume 63, Issue 06 (November) that:
“If we take the categories of the unemployed, the vulnerably employed, and the economically inactive population in prime working ages (25–54) and add them together, we come up with what might be called the maximum size of the global reserve army in 2011: some 2.4 billion people, compared to 1.4 billion in the active labor army. It is the existence of a reserve army that in its maximum extent is more than 70 percent larger than the active labor army that serves to restrain wages globally, and particularly in the poorer countries. Indeed, most of this reserve army is located in the underdeveloped countries of the world, though its growth can be seen today in the rich countries as well. The breakdown in percentages of its various components can be seen in Chart 2.
Chart 2. The Global Workforce and the Global Reserve Army
Immigration, contracting-in students and STEM
Interestingly, as the Business Roundtable report documented, STEM curriculum is also being promoted for national security concerns and to address immigration policy issues (http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42642.pdf) in an effort to bring more international students into the US to attend US colleges and universities.
Immigration laws are currently in the spotlight on Capitol Hill as the Senate pushes forward on a comprehensive reform proposal, parts of which are intended to boost the economy by bringing in more high-skilled and low-skilled workers to fill gaps in the labor force. But what is not in the corporate controlled news is how the reforms would affect international students looking to attend US schools and the spill-over effect for American students.
Leading the pack on this issue is the Department of Homeland Security. On May 11, 2012 the Department of Homeland Security announced that:
“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced an expanded list of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) designated-degree programs that qualify eligible graduates on student visas for an optional practical training (OPT) extension. This announcement builds on a series of administrative reforms designed to further the Department’s commitment to attracting international students.
“Attracting the best and brightest international talent to our colleges and universities and enabling them to contribute to their professional growth is an important part of our nation’s economic, scientific and technological competitiveness,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. “International students and exchange visitors bring invaluable contributions to our nation, and this helps empower the next generation of international entrepreneurs, right here in America” (http://www.dhs.gov/news/2012/05/11/dhs-announces-expanded-list-stem-degree-programs).
Contracting in students from other countries is designed to assure American global competitiveness and profit-maximization for Wall Street monopolies and this is where Homeland Security and immigration issues coincide. This all reflects the Obama administration’s allegiance to policies that embrace students from other countries who come to study in US colleges and universities while at the same time he lectures about ‘access and affordability’ for US students.
The idea is that these international students “enrich the nation by allowing highly skilled foreign graduates to extend their post-graduate training in the United States and work in their field of study upon graduation” (ibid). The suggestion is that these students have the skills needed in STEM which America needs for global domination. Evidently, as California Jerry Brown put forth, American born students are simply malingerers who do not have the motivation or desire to pursue STEM careers. But then if this is indeed true, what about the 60% graduation rate for students that is part of the first prong of Obama’s cold, ruthless plan for corporatizing education? It’s a lie, plain and simple.
Outsourcing jobs and importing students is now the capitalist plan. The November 2012 edition of the Open Doors Report, a joint project of the State Department and the Institute of International Education documents the record number of international students in the United States during the twenty-eleven, twenty-twelve school year. Among the 570 college and universities responding to the Open Doors survey, 17% (97) experienced declines, and 22% (124) report that their overall international student enrollments stayed about the same as last year. In addition, 56% of responding institutions reported an increase in new international students enrolled for fall 2012, while 23% reported a decline, and 21% reported that their new international student numbers remained level.
The report goes on to state that more than seven hundred sixty-four thousand four-hundred such students were attending American colleges and universities during that period. That represents an increase of almost six percent compared to one year earlier. One hundred ninety-four thousand students at American colleges and universities were from China. That is an increase of more than twenty-three percent over the year before. After China, India sends the second largest number of students to the United States for higher education. India has about one hundred thousand students in American schools. South Korea is third with about seventy two thousand students. By comparison, the number of Americans studying overseas increased by one percent (http://www.iie.org/en/Who-We-Are/News-and-Events/Press-Center/Press-Releases/2012/2012-11-13-Open-Doors-Fall-Survey-International-Students).
