In part one and two of the article, “Obama’s 20/20 plan for higher education: chump change you can’t believe in”, I attempted to critically examine both prongs of the corporate instigated plan. (http://www.dailycensored.com/part-two-the-obama-2020-plan-for-higher-education-chump-change-you-cant-believe-in/)., (http://www.dailycensored.com/the-obama-2020-plan-for-education-chump-change-you-cant-believe-in/).
I had hoped that a ‘three part’ series on this horrific plan would be adequate but alas, as most analysis subscribes to, it will take five parts.
The problem is that the plans of the one percent take time to figure out. Understanding what is going on in society cannot be reduced to 2,000 word articles or sound-bites. However, in our society where ‘thoughtfulness’ is now replaced by ‘thoughtlessness’, reading is now not possible for the great majority.
I understand that most people will not take the time to read thousands of words. I am writing this in hopes that those who do, will organize around the issues, do something and present these ideas to others in a manner that they might understand, for their lives our on the line — literally.
I am reminded of now deceased educator and philosopher, Neil Postman who once remarked:
“When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.”
― Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
We must now become fugitives from ‘slumber’ and take the time to understand the enemy. For those with the time, the perseverance and the discipline to think critically, this, then is the third part.
Part four will cover the issue of the Lumina’s Foundation destruction of City College of San Francisco and exactly how it came about. This was a well thought out and well planned act of violence that stripped accreditation from the community college.
Part five will conclude with a critical analysis of the insidious testing companies that treat our schools like drug testing centers and students like employees to be tested. It will also cover the federalization of regulations now underway by Lumina, Obama and his Department of Education that is designed to centralize all control in the pocket of the neo-liberal state. James Merisotis
Finally, the fifth part will cover the Massive Open Online Classes or MOOC’s that Lumina and Gates and the vulture capitalists have in store for students, teachers and the deliquescing American society and death of American culture.
The first part of the series analyzed the rhetoric of increasing graduation rates for students to 60% by 2025. As I noted, and readers can examine, this is not only out in the open mendacity, but the assumption behind the plan is that if students merely graduate college a plethora of economic opportunities await them in the field of employment. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There is no employment and there will be less and less employment as time goes by due to, as I argued, robotization tied to the financialized cybernetic revolution that is decreasing jobs in every category worldwide. Thus, one can only conclude that the Lumina/Obama plan for increased graduation rates is really an attempt to throw students to the wolves of Wall Street where they will be forced to fund their ‘obedience training’ through more and more usurious students loans tethering them to the carpet loom of debt for the rest of their lives.
The Obama plan is purely a bold attempt to monetize students, shed teaching as a profession, diminish our culture much more and is a tragedy beyond proportions; it is of course hidden behind the soft underbelly of modern rhetoric and sophistry and is repeated over and over again by the sock puppet corporate press that is fully behind the ‘reform’ in higher education. It is also part of the culling of students, eliminating those who do not conform to the Obama ‘school-to-no-work curriculum.
This leads us to the second part of the Obama 20/20 plan – the new Race to the Top for higher education or what Obama calls ‘student learning outcomes’. As I argued, this Race to the Top is now cemented to a new curriculum devoted wholly to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) that is being pushed by the ruling classes both in America and also in the failing economy of England (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jul/08/michael-gove-education-curriculum-fractions?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2).*
Students are being told that their future rests on their ability to enter these fields in order to survive. The decimation of liberal arts, humanities, music, art, critical thinking about self and society along with literature, will be the result as students are now told they must pursue these degrees or, in the alternative, not go to college. This is all leading to the death of childhood.
STEM, I argued in part two, is really the elites attempt to compete with the rising Empire of China and secondarily, India. The assumption is that for America to maintain its competitiveness in the world, and thus shore up its failing empire, “school to work” is the order of the day. Yet again, it is really more akin to school-to-no-work for as said, at the cost of repetition, the new jobs of the future will be handled by robotization and this means knowledge work as well.
The companies that are involved in the new STEM curriculum are giant transnational monopolies who say they are now partnering with colleges and universities to assure that the jobs of tomorrow are the curriculum of today. Even though nothing could be further than the truth, once again Wall Street is at the epicenter as the new “Race to the Top” curriculum for higher education that will require a bountiful new corporate training for teachers, corporate assessment models, gimmicks and gadgets that will be necessary for the classroom of the ‘future’ and thus of course more opportunities for neo-liberalism to shift the cost for all of this on the backs of taxpayers who will subsidize the new startup companies and vulture capitalists looking to make a buck.**
This new Race to the Top for higher education can be likened to the Race to the Top for K-12 and as I argued in part two, the educational spine is now being chiropractically adjusted to assure a seamless corporate curriculum from top to bottom. Having all but decimated K-12 education, Wall Street, through their front groups like Lumina, is now running to the too-big-to-fail banks with glee as higher education is corporatized and the curriculum becomes the providence of corporate America and their minions.
In this part, part three of the series, we will look at two connecting items: The Lumina Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who are behind the Obama two prong plan for higher education.
We live in perilous and menacing times. Education has been commodified; teachers are now being reduced to ‘call centers’ in the new corporate scheme, or better yet ‘mediators’ or ‘help desk employees. Teacher tenure is now a thing of the past, as adjunct professors become the thing of the future and this all bodes well for a ruling class looking to colonize schools and reduce students to robots trained by teachers as robots.
In this way, the elite also believe they can shore up the massive hemorrhaging of pension funds such as the various state teacher retirement systems that cannot cover existing retirees, let alone those in the future. Adjunct professors receive no benefits, such as health care benefits, tenure, real union protection and this also will reduce the ‘cost’ of the commodified education, as well as destroy teacher unions and the public commons that the market fundamentalists tell us are the villains in this whole mess.
