If Washington D.C. is the capital of America, than Delaware is the capital of corporate education reform.
Over the past week, many of us who are resisting the privatization of public education have been talking about The Ledger. Peter Greene broke the news for the world to see, which Diane Ravitch quickly picked up on. What is “The Ledger”?
Watch this video.
It looks great, doesn’t it? Everyone gets a fair shot. You earn to learn. And it is happening before our very eyes. This is the endgame for what has been going on in education. This is what Marc Tucker was talking about back in 1992 in his letter to Hillary Clinton. All roads lead to this. Even if parents are able to push back against this, is it too late? Delaware Governor Jack Markell is already in the process of getting this embedded into Delaware state code and regulatory language. It makes sense. Delaware is the proud home to the majority of Delaware corporations who incorporate here thanks to our generous tax breaks. In June, Markell attended the Select USA conference with Global Delaware. Even President Obama went! Global Delaware is really big on the Delaware Blockchain Initiative.
Since, the legislature convenes in January of every year for six months, it is possible that the new legal framework for distributed ledger shares will exist as early as the summer of 2017.
If you don’t think the upcoming election for Delaware State Representatives and State Senators is VERY important, think again. Ask each one of them how they would vote on getting this hocus-pocus junk science embedded into Delaware’s corporate law. In fact, I have to wonder how many have known about this all along. Especially those who wrote many corporate bills the past few years. See who has been really pushing the Pathways To Prosperity program. This explains why Markell defied the General Assembly with the Steering Committee for the Pathways program.
And then there are the roles the Rodel Foundation and BRINC have with all this. Rodel has been pushing digital learning for many years now. Rodel is a non-profit foundation in Delaware. Many states have these non-profits who say they are the bridge between the state educators and the corporations. They like to label themselves as the bridge between the two. In reality, they are the puppets of the corporations. They bring the corporate brainwashing into every aspect of the state education system and watch it slowly transform into a complete takeover for the corporations. These are the Business Roundtables and committees in every state. The Rodel Teacher Council, a very selected group of Delaware educators, from both traditional school districts and charters, is very big on personalized learning. In fact, they already have Delaware teachers pushing coding school in the classroom.
Rodel also pushes educator evaluation reform, weighted funding, and teacher leader programs. I do not believe the educators who get involved with Rodel are evil. Some actually resist some of their policies. They are good people who become the poster teachers for Rodel. I have bashed them in the past, but the reality is they just want to help. But have no doubt, Rodel uses them. Every state that has these similar programs do as well. It is not a coincidence the Delaware DOE met with Rodel before our very own legislators and state teacher union organization in formal ESSA meetings. Even school districts in Delaware have jumped on the personalized learning bandwagon by forming a consortium called BRINC, which now includes the majority of the school districts in the state. And the company that profits from this consortium? Schoology.
But the Rodel Foundation and BRINC are just two tentacles in this multi-appendage Hydra leading the way towards the future of education in America. Every state has these groups and organizations. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of education companies, profit and non-profit alike, getting tons of money to further these very bad policies and snake oil. But the true masterminds are those who put it all into play. Those who lead the Hydra. The CEOs of the biggest corporations in the world. They are all around us. But make no mistake, Delaware has a very huge role in the corporate education reform business.
As many in the state are aware, Ben DuPont, of the legendary DuPont family of Delaware, opened a coding school in 2014, along with Jim Stewart of the Epic Foundation. If you look at their Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and Steering Committee for Zip Code Wilmington, it is a who’s who of very powerful people in Delaware. Many are connected with very bad education policy in Delaware. Rodman Ward III (Rodel), Porter Schutt (his wife leads Delaware Teach For America), and Charles McDowell (President of the boards at EastSide and Family Foundations Academy, also on the board of Early College High School). Some of the biggest corporations in America are represented at ZipCode Wilmington: Bank of America, Capital One, and JPMorgan Chase. But one company stands above all the rest because of their ability to further the Blockchain Initiative in Delaware: Corporation Services Company (CSC). How do you think so many corporations get incorporated in Delaware? CSC leads the charge in this area. Someone has to be the registered agent for these corporations.
