Category Archives: Charter Schools

Irrationalism Central to Outlook of Charter School Promoters

The Center for Education Reform (CER) may well be the most belligerent promoter of charter schools in the United States. Its main modus operandi rests on loud irrationalism and rendering everything upside down.

Irrationalism, the close cousin of voluntarism, pragmatism, and fideism, is all about distorting reality, perpetuating anticonsciousness, and blocking the new from arising. Irrationalism effectively crucifies science, facts, logic, coherence, objectivity, and laws governing thought, nature, and society. It warps the human senses, memory, and cognition, and assumes that only an individual’s blind purposeless will and “instincts” exist. In these and other ways, irrationalism obstructs the path of progress to society.

According to the CER’s long-standing disinformation program, public school teachers are always evil and utterly incapable of doing anything positive or productive. Public school teachers are essentially greedy self-interested parasites who have never cared about a young person or education in their lives. Even worse, public school teachers sometimes dare to affirm their rights. They are always the enemy. Only charter schools can supposedly engender dedicated effective teachers and provide students with what they need. Thus, the sooner we dispose of public school teachers and their unions, the better off America’s children will be, according to the CER. This is what “innovation” means for neoliberals.

Besides, all that really matters, according to the CER, are numerical scores on expensive, time-consuming, curriculum-narrowing, philosophically unsound, methodologically flawed, high-stakes standardized tests produced by a handful of large corporations. If scores on these bankrupt top-down tests are high, then everything is supposedly hunky dory. Nothing begs to be questioned.

Putting aside such absurd assertions and the scandalous track record of charter schools, the CER continually promotes irrationalism and makes crazy statements so as to pressure people to remain anticonscious long enough to ignore the many negative consequences of charter schools and real-life experience. Bellicosely repeating irrational assertions is meant to overwhelm everyone and prevent them from engaging in a conscious act of finding out. The aim is to prevent the human factor from being unleashed and put in the service of progress.

As a large and robust body of evidence against charter schools continues to grow, the CER and their allies will likely become more hidebound and truculent. They are not going to suddenly become enlightened, embrace logic, abandon retrogression, and serve the public. The rich and their representatives are objectively incapable of seeing the world from the perspective of the people. Their position in the social and economic structure of society coerces them to embrace retrogression, regardless of what their subjective will may or may not be. In the end, irrationalism not only reflects the decay and obsolescence of the old, it also serves to preserve the old and outdated, blocking the fresh and the new from emerging.

Charter Schools: Backpack Full of Cash

QUESTION: We have choices in other areas of life. Why not in schools?

RESPONSE: Choice and rights are not the same thing; they are distinct categories with different properties and should not be conflated.

Education is a right, not a privilege, opportunity, or choice. A right is essentially a need, something indispensable for the existence or development of something. Rights belong to humans by virtue of their very being and for no other reason whatsoever. Rights cannot be given or taken away. They cannot be waived, sold, transferred, or forfeited in any way. Nor are they earned, deserved, or based on “merit.” Rights are also not based on skin color, language, religion, nationality, or gender.

Choice refers to the simple act of selecting something from a list of alternatives. Under capitalism, choice means being a consumer who decides what goods or services to buy or sell. Choice in the capitalist “free market” sense rests on the idea that humans are mainly individualistic proprietors, consumers, and entrepreneurs, not humans or citizens. Among other things, choice and consumerism fetishize the “me” while citizenship and being human address the “we.” Choice and consumerism are part of the old antisocial outlook that views humans as reward-seeking “rugged individuals” who bravely fend for themselves in a dog-eat-dog world and owe nothing to anyone else. Risk and peril are built-in features of such a world.

Needs are essential and cannot be selected or unselected. They cannot be chosen, bought, sold, or forfeited. Like food and water, for example, education is not something one can choose to go without, especially in the twenty-first century. No education almost always means no future—in more ways than one. No human chooses to be hungry, homeless, unemployed, uninsured, and uneducated. Indeed, one can only be human when their need for food, shelter, clothing, education, work, and healthcare is satisfied in a way that is commensurate with the level of development of society. You may be able to choose what kind of breakfast cereal you subjectively prefer, but you cannot avoid food because it is a human need.

