Can you see the big picture?

Dear Journalists,
Two years ago we asked for help to unravel the connections we uncovered between multinational technology corporations and our B.C. government. We hoped that an investigative journalist could dig below the surface of the story of education in BC and help us to connect the dots.

Because we believe that public school classrooms are no place for the promotion of the private profits of corporations, for a long time we have been vocal in our resistance to the creep of corporations into our schools. Now we are soliciting your help because it seems that corporations have an ally in their quest: the B.C. Ministry of Education.

The Ministry’s sudden promotion of coding in schools took us by surprise. We could not understand why or how coding zipped up the priority list of what is needed in schools ahead of seismic upgrades and repairs to leaky roofs. We had not seen it mentioned anywhere in the roll-out of BC’s new curriculum documents. And we tried hard to understand how we could teach coding without computers even while we were assured by the Minister that we didn’t need computers for the task.

But our confusion has recently ended. We now see that computer coding is the key that will provide an open door for corporations to enter public school classrooms and access what they see as a most valuable commodity: our students, their future consumers.  

school-privatization-cartoon1

Not only will our 500 000 public school students provide a motherlode of information for marketers through the data-mining of their online behaviours, but the sale of necessary technology to school districts will provide corporations with billions of public funds.

A big slice of that $5.5 trillion pie.

Take a look at the following “dots” and see if you come up with the same picture that we do:

The Learning Partnership has multiple corporate partners/funders:

All of these groups joined previous Minister of Education Fassbender at the Wosk Forum on K-12 Education in January 2015.

Can you see why alarms are ringing for teachers and for parents when we notice so many corporate links to our public classrooms?

What we see is a pattern emerging that looks very familiar. It’s a pattern we’ve seen unfold in other countries where the project to  privatize public education is more advanced.

We have also seen multiple examples of the failure of Milton Friedman’s injunction to ignore the pedagogical and democratic ideals of public education in the pursuit of private profit siphoned from the public purse.

We hope that you in the media will prove us wrong, that you will show us that our public education system will not go down the same path to privatization as the deteriorating public education systems in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States.

Please investigate these links so that you can assure us that our children’s future is not being sold to the highest corporate bidder.

Respectfully,

Public School Teachers

(This post is the result of  a collaboration with fellow teacher, Bruce McCloy,  who provided most of the research.)

1 thought on “Can you see the big picture?”

  1. Rather than paying corporations to provide services in schools, the Ministry should turn to the 44 000 teachers it employs to access the multitude of skills available. Just as SD 43 has done:

    Extract: While many are using tech tools in their classroom, those with little exposure to new mobile apps and computer programs have been slower to adapt while at the same time the expectation to use them is high and growing.

    To bridge the knowledge gap, School District 43 has set up a squad of tech-savvy teachers who will help their colleagues. There’s also a website of resources and dozens of pilots going on in schools.

    Dave Sands told the board of trustees that the goal of the program — called Tech 20 — is to “build capacity” among teachers who haven’t developed the necessary skills while the website is a clearing house for information.

    Since September, Sands said, the team has fielded 108 requests and supported 1,000 educators, showing that demand is there for this kind of help. The team is staffed with teachers who have been seconded at half-time for a year with funds from the district’s recent surplus.

    – See more at: http://www.tricitynews.com/news/tech-team-helps-teachers-with-technology-1.3074068#sthash.s6VHAz5B.dpuf

    Like

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