So let’s put the pieces together… Blockchain gets a big push this year but they have to get through all these hurdles with state laws and regulations. Jack Markell, the Godfather of Corporate Education Reform in Delaware along with Paul Herdman of the Rodel Foundation, pushes Delaware legislators to allow for Blockchain start-ups to come to Delaware. But we also have to change the laws about digital currency. A DuPont guy starts a coding school, one of the first non-profit of its sort in the country. Backed by some of the biggest corporate names in the state and the biggest financial companies in the country. We have very strong connections with Rodel, Teach For America, and Delaware charter schools. We have attorneys and the biggest registered agent company in the world.
Governor Markell has pushed the Delaware Pathways to Prosperity program A LOT the past year. More so than any other program. In February, he spoke at the annual conference for the program which also had Jamie Merisotis from the Lumina Foundation. Merisotis pushes competency-based education like no one else. The Lumina Foundation is all about students joining “apprentice” programs and job training. Sound familiar? It should. This is exactly what Marc Tucker’s goals were in the “Dear Hillary” letter linked above.
A system like this could never happen in the public education system we have today. Traditional brick and mortar school buildings, with local school boards making all the decisions based off Superintendent recommendations, and teachers backed by unions to protect their jobs, salaries, and benefits. The funding for education would not work in this system. All of that would have to be either dismantled or embedded into their very structures to allow this. As well, in the event this power structure should collapse, something would have to take their place. This is where we see the birth of charter schools back in 1991.
Charter schools do not have a true “local board” of publicly elected officials. They are corporations, and they pick their own board of directors. Most of them do not have unionized teachers. Many state laws across the country set up charter schools in such a way that they siphon funds from the local school districts. Some have exhibited very discriminatory and racist enrollment practices. Charters have created the very means by which Common Core and standardized testing took over public education. There was no better time than the Great Recession for Common Core and state testing to become the new education standard.
Everyone felt the pinch from the Great Recession. It affected every single American. School districts, many of which were already having financial problems due to the tremendous growth of charter schools, were poor. President Obama and former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan delivered Race To The Top, a coercive manipulation of American education. They bribed starving school districts into accepting Common Core and the very punitive accountability measures in exchange for more federal funding. Sure, No Child Left Behind demanded greater accountability from schools, but Race To The Top took this many steps further. Based on standardized test scores, there were now mechanisms granted through ESEA flexibility waivers to “turnaround” “failing” schools. These schools were all low-income, high-poverty, urban schools. Many schools were victims of labels and shame. If they didn’t comply with the State Departments of Education mandates, they were converted to charter schools or management companies. Education fixit companies rose out of the woodwork, signing contracts with school districts and state education agencies at levels never seen before. The already existing state assessments were gutted to create tests aligned with the Common Core. Teacher evaluation systems were tied to these tests. Civil rights groups started getting tons of money from the Gates Foundation and others.
At first with Common Core, it was all about competing with China and Singapore. They were ahead of us, or so the corporate education reformers said, and we had to put our failing education system on new ground. Common Core, which allowed for every single state in the country to have the same set of standards and curriculum, uprooted the education system. Teachers no longer had the same freedoms they had before. The unions felt the crushing weight of this system as teachers fled from the profession. Many teachers who resisted were fired or hushed into compliance.
Meanwhile, we saw the rise of educator prep programs like Teach For America. They were around since the 1990s but flourished in this new system. Charter schools loved them. They were not the traditional school teacher. These were fast preparatory programs which could fill turnover issues at the blink of an eye. More programs like Relay Graduate School began to enter the system.
