We are led to believe that problems are given ready-made, and that they disappear in the response or the solutions… According to this infantile prejudice, the master sets the problem, our task is to solve it, and results are accredited true or false by a powerful authority.
Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 1944, 44
The corporate agenda today is complete expansion into all aspects of education from teacher training and employment to administering schools, and all points of curriculum and assessment in between, and all for profit.
In Australia, global edu-business conglomerates such as Pearson are establishing deep roots in educational policy settings, meeting regularly with senior bureaucrats, commissioning articles by the Chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), John Hattie, and pushing forward their key personnel such as Michael Barber to join an Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) panel in discussions on assessment.
Such networks of influence linking profit-seeking entities with government education departments are seen starkly in the United States, where edu-business has taken hold of schools all over the country.
My research in North America investigated the relationships between education policy and for-profit interests and asked what Australia could do to find the right balance of sovereignty and accountabilityin curriculum, assessment and reporting. Specifically, I studied how networks of corporations, foundations, legislatures, bureaucrats and influential individuals (gurus) tap into government revenue set aside for public education, creating a conflict of interest and consequences contrary to the interests of students.
This report focuses on profiteering in the development and sharing of curriculum and teaching resources, vocational skills, metric assessment using standardised digital tests and so-called personalised learning and blended learning environments. The research includes study of union initiatives in San Francisco, New York City and Washington DC and draws upon extensive news and media, academic literature and publicly available documents as well as interviews with key players in public education to reveal the impact of profiteering from public education funds.
Click here to download full report.