The Corporate Vision for American Education

August 3rd, 2012

Published on ZNet, by Jack Rasmus, August 01, 2012.

Both K-12 and college education systems in America were once the envy of the world. But that system is now in a state of continuing decline, with a halt to the decline nowhere in sight.

At the college level, the central problem is runaway costs.  

College administrators have become intent on acting as corporate CEOs, spending more and more money on providing CEO level pay and benefit packages for themselves and their growing management bureaucracies; expanding physical assets (buildings, facilities, programs); recruiting more and more wealthy foreign ‘customers’ (students) to cover rising costs; and raising the price of higher education services for US students at an annual rate of more than 12% despite four years of economic crisis and absent economic recovery.

The short term solution to accelerating higher education costs by policymakers thus far has been to burden college students with ever-escalating student loans; and for K-12 education, it has been to raise property taxes and to require more out of pocket payments by families of students for what was once fully publicly provided services.

The higher education financing formula based on student loans has served banks and financial institutions well. Student loan debt as a result now exceeds $900 billion and represents two-thirds of all consumer credit. Student loan debt is growing faster than both credit card and auto debt combined. Moreover, the partial takeover of student loan administration by the Obama government has not resolved the problem. Government is once again shifting the cost of loans to students in the form of higher interest rates while reducing grants and cutting funding for the future.

The consequence for higher education is that there exist today no programs or policies by government to bring escalating college costs, and student debt, under some semblance of control. Fewer Americans will therefore seek and obtain higher education, while more wealthy foreign students will be recruited to pay the excessive costs, as the quality of education in public colleges and universities correspondingly continues to decline.

The scenario for K-12 education is similarly dismal, both short and long term. In August 2011, the $1 trillion dollar deficit cutting deal attacked public education in particular. And post-November 2012 election deals by politicians will do so further. K-12 public education funding has failed to grow commensurate with the growth of population now for decades. With the recent economic crisis and the continuing slow and faltering economic recovery, even inadequate past levels of funding are now repeatedly reduced. Desperate school districts are forced in turn to cut programs and attack teachers’ jobs, wages, and benefits to make up the shortfall.

Corporate interests meanwhile lead the effort to prevent any tax increases at the state and local level to adequately fund education. Their solution, and objective, is to ‘privatize’ the public education system … //

… Standardization of product via NCLB, and now RTT and, in the future, successor programs to RTT, is the prerequisite toward a vision of a privatized public education system by Bill Gates and others, where the content and delivery is determined by corporate America. The drive toward standardization initiated by NCLB is now moving to a new phase with RTT. Once achieved on a pilot, partial basis with RTT, it will later generalize. With this arrangement, technology assumes the central role in the classroom, displacing the teacher. And once it does the providers of technology gain further control over the content and delivery of public education, while creating a de facto privatization and new profit center for corporate America. This is the scenario, and form, of corporatization of American education on the horizon. It is the vision now being planned by the Bill Gates’s of the world for public education in America in the decades ahead. (full text).

Links:

International Academy/K12;

K–12 (education) on en.wikipedia: … is a designation for the sum of primary and secondary education. It is used in the United States, Canada, Philippines and Australia. P–12 is also occasionally used in Australia.[1] The expression is a shortening of Kindergarten (K) for 4–6-year-olds through twelfth grade (12) for 16–19-year-olds, the first and last grades of free education in these countries …, Other schools, Chinese schools, Islamic schools.

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