On American campuses recruiters increasingly skip over modest or working class income applicants with higher grades in favor of weaker international performing students who do not require financial aid or better yet, who can be charged higher tuition fees such as out of state residency fees.
A survey of 462 top admissions officials at a range of nonprofit colleges and universities released September 21, 2012 by Inside Higher Ed
(which is now no longer available on the Internet) http://www.insidehighered.com/%20news/survey reveals recruiters are seeking “revenue students” more than ever before, and shifting away from academic rigor in vetting applicants, favoring vetting for financial ability to pay out of state tuition.
Among all the sectors of higher education, out-of-state and international students are now being aggressively recruited because they pay higher tuition fees. The survey findings show that a very high proportion of admissions directors see recruiting more out-of-state students as a key admissions strategy (53 per cent at public doctoral and master’s institutions) and recruiting outside the United States frequently focuses on those who can pay full price. This means schools are using or moving towards using agents or army-style recruiters (the same tactic used by for-profit schools like criminal Kaplan or the University of Phoenix), who are commonly paid in part on commission, to conscript international students, even though most respondents opposed the practice.
Interestingly, federal law bans the use of commission-based agents to recruit American students, but cleverly the law does not apply for overseas recruitment. There is now a booming recruiting industry that has sprung up overseas to funnel international students into major US universities. That includes the use of the commissioned agents, who help students through the admissions process but more incredibly, they work to write their application essays (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/education/international-students-pay-top-dollar-at-us-colleges.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0). Knowing this, ask yourself how this all fits into the Obama 20/20 plan for graduating 60% of Americans from college?
Lloyd Thacker of the Education Conservancy, a nonprofit founded to improve college admissions, stated in response to all of this massive international recruiting:
“We need to ask ourselves why we are doing what we are doing. And if we can’t answer that, we should go sell cars” (http://www.cautbulletin.ca/en_article.asp?articleid=3317).
Good point, for the commodification of students is the real issue, just like producing and selling cars.
The survey results also speak about the growing amount of admissions officers that have been saying they are under pressure from senior administrators, trustees, development officers, and big donors to admit certain students with lower grades and test scores, including athletes and children of privileged alumni.
But there is more: recently this April, universities and community colleges in the state of Washington virulently objected to a proposed bill that would increase tuition for international students by 20 percent at all public institutions. The bill, if passed, is expected to bring in $59.2 million in revenue over two years. However, the corporatized universities worry that they’re going to be priced – nay, taxed – out of the market.
Norm Arkans, a spokesman for the University of Washington was on record stating this April that:
“We might actually see reduced revenue from international students because they’d stop coming” (http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/04/12/washington-state-lawmakers-propose-surcharge-international-student-tuition#ixzz2XA4Pq18j).
International undergraduate students at the University of Washington currently pay a nonresident tuition rate of just under $30,000; the proposed surcharge would increase their annual tuition by about $6,000. The revenue from the surcharge wouldn’t go directly to the university but would instead go to the state’s general fund. The expectation is that the revenue will be used to help fund the higher education budget and make up for a proposed 3 percent reduction in tuition for in-state students. However this does not fit into the corporatized university plans to not only recruit more international students, but to deny admission to in-state students and prevent public investment in education.
Margaret Shepherd, UW’s director of state relations stated:
“Right now, international students actually subsidize Washington State residents. We have used the revenue generated from both nonresident and international tuition to make up for the loss of state support or to help enhance the educational experience for all of our students, and a primary concern with this proposal is that the revenue that’s generated from international students actually goes to subsidize other institutions and other higher education programs from which they don’t receive a benefit” (ibid).
But these statements by corporatized university spokespeople fly in face of the denial of admissions for resident students in favor of the push for more international students. It is clear that denying resident students in the US admissions and access in favor of allowing international students to be admitted more quickly and easily is not just part and parcel of allowing the corporatized universities to get more in fees and tuition, it also fits nicely within the Department of Homeland Security and the Obama immigration plans for allowing more and more international students to enter the US and then develop the skills needed for the contest with increased competition for global dominance.