The right to fully-funded, world-class, locally-controlled public schools in every neighborhood and zip code would mean that parents would not have to be consumers who shop for a school, cross their fingers, and hope it all works out. Modern education should not be a lottery or a gamble.

Modern society based on large-scale industrial production cannot leave education to chance and personal choice. A society based on fending for yourself, “survival of the fittest,” “might makes right,” “rugged individualism,” consumerism, and behaviorism needs to be replaced by a society fit for all—one that provides dignity, prosperity, peace, stability, and security for all. Society can move forward only if the accumulated knowledge of humanity is passed on to the next generation in a conscious, organized, and humane manner.


The choice today is not between privatized, marketized, and corporatized charter schools that operate on the basis of the chaos, anarchy, and violence of the “free market,” verses under-funded, over-tested, constantly-demonized public schools deliberately mandated to fail by the neoliberal state. These are false and harmful choices. Neither serve education and society well.

It is no secret what is needed to ensure world-class schools in every community. Thousands exist already. Given the level of development of society and its productive forces, it is more than possible for a government truly accountable to the people to guarantee fully-funded, world-class, locally-controlled public schools in every neighborhood and zip code. Our society does not lack the resources to ensure this. Scarcity is one of many self-serving and harmful capitalist myths that go unexamined every day.

Fully-funded, world-class, locally-controlled public schools in every neighborhood and zip code would mean that parents would not have to shop for a school. Why should humans have to do this in 2018? It is absurd. The havoc wreaked on education and society by the so-called “free market” and charter schools can be avoided altogether and a big measure of security, reliability, and quality can be attained. It is far from impossible.

Progress cannot happen, however, by remaining silent, being passive, conciliating with the neoliberal agenda, relying on wishful thinking, resorting to careerism, being an opportunist, or hoping “someone else” will figure it out. These are not solutions. They just prolong and exacerbate the pain for everyone. Everyone must become activated in these increasingly dangerous times and play their role at their level. Reality is making itself felt more forcefully. Combating charter school disinformation and raising social consciousness is part of affirming the modern human personality and creating new arrangements that favor the people.

Where to begin? An important starting point for bringing about change that favors the people is by actively implementing the following conclusion: understanding requires an act of conscious participation by the individual, an act of finding out. The prevailing culture blocks serious disciplined investigation in endless ways and rejects scientific theory. Actively resisting this pressure and investigating the world is indispensable at this time. By simply resolving to start everything by investigating, by taking nothing for granted, by rejecting conditioned thinking, and by avoiding facile answers we can all take a big step forward together. This is not small potatoes. Such a disposition is priceless and requires continual cultivation. It is key to unleashing the human factor. The overwhelming disinformation, dogmatism, lies, illusions, and retrogression of the rich and their outdated system only increase anticonsciousness and block the path of progress to society.

Charter Schools: Backpack Full of Cash

QUESTION: If a school is educating a child, whether it’s a private school or a charter school, doesn’t it deserve public dollars?

RESPONSE: Public and private mean the opposite of each other. Public and private are antonyms.

Public refers to the common good, everyone, the whole society. Public means inclusive and for all; non-rivalrous. Public also means not narrow or sectarian. Synonyms for public include: open and transparent. Private, on the other hand, refers to some, a few. Private means exclusive, not for everyone, not inclusive, not shared. Synonyms for private include: restrictive, secret, closed, not transparent.

Public and private are not synonymous in any way. Mixing them up produces conceptual confusion and harmful policies, practices, and arrangements all the time. There is a reason that public schools and private schools operate differently and have different profiles and features.