The Lumina Foundation
More and more teachers and the opposition to the commodified Race to the Top for higher education are becoming increasingly aware of the role of the Lumina Foundation in writing both the Obama 20/20 plan for education and ushering in the full blitzkrieg against community colleges through their paid for accrediting agencies.
As we will see, the Lumina Foundation is the big player behind the faux organizations that take Bill and Melinda Gates’ money like panhandlers looking for a long awaited meal. If they get their way, no longer will community colleges serve as a right-of-passage to a contemplative life or a safe and secure geographical and educational site to gain skills, socialize with other sentient human beings, and have human contact with both learning and those learning and teaching. College will cease to exist in favor of ‘earning centers’ and isolated on-line learning.
The plan is for community colleges to become factories for a corporate economy that continues to spiral downward to banana republic levels. Business will play the leading role, as they already have in determining what classes will be offered, to whom, why and for how long. Democracy is reserved for the elite on retreats and in special hidden away luncheons where they formulate the misery they call education and which they foist on our children as deprivation.
But just who or what is the Lumina Foundation and who are they accountable to?
I have written extensively on the Lumina Foundation for years and readers are invited to Google “Danny Weil and the Lumina Foundation” to see my articles and Youtubes or, in the alternative, simply launch their own investigations of Lumina.
The Lumina Foundation can best be summed up this way: they are the kitchen-cabinet of the Department of Education (DOE). Obama’s educational program is being both scripted and run by the Lumina Foundation and Bill Gates, both ‘Dons’ for the Department of Education where clueless, foot-soldier Arne Duncan simply affixes his name to any legislation he is told he be required that crosses his desk. The Department of Education itself (DOE) has been converted into a privatized corporate think tank and is ruled by scurrilous billionaires posing as philanthropists with an agenda that is both national and global.
The Lumina Foundation arose from a $1 billion student loan sale to Sallie Mae in 2000. Since then, it and has become the nationwide leader in pushing for higher educational policy reform focused on degree attainment and ‘student learning outcomes’. Its primary founder, Ed McCabe, was the Chairman of Sallie Mae at the time of the sale, and came on board with Lumina to steer its conversion to an Education Foundation.
Once called the USA Group under Sallie Mae, the Lumina Foundation is now an “advocacy philanthropy group” and what this means can be understood through my article on advocacy philanthropy (http://philosophersforchange.org/2013/05/14/advocacy-philanthropy-and-the-leveraged-buy-out-of-public-schools-part-1/). Not surprisingly such luminaries like the Koch brothers are a part of the insidious plan, as well (http://www.philanthropydaily.com/advocates-against-advocacy/).
In its early years, Lumina Foundation was focused on accessibility and ‘reforming’ community colleges; awarding grants directly to institutions and students – especially in underprivileged/minority populations. We will see in part four how Lumina curries favor with the new Latino majority and other ethnic groups.
In 2007 the focus began to change. McCabe stepped down, and Jamie Merisotis took over as CEO. Merisotis also co-founded the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), which in addition to disseminating negative “data” regarding public education effectiveness, also founded the “Global Center on Private Financing of Higher Education.”
Merisotis became the CEO of Lumina on January 1, 2008, and he explained the new focus of Lumina:
“The movement from philanthropy to state policy – more hands-on than federal – is a useful role for the Foundation” (http://bdgrdemocracy.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/alec-higher-education-and-lumina-foundation-policy-money-and-setting-the-agenda/).
Useful indeed: for as I argue, advocacy philanthropy is really nothing more than that which is, and has been done by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). In fact, Lumina sponsored the 2011 ALEC convention in New Orleans as a “Chairman’s Circle” contributor (ibid) (http://chronicle.com/article/Lumina-Foundation-Will-Shift/66292/); the Lumina Foundation is the new ALEC for higher education.***
As was noted by the American Federation of Teachers Guild, local 1931 of AFT in California:
“When Lumina joins forces with ALEC it means more than just a move toward influencing legislative policy, it means they are part of a larger network of moneyed interests pushing our country further toward plutocracy and corporate domination. That is why there is nothing about creating educated citizens for our democracy in the BOG report, because that is simply not part of their agenda. Corporate interests collaborating to impose the business model in public higher education want efficient workers trained to follow top-down orders, not critical thinkers who might question their agenda or buck up against the slow creep toward “outcomes based funding” that would serve as a Trojan horse for privatization” (http://aftguild.org/hot-topics/whos-behind-completion-a).
According to the 2008 Form 990pf filed with the IRS, Lumina moved into the public policy arena with a $300,000 Education Grant to ALEC. That ‘advocacy philanthropy’ has persisted. In exchange for its generosity, Lumina has been at the fore of the ALEC Education Task Force (ibid).
Why the interest in public education on the part of ALEC and private foundations like Lumina?
Jonathan Kozol summed it up well some time ago:
“Some years ago, a friend who works on Wall Street handed me a stock-market prospectus in which a group of analysts at an investment-banking firm known as
Montgomery Securities described the financial benefits to be derived from privatizing our public schools. “The education industry”, according to these analysts, “represents, in our opinion, the final frontier of a number of sectors once under public control” that “have either voluntarily opened” or, they note in pointed terms, have “been forced” to open up to private enterprise…From the point of view of private profit, one of these analysts enthusiastically observes, “the K-12 market is the Big Enchilada” (http://harpers.org/archive/2007/08/the-big-enchilada/).
What Kozol did not indicate then, and what is clear now, is that the Big Enchilada included higher education as well. This is logical. For if K-12 must be privatized in order to assure the decimation of education in favor of obedience training and profits for venture capitalists and the ‘education industry’, then it would follow that higher education must also be aligned with the needs of Wall Street. After all, education is a $650 billion dollar industry and one of the last vestiges of the public commons that is necessary to be captured and colonized by the carnivores of Wall Street who seek profit in favor of people, human control in favor of development and education.