To give one example of the whole sordid mess, The New York Times noted that the University of Washington gives extra money and preference to low-achieving non-Asian minorities over better qualified whites (typically 16 percent of the slots are reserved for lower-achieving minorities). Now rich foreigners are pushing out working class students and students of color at the University of Washington even more than ever before.
According to the New York Times, the state of Washington has slashed by over half their tuition assistance. The University of Washington sees low income Americans, more than one-fourth of its students much as California Jerry Brown does — as malingerers not ripe for the new STEM curriculum being pushed by Obama’s Race to the Top for higher education. What the university is now currently doing is taking in 18 percent of their students from places like China where the rising ruling class is paying $28,059, or five times the amount for a student of Washington State (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/education/international-students-pay-top-dollar-at-us-colleges.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0).
According to the University of Washington website (http://www.washington.edu/) 10 credits (full time) for in-state tuition is $3,525 per semester. However, if the university admits the new bourgeoisie Chinese and Asian students, now cash rich due to US corporate friendly trade deals, borrowing and outsourcing, the university can extract five times that amount. As the New York Times noted, one big reason that the growing Asian and Chinese ruling elites want to send their students to WU is due to the fact they can then get a green card and bring in extended family members (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/education/international-students-pay-top-dollar-at-us-colleges.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0).
The New York Times went on to comment on other sundry issues:
“All told, the number of undergraduates from China alone has soared to 57,000 from 10,000 five years ago. At the University of Washington, 11 percent of the nearly 5,800 freshmen are from China… Applications from abroad present some special challenges. Because the SAT is not given in mainland China, the university does not require international students to take it. Although it does not pay recruiting agents, Mr. Ballinger (the admissions dean) said he knew many applicants hired them, so the university does not consider Chinese applicants’ personal essays or recommendations…” (ibid).
But it gets worse for the language of commodification cited by the New York Times tells the real story. Quoting David Hawkins, the director of public policy at the National Association for College Admission Counseling:
“We’re in something akin to the gold rush, a frontier-style environment where colleges and universities, like prospectors in the 1800s, realize that there is gold out there. While it’s the admissions offices butting up against the issues most right now, every department after them, every faculty member who comes into contact with international students, is going to have to recalibrate as institutions become more international. I see a cascading list of challenges….”
Harvesting students is now the goal of these ‘centers for higher education’.
John Webster, director of writing at the university’s College of Arts and Sciences went so far as to note:
“We recognize that people from other countries often speak with an accent,” If we’re truly going to be a global university, which I think is a terrific thing, we have to recognize that they may write with an accent as well…” (ibid).
So there we have it, all laid out in black and white. Universities like Washington University lower the standards for student admission and pander to student low achievement in an attempt to get not just higher tuition, but also potential STEM talent from Asia and China.
One final note on the importation of international students to attend US colleges and universities for their potential STEM properties and high paying tuition capability: Due to the fact that these international students are on visas, much like HB-1 workers who are brought over to work in American high-tech industries and pharmaceutical corporations, they tend not to rock the boat or organize. This means that they tend not to enter into opposition politics, engage in student organizing, other than social clubs, and thus do not represent a threat to the campuses they attend. They are thus easily controlled under a veil of intimidation.
Unlike in the 1960s when students were both attentive to university concerns, organized around freedom of speech, the end of US imperialism and war, the advancement of African American studies, Mexican American studies, Women studies and the like, the in-sourced international students tend to shy away from making demands on colleges due to their fear of deportation. They also tend to not take ‘majors’ in social science, humanities, philosophy, language arts, literature, and world affairs. Instead, they tend to gravitate towards business degrees and STEM.
This is important, for as the college administrators and six figured salaried presidents of the universities and colleges work to create a new top-down ‘commodified zone’ on campuses, the last thing they want are critically thinking students who engage in political issues regarding campus and social life or challenge course offerings, tuition increases and lack of accessibility.