Charter by definition means contract. Charter schools are contract schools. Contract is the quintessential market category. Contracts make markets possible. Significantly, contract law is private law, which deals with relations between private citizens, whereas public law deals with relations between the state and individuals. These points cannot be overstated. It is because of these legal realities that charter schools are inherently privatized, marketized, corporatized arrangements. It is precisely why charter schools lack most of the public features of public schools and the public sphere. It is for this reason that a charter school cannot be something other than a charter school, regardless of whether it is if for-profit or nonprofit, “good” verses “bad,” operated by “mom-and-pop” or a corporation. There is a reason that charter schools are deregulated, deunionized, practice selective enrollment, have high teacher and student turnover rates, are plagued by corruption, lack accountability, and enrich a handful of individuals. If an individual with “good intentions” thinks they are going to make “their” charter school great and different from all the other rotten ones—think again. Such an idea is based on no thinking and no analysis. It is based on wishful thinking alone.

Public funds, assets, buildings, facilities, resources, and authority belong only to the public and no one else. They are produced by the public and must be controlled by the public at all times, not someone else. This is why the fate of public funds, assets, and buildings must be decided upon by the public alone and are to be used strictly for public purposes. Public funds for public schools must not go to private interests.

Private and sectarian interests have no claim to public funds, assets, and buildings. Public wealth must never be handed over to the private sector, let alone in the name of “efficiency,” “choice,” “competition,” “innovation,” “accountability,” or “results.” These buzzwords have provided cover for much of the neoliberal destruction that has unfolded over the past 40 years. Privatization in its many forms ultimately harms the economy and the national interest.

Charter Schools: “Backpack Full of Cash”

Backpack Full of Cash is a 90-minute documentary about the negative consequences of the growing privatization of public schools in America. Produced several years ago, the film focuses mainly on the harmful impact of charter schools on public schools and America’s most vulnerable children. The film has been viewed by thousands of people in many different venues, and many continue to organize film screenings in their communities.

Among other things, the film makers have produced a useful 28-page discussion guide which includes questions and answers surrounding privatization and charter schools.

This three-part series tackles a few of these questions in greater detail.

QUESTION: We live in a capitalist country. Why not look to the free market for solutions?

RESPONSE: Labor is the only source of value. Profit equals unpaid labor. Capitalism is a transient economic system designed to maximize profit as fast as possible for major owners of capital. Production under capitalism takes place for the purpose of profitable exchange, not for meeting social needs. If something is not profitable, it will not be produced. And what is not produced, cannot be distributed. This is a very narrow aim for society and the reason why, even though society has an overabundance of wealth and resources, millions go without many basic needs being met. For example, there are thousands of homeless people in the U.S. even though there are thousands of vacant houses.

Far from ensuring that goods and services are produced and distributed in the most “efficient” manner, the capitalist “free market” ensures chaos, anarchy, volatility, and uncertainty. Risk, insecurity, and instability are inherent, not accidental, features of the “free market.” Economic slumps, recessions, booms, busts, depressions, and crises are the fellow-travelers of capitalism. This is how the so-called “invisible hand” operates. The “free market” produces carnage in business and society every day. A dog-eat-dog ethos prevails. Fortunes are made and lost overnight. “Winners” and “losers” abound. Greed, jealousy, rivalry, narcissism, individualism, and “getting ahead of others” are treated as normal, permanent, unavoidable, and healthy. These traits are supposedly part of “human nature,” rather than the direct expression of an impermanent economic system plagued by violent internal contradictions.

Why should collective human responsibilities like education rest on uncertainty, insecurity, instability, and chaos? Why should critical social responsibilities be based on the narrow profit motive? Modern humans need education (and healthcare, food, and shelter) on a reliable, sustainable, crisis-free basis. Subjecting basic needs to the blind destruction of the “free market” is irrational, irresponsible, and historically unwarranted. Schools should not be closing and opening every day, and in such an inhuman dog-eat-dog environment. The needs of students, educators, parents, the economy, and society cannot be met properly when the profit motive and the “law of the jungle” are the main modes of life.

