The best way to get something embedded into the American society? The power of distraction. Once again, while all eyes are on Donald Trump, Congress is acting in the dawn of Winter to pass a bill that will affect the children of America. This time, it involves social impact bonds.
This action is only part of a larger bill, known as the 21st Century Cares Act. Spearheaded by Vice-President Joe Biden after the death of his son, Beau Biden, the bill has become so much more than finding a cure for cancer. Special interest groups and lobbyists infiltrated the $6.3 billion bill to include things they want. The bill is expected to pass the U.S. House next week and the U.S. Senate the week after.
The $100 million dedicated to “pay for success”, also known as “social impact partnerships”, will be up to the states to submit grant applications. The states will work with “nonprofit social service providers, intermediaries, evaluators, and philanthropic organizations,” according to an article from the Social Innovation Research Center. I’ve written about social impact bonds a bit since I first came across them over a year ago. These are nothing more than corporations, non-profits, and banks hedging bets on certain outcomes. And reaping the profits if they succeed. For some areas of society, this is not necessarily a bad thing, such as medicine. But when it branches into education, I am very concerned. The timing of this bill coinciding with full implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act is not a mere coincidence.
The U.S. Dept. of Education will assuredly dip into this vast pool of money. The Social Innovation Research Center all but guarantees this:
The legislation tasks the Treasury Department with overseeing the Social Impact Partnership program, although the department may delegate oversight authority for individual projects to other federal agencies.
ESSA calls for greater intervention in American public schools- more counselors, more community-based organizations, etc. The full invasion of American education by corporations will be like nothing seen before once ESSA is firmly entrenched in every single state. This will, of course, lead to the reinvention of American education into less of a brick-and-mortar system and more of a personalized learning and competency-based system with outside non-profits and corporations calling the shots. Teachers will become glorified moderators to the education technology invading our schools. But with the passage of the 21st Century Cares Act, children will become fodder for nothing more than a gambler in Vegas trying to win big.
Because this legislation is wrapped into such a noble cause, that of curing cancer, it is the perfect vessel for the corporate pigs to come home and feast on the trough. Congress will pass this, regardless of the pork included in it, because “it is the right thing to do”. And once again, children will pay the price.
To see the full bill, and how education will come into play, please go here. Of particular note are pages 946-949. By giving the very vague “improving rates of high school graduation“, that one line is the entrance into education. One of the first forays into public education with Social Impact Bonds by a major U.S. Bank, Goldman Sachs, resulted in a ton of controversy. The bank tried to bet on pre-schoolers in Utah. The “outcome” they wanted was less children getting special education services. But failing to understand why students even need special education in most cases, because of neurological disabilities, shows corporate America doesn’t believe in reasons, just profit.