Education in almost every country in the world is subject to the grip of education ‘reform’ which is diminishing public schooling, promoting privatisation and destroying teacher professionalism. It aims to produce a narrowly educated workforce, which can read instructions and advertisements but is discouraged from thinking critically about the world.
~UK’s National Education Union
Betsy DeVos recently gallivanted around Europe, visiting schools. She has penned a commentary for Education Week “How We Can Catch Up to Other Countries in Education,” which is, of course, a putdown of America’s teachers and public school students.
But there’s something greater going on here. Making America appear like it must compete against its European neighbors is a corporate move in itself.
What Betsy fails to tell us is that other countries are facing the same school crisis as America. There’s an invasion of corporate rule of schools around the world, like there is here.
GERM is the Global Education Reform Movement. As in this country, GERM is foisting a business model on teachers and schools everywhere.
DeVos, who comes from the business world, whose family has reshaped education in Michigan and now wants to do the same in the U.S., must understand a tiny bit about GERM. Or those who are pulling her strings know about it.
The National Education Union in the UK sums it up well. Here is what GERM does to schools in countries around the world:
- Threatens the teaching profession by prioritizing and imposing a business model on education.
- Emphasizes competition between schools and teachers, using high-stakes testing.
- Gives performance rewards.
- Aims to produce a narrowly educated workforce, which can read instructions and advertisements but is discouraged from thinking critically about the world.
- Attacks teachers’ unions.
- Views education as an opportunity to maximise human capital.
- Abandons education’s role to create cultural good and social cohesion.
- Takes education out of the hands of those who own it, teachers, students, parents, and the public, to develop a commodity which can be traded globally.
- Creates a service sector which is open to trade and investors.
- Education becomes about profit not people.
- There’s an emphasis on education technology for capital.
- Breaks good school systems into academies, free schools, or in America, charter and voucher schools.
- Creates a national pay framework.
- Relies on performance related pay—think social impact bonds.
- Privatizes educational services.
GERM affects all schools—everywhere.
Pearson, the giant London based multinational, can also be found in schools around the world. They push their assessment, pedagogy, curriculum and management into schools.
Well-respected Finnish educator Pasi Sahlberg believes Finland, considered the best school system in the world, is resistant to GERM. But a few years back, even Finland appeared to be making business-like changes to their school curriculum and promoting technology.
The ultimate mission of DeVos is not only privatization of America’s schools, but schools everywhere. She and her corporate friends want the world. When you think of it this way, Betsy’s reforming of American schools takes on a whole new meaning.