The “free market” works only for a tiny ruling elite, and even then with great risks and insecurity. Education, like food, shelter, clothing, and healthcare are social responsibilities which cannot be treated as commodities. Education is not a business. Nor can it be left to chance. Students, parents, and teachers are not consumers. Their identity, needs, and complexity cannot be reduced to buying and selling, winning and losing. Homo Sapiens are more than Homo Economicus.

The right to education in a modern society based on large-scale production cannot be guaranteed without conscious human planning. Economic “booms and busts” and the devastating ripples they regularly send through society and all of its institutions can be avoided. There is an alternative, one whose seeds lie in the present. It is both possible and necessary to set a new direction for society and the economy and to live in a human-centered way. No human or institution has to be the victim of blind anarchic “market forces” that always seem to perpetuate upheaval and anxiety while always benefitting the privileged few the most.

I Went to Flagstaff for a Commencement

What is explained can be denied but what is felt cannot be forgotten.

Charles Bowden

What do you say, at age 61, as I am rubbernecking the constant superficial, seedy, consumer-caked world now as someone considered a major failure – a few dozens jobs, mostly sacked from, and a few dozen careers, and, I am slogging away at a homeless shelter trying to save myself from the constrictor of capitalism, that strangulating system that gets us all complicit in the crime, making us all little Eichmann’s in this murder incorporated killing, complicit in the hyper exploitation of man, woman, child, ecosystem?

Consumerism as a psychological wedge to allow for the synchronized event horizon of finance-government-surveillance-media-military to work on the masses as a suffocating fog pumped out across the globe by an elite bent on total dominance.

We can jump onto the global stage and see the battering truth:

Diagnosing the Empire with Sadistic Personality Disorder (SPD)

Western culture is clearly obsessed with rules, guilt, submissiveness and punishment.

By now it is clear that the West is the least free society on Earth. In North America and Europe, almost everyone is under constant scrutiny: people are spied on, observed, their personal information is being continually extracted, and the surveillance cameras are used indiscriminately.

Life is synchronized and managed. There are hardly any surprises.

One can sleep with whomever he or she wishes (as long as it is done within the ‘allowed protocol’).

Homosexuality and bisexuality are allowed. But that is about all; that is how far ‘freedom’ usually stretches.
Rebellion is not only discouraged, it is fought against, brutally. For the tiniest misdemeanors or errors, people end up behind bars. As a result, the U.S. has more prisoners per capita than any other country on Earth, except the Seychelles.

And as a further result, almost all conversations, but especially public discourses, are now being controlled by so-called ‘political correctness’ and its variants.

But back to the culture of fear and punishment.

Look at the headlines of the Western newspapers. For example, New York Times from April 12. 2018: Punishment of Syria may be harsher this time.

We are so used to such perverse language used by the Empire that it hardly strikes us as twisted, bizarre, pathological.

It stinks of some sadomasochistic cartoon, or of a stereotypical image of an atrocious English teacher holding a ruler over a pupil’s extended hands, shouting, “Shall I?”

Carl Gustav Jung described Western culture, on several occasions, as a “pathology”. He did it particularly after WWII, but he mentioned that the West had been committing terrible crimes in all parts of the world, for centuries. That is most likely why the Western mainstream psychiatrists and psychologists have been glorifying the ego-centric and generally apolitical Sigmund Freud, while ignoring, even defaming, Carl Gustav Jung.

The reality is, though, most of the revolutionaries like myself in this cesspool of capitalism have to slog ahead in the belly of the beast, without the rarefied air of being an international journalist like Andre Vltchek. The reality is most of us know that when 11 million babies under age two die of treatable maladies each year, or when bodies are shot through and extremities are shattered by the sadism that is the Gestapo-Apartheid “state/religion” of Israel, we push through the fog of rapacious consumerism and consort with our deep empathy for our brothers and sisters under the thumb of despotic regimes like USA, Russia, Israel, China, India, et al.

