Privatized Thought: Betsy DeVos and the Reality of a Corporate Education

By Noah J. Karvelis

January 26, 2017

Excerpt: The way that we learn history, the behaviors and viewpoints that we are taught are acceptable, the different cultural norms, all of the things that we learn in a school are all political. Any action that takes place in education is, by necessity, political. As a result of this, education is an incredibly powerful tool and one that is increasingly placed in the hands of the elite. With an increase of corporate control over education through textbooks or classroom management systems that are sold to school districts, there is an increase in a type of education that plays directly into a passive, consumer-based education. This type of education is extremely valuable for a capitalist society that has no need (or room) for anything other passivity and certainly does not want revolution or progressive challenges to power….

With the hijacking of public education by privatized business, these schools serve a very specific cause. While some charter schools offer real opportunity for students or alternative and effective approaches to education, all too frequently they function as privatized businesses removed from community control and instead placed in the hands of CEOs and businessmen and women with profits in mind and an opportunity to reproduce passive consumers. Many charter schools offer a direct challenge to free thought and the development of an informed populace as a direct result of their schooling-for-profit design. Even well-meaning reformists can become entangled in the complex web of interests that is created when schools are removed from the public commons and placed in the hands of the free market. … the ultimate accomplishment for this group of corporate interests thus far has just taken place. With the nomination of Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education, we have seen the greatest victory yet for the privatization of schools and a huge win for the conservative right and corporate interests in America. With the election of Donald Trump, progressive thought was in danger, yet, the nomination of DeVos has also positioned an attack on progressive thought in schools….

This simply is a devastating blow to education in America. What we look at now is a strikingly real possibility of drastic changes to how education functions in America. Our education system already teaches students blatant lies about the history of the nation, replicates the social classes of students and in essence guarantees a working class for corporate powers that also offers no legitimate challenge to power. Education is and has been a system that was crippled and dictated by capitalist society. We must recognize that as fact. However, this system may no longer operate in the hidden work of schools or in historical deceptions that create passive consumers. What we face now is a public school system that is ran by a billionaire who has been a major proponent of transforming schools into what are essentially corporate-controlled sites of indoctrination- primarily for the reproduction of Christian values. … an increase in the “indoctrination of our youth” for the benefit of corporate, as well as Anglo-Saxon, interests and to the detriment of the hope for radical change in America. We must all resist this attack on progressive thought in any way that we can.”