Globalization comes home
by Larry Kuehn
Director of Research and Technology, BCTF
International students seen as a business
“They get to come to Canada and learn English, and they can perhaps earn a Dogwood Certificate, which is an internationally recognized commodity….They pump money into our system, which then goes to support our B.C. kids.”
|Hon. C. Clark, Hansard, March 2003
The X-filing of the BC curriculum
“From the perspective of attracting tuition-paying ESL students to schools in British Columbia, the new graduation program can only lengthen their stay at school and make this option a less saleable item for districts to look at as a revenue producer.”
|ESL PSA brief on the Grad Review
- Student Keypals
- “You are there”—classroom show from Indymedia in Miami at the demonstrations
- Networking of opponents of corporate globalization—IDEA
- But also individualize and privatize
What is “neo-liberal globalization”?
- Ideology that the market rules
- Less equity
- Privatization—commodify so that everything can be in the market
- Freedom for corporations from government—deregulation
- Increased regulation of public services
Privatization of education in B.C.
- Student fees
- Fundraising and selling of junk food and pop
- International students for profit
- School district business companies
- Online home schooling
- Trade agreements—Phoenix University
Focus education on economic purposes
- Planning 10 so that students will know about “pathways”
- Reduced electives, with loss of arts, drama, music and others
- Focus on individual choice rather than social choices
Control structures from corporate globalization
- “Cult of efficiency”
- Control through a loose/tight system—”steering at a distance”
- Data-based decision-making—”If it can’t be counted, it can’t be managed”
Loose/tight control system
- The “loose” is the appearance of local freedom to decide—SPCs, school plans, “notional budgets”
- The “tight” is centrally set framework through accountability contracts
- Fed by a technology-based data system (“student level data system”—2005)
Control structures as applied in BC education
- Accountability contracts based on outcomes—not inputs or process
- School planning councils—plans
- Student testing—data for system
- College standards for teachers
Attack labour and professional rights
- Unions are considered to be impediments to the free market
- Labour rights of workers are attacked and unions weakened
- “Professionalism” is used a weapon to control teachers
Is neo-liberal globalization appearing in your district?
- Corporate sponsors, pop and junk food?
- International students for profit?
- School District Business Company?
- Overseas schools run for profit?
- Online programs as a product for sale?
- Control systems imported from business—loose/tight data driven?
Are these showing up in some way?
- End of equity-directed social and educational programs?
- Dominance of business interests over the social and cultural purposes of education?
- Potential impact of trade agreements?
What is to be done?
- Challenge the neo-liberal ideology that “the market rules.”
- Promote the public good of public education.
- Make equity and social justice valued objectives.
- Challenge the control structures that simulate the market in the education system.
- Develop a Charter that presents a democratic, participatory way of making decisions about public education.
- Develop an appropriate accountability system.
- Challenge the loss of conditions that are necessary for quality public education.
- Work to regain and improve working and learning conditions—and support others working for the same end.
Jean Swanson’s criteria for evaluating success
- The long haul—you made some improvement toward the long-term objective or blocked others from taking away something valued.
- You brought more people on side.
- You got your position on the record.
More information on globalization and education
Check out the BCTF website.