Because, now, no matter the level of melanin in a collective people’s skin or the desperation of the people, the globe has been infected by a virus called Capitalism-Finance-Unfettered Exploitation.

Exploitation is a pretty tame word for what I am hinting at: destruction, annihilation, extinction. As is the case with me, a rant percolates from the bowels of the commonness of my life, the microcosm of traveling from point A to point B. What happens in Vegas happens in New York City. What unfolds in little town USA is unfolding in San Fran.

Whatever it is, here I was, back in Arizona, first Phoenix, the cancer, the cancer, and then up to Flagstaff, oh that place before white man invasion sacred healing cloud island peaks. Arizona, as I’ve written extensively, is where I cut my teeth as a small town newspaper reporter, learned directly the value of radical conservation, became a brother in arms for Chicanoism, tried my hand at diving and helping bring across refugees of the proxy wars of USA in Guatemala, etc.

I’ve written poetically about the place – here and there, and have inserted the value of those formative years into almost everything I’ve written, taught, done in my 48 years since coming to Arizona young, 13:

Wrestling the Blind, Chasing Apache Horses, and Unpacking the Vietnam War – (September 4th, 2013) or page 12, Cirque

But this most recent trip, a weekend, I went to celebrate my 22-year-old niece’s matriculation, with bachelor of science degree, from Northern Arizona University. The old days when I was young, 19, and a journalist, and then, activist, like quicksilver in my brain, taking over not only my senses, but memory. Many of us saw the writing on the wall 40 and 50 years ago – this barely inhabitable place (a place of migration for Papago and other indigenous people’s), with a blitzkrieg of outsiders plowing the desert and eventually corralling the Colorado River into brackish canals to feed the malls and mayhem of winter baseball leagues and out of control military complex tax cheats. Three state universities, and then this new cheater, University of Phoenix . . . headquarters for the bizarre U-Haul . . . dry mothball arenas for the USA’s killing flying machines. Odd as hell place, with the likes of Edward Abbey running amok. I hear now Noam Chomsky is visiting prof at U of A in Tucson.

Humans build their societies around consumption of fossil water long buried in the earth, and these societies, being based on temporary resources, face the problem of being temporary themselves.

— Charles Bowden, Killing Hidden Waters

I kind of think of Charles Bowden from time to time, who was a reporter and novelist living in Tucson and covering the Southwest and northern Mexico. When I go into the desert, after looking at some shell of a rag that we now call daily newspapers, I feel this guy’s haunting – now dead going on four years:

When he got a hold of a story, he wouldn’t let it go, said former Citizen copy editor Judy Carlock. He had a very generous heart and a lot of compassion … he didn’t mince words.

The way I was trained up, reporters went toward the story, just as firemen rush toward the fire. It is a duty.

He was compelled to work; he had to write … in vivid imagery and concrete detail, Carlock said. Every Monday morning, the (Citizen) city desk would come in to find a long, brilliant masterpiece they had to find room for in the paper.

He lived at full tilt, fueled on caffeine and nicotine, said Carlock. Bowden had stopped smoking about two years ago, Carroll said, and was lifting weights, working on that second wind in his life.

He was no saint, but he was true to himself, said Carlock. I think he secretly relished being thought of as a rogue.

This amazing ecosystem, with syncopated Native American tribes and amazing Mexican communities turned into a wheezing series of six-lane freeways and spiraling communities for the infirm, the emphysemic and the insane.

It’s really difficult to find a place to start.  Sedona and the vortices? Flagstaff, from one-horse town to bedroom (climatically cooler but fire prone) to Phoenix? The 365 days a year fire pit danger, as heat comes earlier, rain disappears quicker, and the landscape is peppered with suburbia’s faux Mexican-Italian-Spanish-Greek designs as the ubiquitous 20-mile caravans of cars and trucks push the hot tunnel of air which is Arizona?