No state was a bigger proponent of the corporate education reform movement than Delaware. They had all the pieces in place. Newly christened Governor Jack Markell was going to save education! He led the National Governor’s Association when Common Core came out. With his resume including such companies as McKinsey and Associates and Nextel, as well as his eight years as Delaware Treasurer, Markell was in a position to take Delaware education into the 21st Century. He brought Chicago politics to the First State. With this background, is it any coincidence Delaware and Tennessee were the first recipients of the Race To the Top grants? And Delaware wasted no time spending that money. Half the money went to the Delaware Department of Education where they overhauled the state agency to participate in the national Statewide Longitudinal Data System. New areas took over the DOE with new sections dealing with Assessment and Accountability, Teacher/Leader Effectiveness, and Teacher Instruction transforming the DOE from a regulatory and compliance Department to a policy-making and punitive overlord of Delaware education. Jack Markell fully supported this endeavor and refused to listen to the districts and teachers who resisted these initiatives.
In some states, an opt out movement rose. While some will credit opt out to the teacher unions, it began with parents. They saw these upcoming state assessments, like the PARCC or Smarter Balanced Assessment. They saw what Common Core looked like. They did not want their kids taking these tests. Slowly, but surely, opt out became a part of the education landscape in America. Nowhere did this take place more than New York and New Jersey. The fed and states fought this movement. They threatened schools and districts with funding cuts. They told parents it was illegal. They fought legislation in some states that would codify parental rights with opt out. But for all their bullying and coercion with the opt out movement, they never really issued the threats they were throwing. In some aspects, they needed opt out to happen. Not a complete movement, but just enough to cast the illusion of too much testing.
For years, districts issued assessments to estimate where students were at. They were not ways to punish students, but to see how they could help them. As state assessments grew, so did district assessments. Many districts knew the state assessments were garbage, but their assessments did give them some of the instructional feedback they needed. The testing industry grew and soon students were taking multiple tests for the same purposes. Some states, like Delaware, had precursors to the Common Core assessments we see today. DCAS was given to students two to three times a year: in the fall and in the spring. If a student wasn’t proficient on the spring test, they could take it again. It was the perfect foil to allow the Delaware legislature to vote for the Smarter Balanced Assessment. “Our students are tested too much” and “we only need a once a year test” filled Legislative Hall in Dover. Even though the bill almost died, it became state law on July 1st, 2014. Even though the Delaware DOE paid for the test already.verty
Opt out grew to big numbers. 20% of New York students opted out in 2015. 22% in 2016. The feds and state took notice. The parents were falling into their carefully laid trap. Just in time for the Every Student Succeeds Act to come out. In ESSA, there are mechanisms to allow for competency-based education. Personalized learning is touched on as well. Community schools are all the rage these days, and ESSA covers that as well. Apprenticeship programs like Delaware’s Pathways To Prosperity are there. Charter schools will get some boosts. The feds are told to back off with their punitive accountability and flexibility waiver schemes. The U.S. Secretary of Education isn’t allowed to dictate Common Core or any other type of state standards to the states anymore. The states and local education agencies get to decide how to move forward with education. Granted, the feds still have to approve these programs, but it is all about state decisions.
Out of opt out, we have already seen a federal push to reduce testing. In Delaware, our assessment inventory committee met and many districts submitted recommendations and inventories of their tests. Our state DOE did it as well. The final report came out with recommendations that did not get rid of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, even though that is what everyone wanted. What will, eventually happen, is the advent of the end-of-unit online digital tests. Pass, you move on. Fail, you stick with it until you get it right. For students of poverty, students with disabilities, and English Language learner students, this will be the single-most debilitating educational experience of their lives. We know this now because these students score much lower on standardized tests than their counterparts. These won’t be true teacher-created assessments, but rather new tests based on the same dynamics and platforms of the high-stakes tests we now hate. Because we reduced the testing, because students will get immediate instructional feedback from their teacher-facilitator, because eventually all those pesky unions and high state benefits and pensions will be replaced by teachers who get their credentials from the Edu Blocks from the Blockchain, because students will learn what we think they should be learning, for all these reasons… opt out will die.
The corporate education reform movement loves it! This is their policy-making goldmine. With the very same horrible standardized tests they created, they use the results of them to continue the conversation. They use civil rights groups. They use Super PACS to get their legislators into office. They have been doing this for a very long time. Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? It doesn’t matter. They aren’t the ones running the show. This isn’t just an education transformation. This is a GLOBAL transformation. Healthcare, the environment, the economy, the military, entertainment, online gaming, the internet, social media, science, psychology… everything is involved in this.