Thus, for Lumina, that “Big Enchilada” extends into higher education where they have done most of their ‘advocacy philanthropy’ work. Desperate to fill state and federal funding gaps and without the resources to do it due to austerity and the failure of the neo-liberal state to fund public education, Lumina packages and sells to university and community college system officials, along with conservative politicians, their gussied up corporate plan to break teacher unions, increase part time faculty, reduce pension expenditures (especially health care), do away with liberal arts education in favor of STEM, turn the entire higher education enterprise of education over to Wall Street and the billionaires while pushing the idea of on-line classes in order to do away with the majority of teachers.
Of course to get away with all of this Lumina needs to break the back of any shared governance that might exist at colleges and universities, increase high paid administrative hacks willing to wield the corporate axe and carry out the corporate mandated programs.
This is true for the accrediting agencies as well. Closed and secret meetings packed with highly paid nepotistic ‘accreditors’ is now the norm and will continue to be in the future, as we will see in part four. In this way, the one percent can assure no democratic input in their plans to smash and grab colleges, re-route their missions and funnel their economic resources into Wall Street.
In his July, 2011 address to the Republican Governor’s Association in Salt Lake City, James Merisotis began outlining the Lumina plan supporting their “Big Goal” – 60% US adult college degree attainment by 2025. “Peril and Promise in a New Age” by George Mehaffy, followed on July 28, 2012 at a 2012 Academic Affairs Summer Meeting – American Association of … sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) under the moniker ‘The Red Balloon Project”. It is in this document, basically a power-point presentation, that the Obama 20/20 plan was hatched. The argument was and is that America needs a postsecondary educational system that is far more productive and competitive — one that can move quickly to generate millions more college graduates with high-quality, workplace-ready credentials. The ‘Big Goal’ is the ‘Big Lie.
The question at issue in the document, “Peril and Promise in a New Age” was the following:
“The Key Challenge How do we educate more students, with greater learning outcomes, at lower costs?” (ibid).
Then there was Lumina’s “Four Steps to Finishing First” (http://bdgrdemocracy.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/four_steps_to_finishing_first_in_higher_education.pdf) another Lumina Foundation for Education generated document that also laid out their plan to achieve the goal of 65% graduation by 2025. Their method – use corporate intervention to “increase productivity” (what they call “degree attainment”) — the assumed outcome of which will be more jobs created, or so they say.
Lumina offers a brilliant talking point for all of this – “follow our plan, and more people will get college degrees, which means more people will get jobs…because (as everyone knows) people with degrees get hired more than people without”( http://bdgrdemocracy.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/alec-higher-education-and-lumina-foundation-policy-money-and-setting-the-agenda/) This notion has been debunked and exposed as mendacity, as stated in part one of this series, but the rhetoric continues and an unsuspecting public seems to be buying into it. To cement the ‘big lie’, repetition is the key and this is exactly what Lumina is good at and why they publish so many documents, reports, speeches and hold countless meetings.
The Lumina Four Step Program to smash the public commons and deliver education into the laps of the one percent
Here is the Lumina Foundation’s four step program, contained in the Four Steps to Finishing First, think tank document; this is another ‘Great Lie”. It was labeled as “policy focused on the public good”, but as you will see it has nothing to do with the public good but instead it has everything to do with the development of the corporate commons (http://www.luminafoundation.org/publications/Four_Steps_to_Finishing_First_in_Higher_Education.pdf):
The “Four Steps”:
1. Performance Funding – Don’t fund schools in the traditional budgeting process. Tie funding to performance. Legislators should “provide financial incentives to schools that help students clear certain milestones on their academic journeys or finish work toward their degrees or credentials.” The rational: more degrees = more money.
2. Student Incentives – Legislate tuition discounts and incentives to students who do not exceed the number of credits required for graduation. Limit financial aid to the required number of credits for graduation. In other words – better not change your major or go to college for life-long learning.
3. New Models – Institute low-cost approaches (specifically online degree programs) “substituted for traditional academic delivery whenever possible to increase capacity.” “Delivery” or the administration of STEM education is now the model, teaching is out.
4. Business Efficiencies – Implement business practices that “Produce Savings to Graduate More Students.” Part of the plan to be more “efficient” and more “competitive”:
“At the state level, policymakers should limit the number of research institutions…research can be a problem at institutions that aspire to attract research funding, because fulfilling these aspirations can increase costs and reduce productivity in terms of serving undergraduate students.” Wiping out research at universities also wipes out scholarships and puts the research in the hands of off-site corporations.
“Cut athletic funding – “Competitive athletic programs almost always require substantial subsidies from colleges and universities that pull money away from academics.” We saw this in K-12: the schools without playgrounds and now the same plan is now slated for colleges and universities (http://truth-out.org/news/item/10752-schools-without-playgrounds-children-without-childhood-a-future-without-hope). All schools are to be institutions of production, not habitats of learning and physical development. Schools are more and more beginning to resemble maximum-security prisons, but at least at most of those institutions, there is one hour of outdoor time.
“Employee contributions to health care and retirement plans also deserve scrutiny and should be measured against other private sector, competitively established contribution and benefit levels”. Contract out any benefits and cut all public subsidies. This is the corporatization of education and of course retirement and health care, under the Lumina plan, must be paid for through worker salaries and out of pocket expenses (http://www.luminafoundation.org/publications/Four_Steps_to_Finishing_First_in_Higher_Education.pdf).
The plan cites The University of Maryland as a great success story in controlling costs. There, Lumina was successful in piloting deep program cuts on the institution in all the areas indicated above. A virtual coup d’etat, a warnng to other colleges not so eager to participate, and a model now to be used for taking down more and more public colleges.