As a former newspaperman, I am compelled to read the dwindling local news anywhere I go, even five and dime advertising things, or corny local monthlies, and so just a few minutes with the Arizona Republic show me where the mass delusion, mass magical thinking and mass ignorance get set in. But, compelling, the stories slugs or ledes:

• Border Patrol punk who murdered 16 year old for throwing rocks, and the jury convicting him of involuntary manslaughter gets hung

• Animal abuse claims against the Havasupal Tribe’s section of the Grand Canyon – you know, animal lovers saying the pack animals used to ferry the tourists into the Canyon are treated like shit (abused) . . . . oh those do-gooders, just how many of them are animal-free product users . . . how many of them know how every stitch of clothing, every chemical smeared in their lives, every product of the modern age are placed in their realm with millions of rats, mice, dogs, and apes murdered for that consumer entitlement . . . ?

• PK12 teachers on the march for wage increases, class size reductions, more counselors, more money for staff and support personnel . . . and yet many of these Arizona scallywags want them to eat shit

• Flagstaff keeping homeless people from living – camping – on public property through ordinances from hell

• A great female representative from the state wanting dreamer children – undocumented – out of the Copper State, more of the same Trump et al giving children the boot while Trump’s monster wife calls for no more bullying

• God in the classroom, a civics literacy bill, more report cards for schools (to fail them so the charter schools get more easy pickings), and this drive for charter (for- profit, hedge-fund lined) schools to take from the public coffers and teach absolute shit

• More gigantic housing developments planned in the Sonora desert without any water delivery plans, without any water!

• Raytheon Missile Systems breaks ground on an expansion of its Tucson facility – 2,000 more Little Eichmann’s added to the already large 10,000 workers designing, testing, manufacturing and delivering via Amazon dot Com killing systems to include Tomahawk missiles and this new Stormbreaker small diameter bomb

• Mexican-American female columnist for the Arizona Republic newspaper bashing the possibility of socialist former Mexico City mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador making it as president of Mexico . . . “he’s a Hugo Chavez-style authoritarian tropical messiah who would turn Mexico into another Venezuela”

• The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community building lavish baseball stadiums for professional teams like the Diamondbacks

• HBO plans to debut John McCain documentary on Memorial Day – “John McCain; For Whom the Bell Tolls”

• soda or sugar taxes outlawed in the state
• non-English contracts will be voided in all insurance transactions, and beyond

• Abortion patient questions are now mandatory

Oh the compounding blasphemy. If this were a thematic essay, well, here are the components:

• Wanton excess in the state, with brand new, freshly washed expensive SUV’s, power cars, pick-up trucks

• Endless strip mall after strip mall and faux Spanish colonial kitsch and after faux Hacienda kitsch which propels the dribbling consumerism of 24/7 Superstore Grand Openings

• Zero tribute to the peoples of the real Arizona – Chemehuevi, Chiricahua, Cocopa, or Xawitt Kwñchawaay, Dilzhe’e, Apache, Havasupai, or Havasuw `Baaja, Hopi, Hualapai, or Hwal `Baaja, Maricopa, or Piipaash, Mohave, or Hamakhava (also spelled Mojave), Navajo, or Diné, Southern Paiute, Akimel O’odham, formerly Pima, Quechan, or Yuma, San Carlos Apache, Nné – Coyotero, or Western Apaches, Tewa, Tohono O’odham, formerly Papago, Southern Ute, White Mountain Apache, Ndé – Coyotero or Western Apaches, Xalychidom, or Halchidhoma, Yaqui people, Yavapai, or Kwevkepaya, Wipukepa, Tolkepaya, and Yavepé (four separate groups), Zuni, or A:shiwi

• Redneck clashing with wimpy liberal clashing with snowbird clashing with old Mafia clashing with Hispanic-Latino/a clashing with senior citizen Trump lover clashing with new money clashing with the Raytheon mentality clashing with the endless cancer spur that is Arizona

• My old stomping grounds, now despoiled by in-ground pools, putrid man-made lakes, endless track homes like carcinoma, endless twisting cul-de-sacs where minds end up mushed up in mojito-ville