The ESSA is nothing but a piece of paper that will give states more power to further the corporate education reform agendas that were embedded into every single state since 1991. But it is also the global game-changer that Peter Greene referred to as a master and servant state. It is the culmination of decades of destruction in public education. It is a confusing mess of distortion and bad education policy with enough dangling carrots to make the teacher unions love it. Everyone will say “it needs some work” or “there are some bad aspects to it”, but make no mistake: it will lead to the end of public education. The true power behind ESSA is the regulations that U.S. Secretary of Education John King is spinning out that adapt far too many of the same damaging accountability standards we had before. And if you think for one solitary second that this will end the achievement gaps in education, do not be fooled. It will lead to wider gaps that will forever separate the haves from the have-nots. Peter Greene agreed with this in his article about this latest education scam. The companies behind this will see money pouring in like never before. The elite and wealthy won’t have their kids doing the “gig for money” scheme. Those kids will be running the country. All of this is designed to turn America from what was once a freedom of democracy into a nation of compliance. Everyone is a teacher and everyone is a learner. Except for the ones behind the curtains. This will be the new global economy. The commerce of nations. But they seem have forgotten a few things. The things they always underestimate.
In every human being is a mind. A mind that fights authority. A mind that is virtually untapped. We only use 10% of our brains. The wellsprings of creativity are there. We collectively fight things that will diminish those capabilities. We resist change that will strip us of the ability to unleash our thoughts. But there are things that numb us into compliance. The biggest of which is fear. We also yearn for stability. We are resistant to change that will take us from our comfort zones. We stopped being a nomadic species a long time ago. The internet allowed us to go places we could never dream of. Virtual reality is here. Our thoughts are filled with information we cannot possibly digest all at once. We see advertisements every day without picking up a newspaper or turning on a television. We may not physically take notice of them, but our minds do. We are awash in the corporatization of the world. We protect what is ours, no matter the consequences. Those who have nothing are those who the most manipulated. But so are those who think they have the most. It is a new dimension of consciousness. Are the choices we make really our own or are we led to those choices? Those in power, the masterminds behind this global transformation, are all around us. They are the hedge fund managers, the CEOs, the 1%. We are the human capital, bartered and traded every single day. We gave them this power. Slowly, over time. They incorporated our thoughts the same time they incorporated in Delaware. They are the rulers of the world.
Humanity has always resisted slavery. We eventually cast away the chains that bind us and fight back. We will do so with this. Some of us are attempting to do this right now. This article is testament to that, along with the countless others who seek to expose the truth under conditions of non-transparency. We are the modern-day resistance. We fight for a future we don’t want for our children and grandchildren. We don’t want them to be slaves to corporations. We want them to create and have free will. To be able to decide their own future, not one dictated to them through standardized tests and data. We want you to join us. In numbers greater than what we have now. We invite you to say no to these futurists who dare to use children. We want equity decided on by the human mind, not by a forced economic scheme designed to profit.
We are teachers, parents, educators, citizens and leaders who want more than the snake oil thrust upon us with those who seek to be a prophet, but merely profit.
Opt out of everything these charlatans and frauds are sending our way. Opt out of their high-stakes tests. Opt out of their digital personalized learning. Opt out of their competency-based education and social impact bonds. Opt out of their silly Blockchain Earn To Learn games. Opt out of their rhetoric about failing schools with the same foundations as the ones they created. Opt out of their consortiums and groups and reports. Opt out of every single mechanism they produce which would allow your child’s data to go anywhere outside the classroom. Opt out of the legislators and politicians who push these agendas and schemes and use children to do it. Opt out of school choice that was supposed to be about innovation but was in reality a tool for discrimination and moral bankruptcy. Opt out of anything that will predetermine your child’s future.
Teachers need to get their union leadership into shape very fast. Their compliance with this cabal is not bringing them to the table. It is firmly putting them on the table and they are getting eaten alive. Opt out of these partnerships teachers!
It is time to resist. It is time to speak up. Opt Out NOW!