The towering rhetoric about student graduation and completion rates that constitutes the first part of the Obama 20/20 plan for education, or the new Race to the Top, laments the lack of college graduates here at home, demanding the states graduate 60% by 20/20; but the high-flouting rhetoric belies the real truth: Americans students, in particular lower-income and working class qualified students, are locked out of college due to ‘gold prospecting’, the scramble for out of state tuition fees, the belief that international students offer the best potential for taking a STEM curriculum and the fact that due to their visa status they will be intimidated to stand up to power and therefore remain silent in face of oppression. This is all very ingeniously designed by the one percent, the Department of Education and their ‘public figures’ (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/education/international-students-pay-top-dollar-at-us-colleges.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0).
Importing students, like exporting jobs, is designed to assure that US companies have the labor power not simply to compete on the world scale but to extract greater and greater profits for stockholders, company CEO’s and the rest of the one percent who control the corporation. The idea of providing a healthy liberal arts education to students in the US so they might be able to participate wisely in personal life and in social policy has been abandoned in favor of the commodification of students, a STEM curriculum and the eventual exploitation of their labor.
This is why earlier this year, DHS announced several measures they will implement to streamline existing pathways for immigrant entrepreneurs to enter and create businesses in the U.S., retain more foreign-born science and technology graduates from U.S. universities, facilitate immigration by top researchers, and help U.S. startups and other companies compete for global talent. It’s all about profits and has little to do with education (emphasis mine).
There is little doubt that the Race to the Top plans for higher education rest on the bedrock of the infamous Powell Doctrine. As I wrote at Truthout.org back in August of 2012:
“The strategy and tactics to create a sustained and united countervailing political force was laid out in a memo written by Virginia corporate attorney and soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice, Lewis Powell. Many see this memo as the chief catalyst for the paradigm shift in corporate strategy from bipartisanship to far-right acrimony. Written in 1971 at the request of his client at the time, the powerful US Chamber of Commerce, the Powell memo advised the Chamber that corporations needed to organize to stop what he referred to as an “attack on the American free enterprise system” (Powell Manifesto: “Attack of American Free Enterprise System“).
The Powell memo went even further, urging corporations to jointly cough up substantial funds to pool for a sustained and coordinated political offensive. More significantly, Powell identified working through the judicial system and an “activist-minded Supreme Court” as essential to shaping “social, economic and political change” for corporate benefit and the assurance of a white, patriarchal hierarchy.
The Chamber of Commerce has always been a leading voice of the right, but since the ’60s and ’70s upheavals, the US Chamber of Commerce has become an increasingly well-funded and powerful voice on behalf of corporate interests in Washington and a deep-pocketed friend to reactionaries on the campaign trail. In fact, since 1997, the Chamber of Commerce has been deeply involved in political activism and is currently a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)” (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/10936-paul-ryan-and-the-long-war-on-democracy).
The Powell Doctrine is essential in understanding how the American ruling class is attempting to or has, slaughtered meaningful education in their long march to assure no critical thinking is allowed in schools. We saw this when in 2012, the Republican Party of Texas issued their 2012 political platform and came out blatantly opposed to critical thinking in public schools throughout the state (http://truth-out.org/news/item/10144-texas-gop-declares-no-more-teaching-of-critical-thinking-skills-in-texas-public-schools). For the Race to the Top for higher education is as much a clarion call for STEM education in the race against China as it is a Social Darwinist educational strategy to assure that never again will students in college be mentally able to organize against exploitation and domination.
Taking this into account, in part three of this series we will look at who is behind the perfidious and cold-calculating plans for the wholesale massacre of higher education and education in general. Thus, we will cover the crime syndicate known as the Lumina Foundation, the main player in this squalid scheme, among others. We will also look at the ‘testing centers’ and the commodification of education through corporations like Pearson who have much to gain with the new Race to the Top for higher education.
Also covered, will be the centralization of all educational policy within the federal government and the Department of Education. This includes new laws regarding accreditation that will be handed over to the DOE and thus taken out of the providence of the ‘states’. Finally, we will critically examine the move to rid the educational landscape of teachers and embrace the Bill Gates et. al. social engineering blueprint of massive open online classes (MOOCs) that threaten to both euthanize teachers, foster social death among students as they sit in isolation from one another in front of machines and decimate learning.
All of this is the Obama 20/20 plan for higher education — the new Race to the Top — and is why it is really simply chump change you can’t and shouldn’t believe in.
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