So, as we see ALEC and the Lumina Foundation both are at the center of the new Race to the Top for higher education. Lumina bellies up the funds through advocacy philanthropy while ALEC writes and then foments legislation and policy which imposes draconian cuts to public higher education funding, forces community colleges to accept their agenda or lose accreditation, reduces teachers to part time faculty, attacks worker’s health and retirement benefits and funnels them into criminal banks, decimates pensions, rewrites curriculum in the interest of corporations and Wall Street, imposes Massive Open Online Classes (MOOCs) with thousands of students and one ‘mediator’ or teacher, slaughters any shared governance by teachers, parents or students, preferring to lock them out of policy decisions in favor of highly centralized corporate administrative control, while they reduce students to products to be worked on, and so forth.
Yet “Times have changed”, claims Lumina
Recently the foundation’s leaders announced that times have changed in the four years since they assumed their role in helping to push the college completion agenda, (Obama 20/20 plan for education). They say they now have new ideas about how to spend $300 million over the next four years for their advocacy philanthropy. And this is only the beginning.
They currently disclose that they are working to build a “social movement”, targeting metropolitan areas and encouraging innovations based on student learning and competencies rather than the customary credit hour.
This gives credence to what many commentators have noted about advocacy philanthropy — simply that it is a political attempt by those with money to organize the Darwinian reengineering of social policy. The fact that Lumina now boldly states this is testimony to not only their arrogance, but the fact they know there is little opposition they cannot beat with hefty bankrolls.***
But although The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with Lumina are the biggest players in swinging the wrecking ball that will annihilate the current community colleges and higher education, they are not alone.
In their report, entitled ‘Advocacy Philanthropy’ and the Public Policy Agenda: The Role of Modern Foundations in American Higher Education published as a paper in April 2012, Cassie Hall and Scott L. Thomas, author of the report note that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Duke Foundation, the Lilly Endowment Inc., Lumina Foundation for Education, Inc., the Freeman Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Whitaker Foundation, The Starr Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation” are all big players in the scheme to turn colleges and universities over to Wall Street (http://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/files/Hall%20&%20Thomas%20AERA%202012%20-%20final.pdf).
In Hall and Thomas’s April 2012 assessment of advocacy philanthropy, table one shows the data regarding the investment by Lumina in advocacy for higher education in figure 1 on page 13 and 14, entitled, Total Value of Lumina Foundation Grants, by Category, 2002- 2010 (Lumina Foundation, 2009 & 2010). Take a look. It is flabbergasting.
The data demonstrate a decline in access/preparation grants made by the Lumina Foundation an increase in student success grants, a peak in community colleges grants in 2005 (which is associated with the trajectory of Lumina’s Achieving the Dream initiative), a new interest in productivity grants, and declines (or perhaps a re-categorization of grants) in the areas of adult learning, special/philanthropy, Indiana, and multi theme.
Also in their report, the data on figure 2, page 15, entitled, Total Value of Gates Foundation Grants, by Category, 2000- 2010 show that, overall, college ready education has been the largest funding priority for the Gates Foundation, although the value of its support has varied widely per year. Postsecondary education funding jumped up significantly in 2008 and has held steady; advocacy and public policy spending is up and down, and scholarship funding, while also varying widely, has declined significantly since 2006. In 2010, funding for college ready education and postsecondary education were nearly even (Gates Foundation, 2011,Feb 6) (http://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/files/Hall%20&%20Thomas%20AERA%202012%20-%20final.pdf).
Based on appearance in the top 50 of recipients of higher education foundation grants between 2000 and 2009 as a higher education policy organization created by The Foundation Center in 2011, we find the plethora of front organizations that have served as tributaries for the billionaire’s largess between 2000 and 2009. They include the College Board Complete College America (formerly, the National Consortium for College Completion), Gateway to College National Network, the Institute for Higher Education Policy and Jobs for the Future.
Figure 3, found on page 21 of the Hall and Thomas report notes the Total Value of the Gates Foundation Postsecondary Education Grants, 2005- 2010, by Grantee Type. Private higher education grants show a whopping spike in contributions from the advocacy philanthropists. All of this comes from the Gates Foundation, 2011 report (ibid).
Table 13 shows the total Value of Lumina Foundation Student Success Grants, 2002-2010, by Grantee Type and Figure 4 (the total Value of Lumina Foundation Student Success Grants, 2002- 2010, by Grantee Type from the report (culled from The Lumina Foundation, 2009 and 2010) show the recipients of Lumina Foundation student success grants by the following grantee types: Higher Education Policy/Research Organization; Media Agency/Other Policy Organization; Public Higher Education Board/System; Public Higher Education Institution; Private Higher Education Institution, and Nonprofit Organization. The meteoric rise in public higher education social engineering through grants is astounding. Not surprisingly, the biggest spikes in donations are for higher education policy and media manipulation (ibid).
This all corresponds to Merisotis’s own statements for according to an interview with Inside Higher Ed, on January 10, 2013, Jamie P. Merisotis, the Lumina Foundation’s president stated that although Lumina’s emphasis up until now has been on college preparation, college success and productivity in higher education, those three broad areas will be replaced by five specific goals around mobilizing support and collaboration, and three that seek changes to the nation’s higher education system. Merisotis’s remarks show specifically those advocacy billionaires responsible for this ‘priming of the social pump’, fervently believe that the current situation in higher education necessitates a more calculated, and strategic approach in order to meet their corporatization and privatization goals.
Again, we must remember that this is the Obama 20/20 plan for education and Merisotis’s claim that the focus will now be on building a social movement really is nothing new. For building a social movement set on the platform of corporatizing education and turning the enterprise over to Wall Street and the vulture capitalists has always been the plan. The fact it was clothed behind gussy rhetoric about college preparation, college success and productivity in higher education, was simply a mere ruse. Now, the skeleton is out of the closet and the real agenda is clear: the decimation of the public commons, the commodification of youth, the disposability of those youth not willing or able to ‘come on board’ and the enslavement of higher education in the interest of the one percent.
