Joel Klein announced Nov. 9 that at year’s end he will resign as York City’s Schools chancellor to become executive vice president at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Yesterday, the company announced that it was buying a technology company with big financial ties to the New York City school system. How nice. The neo-liberal corporate state has provided Klein the training ground to put forth neo-liberal market reforms that are proving to do the job of dismantling public education in the interest of the new corporate EduCare that is being built by private corporate interests to take over the educational means of production. Klein has done his job well, both with his support of the onerous Race to the Top and his corporate bootlicking and policy and personnel changes that promise the private sector a lock on public education.
News Corp. officials told the New York Times that Klein would advise Murdoch on a number of initiatives, including “developing business strategies for the emerging educational marketplace.” Capitalizing on Klein’s inside information as to how government works, his ‘networking and cronyism’ will be important for Murdoch and his companies to receive tax payer subsidized contracts, the only way to do business. Klein is much like a stock insider, he holds the information needed to put together the deals; he understands how to package the deals and sell them to the elites. Murdoch, chairman and chief operating officer of News Corp. is no dummy, he has taken a keen interest in the public education dismantling process that Race to the Top and state leaders have successfully engineered and implemented. For example, Murdoch has been investing in Teach for America and various charter schools. An ‘”instinctive Marxist” (as Noam Chomsky would label him) Murdoch knows that Teach for America is the reserve labor giant that the corporations must use to dismantle teacher unions.
Meanwhile, in a story found at businesswire.com, it appears that Murdoch’s company is acquiring 90 percent of Wireless Generation, a privately held Brooklyn-based education technology company, for approximately $360 million in cash. It will become a subsidiary of News Corp. This is keeping with the merger and acquisition frenzy taking hold over the corporate run educational sector.
According to the story at businesswire.com, one of the things Wireless Generation does is build large-scale data systems that centralize student data and is a “key partner to New York City’s Department of Education on its Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS) as well as on the City’s School of One initiative.” All of this in keeping pace with Race to the Top that compels school districts to tie their mission to the standardized tests that these companies are manufacturing. The Orwellian sounding, “Achievement and Reporting Innovation System or ARIS”, evidently secured the contracts the New York City Education Department has issued for its School of One program and they were apparently negotiated in private rather than competitively bid (Murdoch buys education technology company, Valerie Strauss Washington Post, November 30, 2010 at Larry Miller’s blog filed under Education Policy,New York).
For Murdoch and other corporate owners of the means of educational production, the corporate takeover of education is a done deal. “When it comes to K through 12 education,” Murdoch said in a statement about the Wireless Generation purchase, “we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs that extend the reach of great teaching.” Of course Murdoch is hoping that no one is learning for this would get in the way of his plans to hijack public education and transform it into a profit generating center that would not only privatize every arm of education in favor of corporate profits, but at the same time assure that no education is being afforded the permanent surplus labor army that is now our student base. News Corp. had, as of Sept. 30, 2010, total assets of approximately $56 billion and total annual revenues of approximately $33 billion. The last thing Murdoch and his corporate class want is to provide critical thinking education to the surplus population. Obedience training tied to false assessments in the form of ‘testing’ is necessary now — this and containment for a de-racinated youth population that may never work in America due to high unemployment and stagnation.
Race to the Top, the Obama administration’s corporate takeover of education has now opened up a Pandora’s Box of social dementia and profit generating opportunities as business elites race to the bottom in their attempts to dismantle public education and teacher’s unions. With coin operated politicians like Klein and a sock-puppet press like Fox along with the majority of corporate perception management ‘Newszak’ outlets, the material conditions for increasingly quick and pronounced corporate takeovers of public schools has begun, and when it comes to educational policy that seeks to privatize education there is little difference between the Democratic and Republican party leaders.
Allowing corporations to run education policy under the auspices of ‘privatized reform’ can only be stared at in disbelief. Yet this is the mantra of the Obama administration and Race to the Top being put into place by Arne Duncan, another hand tool for corporate interests. This will be another legacy that Obama will leave – corporate mandated health care and corporate run education. This is a very dangerous and stands as a threat to both civic freedom, democracy and the future of education. Yet it is public policy now and thus we now witness the corporate crimes in broad daylight and there is nothing that the ‘liberal class’ is doing or can do to stop it. Only a massive uprising of citizens against corporate domination of our daily lives will do this.