Substantiation that Lumina and Friends are a Darwinian social engineering movement to destroy higher education
To substantiate the claim that Lumina is a social movement, not anything resembling a philanthropic one, take a look at the report, CEO’s for Cities, put out by the Lumina Foundation. (http://www.ceosforcities.org/pagefiles/101_Wacky_Ideas_-_Ideas.pdf). Here, one can simply see the language of ‘capital’ as it is mouthed by the super-rich and Social Darwinists bent on assuring that education is boiled down to a sickening roux. It is cloaked in a language of progress, but it is all about saving the failing and flailing American Empire from the ravages of the miscreant unemployed surplus labor:
“In a move to increase the political and civic will to produce more college graduates and thereby help cities capture real economic gains, CEOs for Cities calculated the Talent Dividend. Increasing college attainment by one percentage point in each of the 51 largest metropolitan areas would be associated with an increase in personal income of $124 billion per year for the nation. With the support of the Lumina Foundation for Education and DeVry Inc., CEOs for Cities launched a 30-city Talent Dividend Tour in 2009 to present these findings to local urban leaders. One fact stood out: every metropolitan region has a large number of adults with some college, but no degree. Getting these adults to finish college — we call them “pre-graduates” — is a key strategy to achieve the Talent Dividend” (ibid).
Working with privatized, predatory for-profit colleges like DeVry, the University of Phoenix and Kaplan University, and a host of others — all criminal enterprises — The Lumina Foundation, formerly the USA Group out of Sallie Mae, one of the biggest student loan rackets in the country (http://www.villagevoice.com/2006-01-17/news/your-late-fees-their-millions/) has been very, busy indeed (http://closedstudentsuccess.ideascale.com/a/ideas/search?query=Lumina)
CEOs for Cities engaged KvJ & Company, a team of innovation advisers, lead by Katherine von Jan, that identify tomorrow’s unsolved needs to help organizations link emerging and established trends to bold opportunities for growth, innovation and leadership.
The project had three parts. Ethnographic research, including participant journals, excursions and in-home interviews, was conducted by anthropologist Mike Youngblood and team with pre-graduates in Seattle, New York, Memphis and Chicago. What emerged were key insights into the journeys students take through school and the challenges they face. From the ethnographies, student personas were created, providing a foundation for ideation.
The second part involved interviews with experts across disciplines to bring a fresh perspective and thinking to higher education. This included seven innovator interviews and two college executive interviews. An ideation salon was held with six experts to discuss personas and brainstorm ideas.
The third element of the project involved further ideation within KvJ & Company through internal salons. To determine the top ten, ideas were organized into categories based on persona needs and evaluated and prioritized using a scorecard of human design criteria, implementation criteria and the wacky accelerator (Social Darwinism). The top ten ideas were built out to recognize potential revenue and costs associated with each idea” (http://www.ceosforcities.org/pagefiles/101_Wacky_Ideas_-_Ideas.pdf).
Let’s look critically at the report’s ‘study’. First of all, language had to be changed to sell the wholesale idea of privatization and exclusionary access for students who do not “fall in line” with the new college plans. This Orwellian colonization of public consciousness is right out of the novel 1984 and is being launched to hide the real agenda of the new dictatorship of capital designed for community colleges. These purveyors of despair and human decimation have no interest in college graduation rates – as if failing capitalism and a growing surplus labor population can benefit from ‘graduating more students. Their aim is imposing more student debt loads on the backs of youth struggling for a better life and open the door for profit-extraction by Wall Street.
So, with this in mind it is not hard to see why students, at what were once community colleges, have been renamed as “pre-graduates” for Wall Street must, in order to assure sovereignty over each campus, use political language in favor of a corporate educational troika designed to “manage” the new college scheme and firmly wedge the idea as ‘educational progress’ in the minds of the public.
“Innovation advisers” are of course the private consultant firms that work with Wall Street to assure that education is linked to capitalist development. “Growth, innovation and leadership” are mere buzzwords used to redefine education and remove any semblance of critical thinking about society or the failing capitalist system and those who run it. “Ethnographic studies” are basically propagandized and sophisticated ‘field’ efforts that will work to serve and unseat any critical opposition to Wall Street and the privatizer’s plans. “A foundation for ideation” signifies that the institutionalization of the full blunt trauma to the head of public education can be cemented under ‘scientific studies’. “Interviews with experts and fresh perspective and thinking” are tools in the propaganda belts of the new carpenters of privatized education.
These “so called experts” are really identified, highly paid administrative supplicants and lapdogs, now called CEOs, whose job it is to discipline any angry opposition to Wall Street and Lumina’s stated goals. “The Top Ten new ideas” are the findings of the Lumina Foundation and capitalist class they serve, and there is nothing new in them at all.
That Lumina is now frank and forthright about their need to build a corporate social movement can be owed to the public’s lack of understanding of the Obama’ 20/20 plan, the virulent attack on the public commons, the hidden face of financial austerity and the consequent deficit of nationwide or state opposition.
Sadly, Lumina is basically winning the battle for Wall Street and they know it; thus their outspoken and frank statements. Add to this, they have the support of the Obama administration and veritably own the Department of Education as well as state by state public administrators and accrediting agencies (http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/01/10/luminas-new-strategies-big-completion-goal#ixzz2YTIFYIig).
Educational Foundations such as Lumina and the Gates Foundation (to mention only a few) have not only been taking on a greater presence in conceiving of and then developing educational policy during a time of austerity, they have now mounted a full spectrum attack on the public commons. This is the ‘shock doctrine’ for education and it has its roots in the decimation of public schooling in New Orleans after Katrina. Unfortunately, it is working.
Some history of the Lumina Foundation and who controls it
From the Lumina web page:
“Lumina Foundation is a private, independent foundation established in Indianapolis in August 2000. We employ 46 staff members and have invested assets in excess of $1 billion. This total ranks Lumina among the nation’s top 40 private foundations” (http://www.luminafoundation.org/publications/From_the_Ground_Up.pdf).
As mentioned, the Lumina Foundation was once the USA Group Inc., the parent company to USA Funds, (http://www.usafunds.org/Pages/default.aspx) the nation’s largest private guarantor and administrator of education loans. The USA Group sold most of its operating assets to SLM Inc. (Sallie Mae), owner and manager of student loans for 5.3 million borrowers (https://www.salliemae.com/). The transaction was announced in mid-2000 and formally completed on the last day of July 2000. Out of the ashes rose the phoenix we now know as the Lumina Foundation. Much of this came as a shock to some, but also a relief to others. It prompted many questions and curious speculation throughout the financial community as to what was really transpiring.
We now know what was transpiring and has transpired.
Take a look at the people running Lumina. They are all corporate minions, with many of them former Sallie Mae officials from whence Lumina arose. Their connections to Wall Street belie their real aims, goals and considerations, as I indicated in my article, “Student loans: The financialized economy of indentured servitude” (http://www.dailycensored.com/student-loans-the-financialized-economy-of-indentured-servitude/).
Board Chair James C. Lintzenich
Former Vice Chairman and CEO of USA Group; former President and Chief Operating Officer of Sallie Mae Board member Mr. Lintzenich “served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Sallie Mae from 2000—2001.”
Former Board Member: Board member John Mutz. “Mutz formerly served as a trustee of Hudson Institute, as well as a director of five public corporations: ADESA Corporation, Conseco, Inc., CCP Insurance Co. (a subsidiary of Conseco), National City Bank Indiana and PSI Resources. He also is a former director of Security Group, Inc., Senex Financial Corp. and Walker Information and has served as national chairman for Ways to Work, a program to help former welfare recipients stay off welfare.”
Frank D. Alvarez
Former President and CEO of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, San Francisco, CA is the former President and CEO of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the nation’s leading Latino organization supporting Hispanic Higher Education. A native of Los Angeles, California, Alvarez has more than 30 years of executive healthcare leadership experience, having led hospital systems in California and Arizona prior to joining HSF in November, 2007.
Co-founder, E&A Industries, Inc. He co-founded E&A Industries, Inc. in 1977 and, except during his government service, he has served as its Chairman. E&A has owned a number of companies in different industries and currently owns companies involved in light fixtures, medical equipment and women’s apparel.
In addition to his work at E&A Industries, Mr. Hubbard has served in the White House under two different administrations. During the George H. W. Bush administration, Mr. Hubbard was Deputy Chief of Staff to Vice President Dan Quayle and Executive Director of the President’s Council on Competitiveness. During the George W. Bush Administration, Mr. Hubbard was Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council.
Mr. Hubbard has also served on a number of for-profit and not-for-profit boards including WellPoint Corporation, Simon Property Group, and PIMCO Equity Series & PIMCO Equity Series VIT. Mr. Hubbard is a member of Council on Foreign Relations.
F. Joseph Loughrey
Retired Vice Chairman, President and Chief Operating Officer of Cummins, Inc., Columbus, IN. Board member Loughrey “served on the Board of Trustees (Chairman 2005-2007) of The Manufacturing Institute, the educational arm of the National Association of Manufacturers and is Chairman of Conexus Indiana, an organization dedicated to promoting advanced manufacturing and logistics in Indiana. He has advocated for far better alignment between education and the knowledge and skill requirements of the future.”
Marie V. McDemmond
President Emeritus of Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA
Lumina’s Board Prez is Dr. McDemmond, who “served as Virginia’s Civilian Aide to the United States Secretary of the Army for Virginia. She was appointed by President George W. Bush.”
Jamie P. Merisotis
President and Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation Lumina CEO Merisotis “He is recognized as an authority on college and university financing and has published major studies and reports on topics ranging from higher-education rankings to technology-based learning.”
You can see the Merisotis Youtube where he lays out Lumina’s plans (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs__CDbfk7Q).
J. Bonnie Newman
Chancellor Emeritus of the Community College System of New Hampshire, Concord, NH. Board member J. Bonnie Newman’s “past appointments include service on the President’s Export Council, she is an advisory board on US trade policy, and the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. She is a former Director of Markem Corporation, NYNEX Telecommunications, New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, Perini Corporation, Consumers Water Company, Citizens Advisors, Sallie Mae Corporation.
Laura Palmer Noone
CEO of Potomac College and President Emeritus, University of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ. Board member Laura Palmer Noone “was president of University of Phoenix, the for-profit predatory college that has been fned hundreds of millions for bilking students but never indicted under RICCO by the Department of Justice.
Michael L. Smith
Former CFO of Anthem, Inc., Indianapolis, IN. Board Member Michael L. Smith “served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Anthem, Inc. and its subsidiaries, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.” This is where a great deal of your health care premiums now goes; not for better low-cost health care but to foster and foment the radical takeover of education for the one percent.
Belle S. Wheelan
President, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Decatur, GA Board member Belle S. Wheelan is black: “Dr. Wheelan attributes her success to hard work, endurance, tenacity, and being in the right place at the right time. She recognizes that prayer and support from family and friends make anything possible.”
Mark G. Yudof
President of the University of California, Oakland, CA. He has worked assiduously to turn the UC system in California into a cash cow (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/10/14/793053/-The-Death-of-Public-Universities-160).
The Executive Team
Jamie P. Merisotis
President and Chief Executive Officer
Vice President of Strategic Impact
Vice President, Senior Advisor to CEO
J. David Maas
Vice President of Finance and Investments & CFO
Vice President of Policy and Strategy
Holiday Hart McKiernan
Chief of Staff & General Counsel
Juan (Kiko) Suarez
Vice President of Communications and Innovation
Prior to his executive position at Lumina, Suarez served as a consultant and executive for several companies including NextPhase Wireless and CEMEX, where he focused on external affairs, corporate communications and public affairs. His extensive background in corporate communications also includes more than a decade at DuPont, where he rose from the ranks of the online/information technology team to various positions including serving as global online leader. Ultimately, he led corporate marketing and communications for all of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Suarez earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oviedo (Spain), where he also earned degrees in management of telecommunications and new media. He is also part of the Theseus and IMD international executive Alumni Networks. Suarez is currently enrolled as a student in the PhD in Leadership and Change program at Antioch University.
Through his work, Suarez has often been asked to represent his employers before governments and organizations such as the United Nations, European Union and the Inter-American Development Bank (thanks to much of this research that can be found at http://closedstudentsuccess.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Who-is-behind-this/316120-12397).
The Lumina Foundation is the bedrock of 21st century social Darwinism. It is a ruthless organization set up by bankers and financialization experts to wage a full blown attack on what we used to know as education.
In part four, we will examine just how Lumina used the wrecking ball to decimate City College of San Francisco. We will see how they have pocketed the accrediting agencies and used them as a form of ‘murder incorporated’ to exclude students from college, revamp education in favor of obedience training, and turn the entire enterprise of higher education over to Wall Street.
Lumina is the educational face of the Obama administration for higher education and as shown, they are not alone. But they do play the largest role and the fact that they are designing new federal regulations for accreditation will also be of interest to readers.
The sad part is that the corporate press, wholly owned and run by Wall Street refuses to reveal any of this to a public so amused t death that it is shocking but not unexpected.
* On July 8, 2013 the education secretary for England, Michael Gove‘s announced plans to revolutionize learning in England’s schools. The new ‘plan’ will see five-year-olds studying fractions and writing computer programs in their first year of school. The new curriculum promotes, in the words of Michael Grove, “the words of foundation for learning the vital advanced skills that universities and businesses desperately need – skills such as essay-writing, problem-solving, mathematical modeling and computer programming. As one person commented on the new curriculum, “At the end of the day, like in many other education systems, the purpose is to keep growing kids right on the very edge of what they can cope with developmentally so that they continue to doubt themselves and their own competence in their formative years and thereafter too. A population lacking in confidence is much more obedient” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jul/08/michael-gove-education-curriculum-fractions?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2).
**I posted back in 2010 now that Verizon is joining the multi-billion dollar educational fray (http://www.dailycensored.com/2012/07/26/look-at-whos-partnering-with-verizon-to-deliver-common-core-offal/) as well as the newly created Rupert Murdoch’s ‘educational’ division headed by Joel Klein, cyber learning from K-16 and beyond is the new venture plan and has been around for some time (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jun/28/news-corp-split-rupert-murdoch).
From - The Microsoft ‘news center’, little more than a corporate rag for Bill Gates and his prevarications and low-self esteem attacks on public education. The ‘self-delusion center’ would be the best bet for such trash but this is the global economy, year 2010, and it resembles an eerie episode of Twilight Zone.
According to Gates’ free-wheeling and self-promoting website, three leading technology companies announced January 13, 2009 they would embark on “a collaboration aimed at transforming global educational assessment and improving learning outcomes” (Cisco, Intel and Microsoft Lead Collaboration to Improve Global EducationAssessments (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2009/jan09/01-13EducationMeasurePR.mspx). Lovely, isn’t it?
At the Learning and Technology World Forum in London, Cisco Systems Inc., Intel Corporation and Microsoft Corp. unveiled plans to underwrite a multi-sector research project to develop new assessment approaches, methods and technologies for measuring the success of 21st-century teaching and learning in classrooms around the world. You bet it will be heavily funded and publicly traded on stock exchanges across the world. In fact, it is already, if you haven’t noticed. This is Race to the Top on steroids.
During the January 2009 session, the three companies called upon educational leaders, governments and other corporations to join in their efforts. When Gates, Cisco and Intel ‘call upon’ someone they are really demanding compliance and servitude, the ideas of ‘choice’ and market fundamentalism. These three multi-billionaire companies and their CEO’s and major shareholders call upon no one; they demand obedience and the price one pays for not giving it is more than a twelve step program or lock down in an ICU unit.
Interestingly, at the same conference the three companies also announced the appointment of Barry McGaw, currently the director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, as executive director of the project. The corporations love supplicants that can carry water for them and McGaw will oversee an executive committee, project lead team, and up to 50 leading experts and innovators in academia and government, to collaborate on the research and assist in influencing the development of future international and national assessments. In other words he will do the bidding of the new global ruling class; assuring education is taken out of ‘education’ in the name of training and corporate reform. It’s an old card trick. This is not the first time we have seen it. Go back to the Dewey-Lippmann debates of the 1920’s and you can see the same old hammering. Mark Twain once said, “History does not repeat itself but it sure does rhyme a lot”.
According to Microsoft, with an extensive background in academia and research, McGaw has served as the director for Education at the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) where he was involved with international education assessments in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) (ibid). Are we supposed to be impressed by these lofty paid-for credentials and apprenticeships by McGaw or concerned and frightened? For my money it is the latter.
McGaw, bowing to market fundamentalism and the demands of his plutocratic handlers, smoothly stated that:
“Shrinking resources and market pressures mean that education can no longer be the sole responsibility of governments… Building the future workforce will require a commitment from the private sector to partner with public institutions. Reforming assessment is essential to enabling any systemic change in education. And change on a global scale is required to equip students of today with the skills they need to succeed in the workforce of tomorrow. PISA’s international education assessments focus on key competencies in reading, mathematics and science. In PISA 2003, we took a step by adding an assessment of problem solving, but one limited to analogical reasoning. We hoped to add information and communications technology (ICT) competence in PISA 2006 but did not succeed. We all need now to work together to advance assessment practice” (ibid).
This is all horseshit but the kind that even the best jockeys or stable cleaners can’t supply. The truth of the matter is that McGaw was selected for his salesmanship abilities and his sophistry, not for any ideas he could bring to the table. The gut wrenching fact is that McGaw brings nothing to the table; he takes it with him from the table to the toilet.
Microsoft goes on to pet themselves lovingly, stating that:
“The assessment research and development project spearheaded by Cisco, Intel and Microsoft has received the support of major international assessment organizations. Specifically, OECD and the International Association of the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) have expressed interest in using the evidence-based and verifiable output of the 21st-century skills assessment to inform the development of the next versions of PISA and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), their respective international benchmarks” (ibid).
Evidence based my ass, the only evidence we can see is the wholesale destruction of intellectualism as Gates and his corporate pals boil education down into pabulum. But it gets worse. Andreas Schleicher, head of Education Indicators and Analysis, OECD, another corporate client remarked:
“In the global economy, it is the world’s best-performing education systems, not simply improvement by national standards, that have become the yardstick for educational success,” said. “That is why more and more countries measure the relative strengths and weaknesses of their education systems with OECD’s global PISA assessments. To do so effectively, it is crucially important that these assessments continue to evolve to reflect the skills that matter for individuals and economies. Technology-based assessments will be critical to this and the project brings together key partners that can help PISA make this happen.
IEA is committed to the greater integration of IT into all its assessments, especially TIMSS and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study,” said Seamus Hegarty, chair of the IEA. “This reflects the changes in learning environments and the potential of technology to enhance the teaching and learning process. We look forward to working with the collaboration to achieve our common goals for young learners” (ibid).
As if these monsters were interested in authentic learning and authentic assessment. They are setting up a cattle feed for the destruction of the mind; obedience training centers they can celebrate as ‘learning centers’ while they heft profit, invade countries, batten down the hatches on wages, dress up servitude as freedom and bottle the whole thing as educational reform. It is enough to make one gag.
Based on extensive research conducted by the corporate prevaricators themselves, Cisco, Intel and Microsoft concluded that most education systems have not “kept pace with the dramatic changes in the economy” and the skill sets that are required for students to succeed. These skills, according to the corporations include the ability to think critically and creatively; to work cooperatively; and to adapt to the evolving use of technology in business and society.
Right, as if the values and dispositions of completive global capitalism actually pronounce or excel human values. Capitalism, as an economic system based on inequality, oppression and its acceptance, bases its morals and values on go-it-alone individualism, hand to hand competition, status seeking and narcissm, consumerism as the font for happiness – acquiring things in an attempt to make up for boring, tedious, underpaid and meaningless production, interest in the lives of the rich and famous, the ethics of material acquisition and buy, buy, buy to make one happy, as well as treating people as a means to an end in the struggle for both survival and profit. This then is the morality of capitalism and you can see it in every phase of daily life. As Marx noted, “The ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class”.
Nowhere can this be seen best than within the corridors of the minds of the Gates’ of the world, the Cisco’s and their corporate henchmen and in Intel, all monopolies of the world who mouth competition like they would a male or female organ.
The new educational ‘deform’ project will focus on, in the weasel words of Microsoft:
“several key areas that will offer the most promising opportunities for transforming education and assessment. Teams of educators and academics will focus on enabling education assessment methodologies and technologies, effective learning environments, and replicable ICT-enabled teaching and assessment methods that foster the development and assessment of the skills students will need to succeed. To accelerate the project in time to influence the next versions of PISA and TIMSS, the project will review successful classroom practices for the teaching and testing of 21st-century skills and draw implications for large-scale assessments (ibid).
Notice how these perfidious destroyers of life use terms such as ‘associate’, ‘teams’, ‘best practices’, ‘innovative assessment methods’ and the like? In their world up is down and down is up. We’ve gone down Alice’s rabbit hole and we never even noticed who was choreographing the entrance or guiding our entry.
Cisco, another large monopolist with no hunger for anything competitive let alone a ‘capitalist market’, also weighed in. Michael Stevenson, vice president of Global Education, Cisco was quick to remark:
“Cisco believes a holistic transformation of the global educational system requires a long-term, multi-stakeholder commitment from the public and private sector. We believe the collaboration between Cisco, Intel and Microsoft can serve as an impetus in creating and implementing an international assessment standard to measure skills and abilities that are critical for student success in the 21st-century (ibid).
Cisco, Intel and Microsoft are three legs of the new ‘stool’ we all are being forced to accept and sit on. Ask yourself: when was the last time these corporations ran their innovative plans by you?
Will Swope, Intel’s Vice President and general manager, of what is called the ‘Corporate Sustainability Group’, noted:
“Cisco, Intel and Microsoft each have a long commitment to global education and enabling and empowering educators. The collaboration will help us to reach our common goal of transforming education around the world. Specifically, we are aiming to resolve the gap that exists between what goes on in schools and what goes on in the real world and better measure the skills that are truly needed for the 21st-century (ibid).
Are they ‘enabling educators’ or disabling education and turning educators into at will dispensaries for the type of propaganda you are reading from them here? The shame of it all. But don’t be dismayed. In the words of Anoop Gupta, corporate vice president for the Unlimited Potential Group, the Education Product Group, and Technology Policy and Strategy at Microsoft:
“As we continue to engage with government leaders, institutions and educators, one of the most important points that are consistently raised is the need for public and private sectors to unite in an effort to extend access to quality education, increase graduation rates and create a consistent way to measure success. Through this collaboration, we hope to inspire others to join the mission because we believe that, together, we can make greater impact towards ensuring students of today are better prepared for the workforce of tomorrow (ibid) (http://www.dailycensored.com/cyber-earning-the-big-enchilada-point-and-click-education-in-the-age-of-irrationality/).
*** Take a look at their ties to ALEC (http://sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Lumina_Foundation_for) for they support the reactionary, legal boiler plate factory they hope will impose contract education on the entire community college system (American Legislative Exchange Council, “Solutions for the States,” 38th Annual Meeting agenda, on file with CMD, August 3-6, 2011).