• Hatred, man, the Trump way, McCain way, Goldwater, putrid former Maricopa County Sheriff and Minutemen militias on the border, and the Gestapo Border Patrol and the rot which is a state in the union emblematic of red state loafers and the hard-working people like those teachers

• A college, NAU, broken by a president who cheats faculty and luxuriates in the money thrown her way and the attention the local yokels give her

• Students fighting this female NAU president Rita Cheng who wants cuts to all sorts of important programs (in the liberal arts) so she can court those wanton criminal corporations and alt-right Koch Brothers

• The graduation I went to was embarrassing, dead, nothing in the way of speakers, controlled by this president, and was ten times more lackluster than a Missouri Synod Lutheran Sunday meeting

• Peter Principle of incompetents rising, as in the case of Rita Cheng and thousands of movers and shakers (sic) that run the state

• The inarticulate middle and upper classes of society exemplified in Arizona

• A state with more sun per year with nary a solar panel in sight

• The rotten belief that infinite growth, infinite in-migration, infinite giveaways to the corporate leeches will lead to prosperity

• The Caucasian and other Whitey people’s insipid Trader Joe’s-Dutch Brothers-Bed, Bath and Beyond systematic lobotomizing of the masses

• Sprayed-on lawns and Astroturf backyards scattered around the desiccating real lawns throughout the entire Phoenix and Tucson metroplexes

• Daily reminder of the old adage of “who the fuck thought white people and their poodles settling in Arizona made any sense”

• Like anywhere else, Arizona has no worthy newspaper of note anymore, and the news is not to be seen in the light of day

I’ve always said, that one slice of life is a microcosm, that splice onto one of the big fat four-hour reels of 70 mm movie film depicting the universality in the absurdity of being Homo Sapiens under the thumb of money changers, militaries and grand exploiters. Example: One shit-hole sugar cane fucker and his sibling (Fanjul Brothers) and his fucking family destroying the lives of thousands of slaves, upsetting the natural world, and sending the sweet sting of death to millions. One fucking family owning billions of dollars and billions of people and draining the Everglades. Something along those lines – just look at history of rubber, gold, oil, wood, fruit, minerals, raw labor, animals.

This arithmetic is as clear as the day is long, in a world where this time, the so-called now time, is bereft of no logic, no ethics, no depth of knowledge, no truth except the rubbery huckster kind. While NAU had zero commencement speakers for all five graduation sequences, we now have to read about a world of Rex Tillerson — that son of a bitch lying, thieving, fossil fuel thug — now at a graduation for a military institute (what the fuck are we still living in a world of military academies – sic).

You can’t make this shit up in a work of fiction:

In a commencement speech at Virginia Military Institute, the camera-shy former secretary of state gave his most public remarks since President Donald Trump ousted him from the White House in March.

“As I reflect upon the state of American democracy,” he told the Class of 2018, “I observe a growing crisis in ethics and integrity.”

Tillerson’s emphasis on integrity echoed his parting words to colleagues at the State Department in March. Then he went even further:

“If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.”

Tillerson’s time in Trump administration was marked by tension. He reportedly called the president a “moron” eight months before he was fired and replaced by then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

But the oil industry veteran has yet to directly criticize Trump. His speech, which began with a discussion on the globalized economy and stressed “the value of friends and allies,” is the closest he has come to attacking Trump’s rhetoric and “America First” policy.

This from the moronic Huffington Post. Alternative realities, sure, Mister Exxon. The reality of propping up dictators, of hiring murderers to take over land, of stealing oil from any number of countries, and the complete environmental despoilment created by the great Exxon-Shell-Chevron-You-Name-It soul and soil eating machine. Imagine, this guy’s a thug, Tillerson, who has no concept of realities, except his thuggery, and a billionaire mentality. Yeah, Exxon and the alternative reality of climate change and the bullshit destruction of the earth from fossil fuel burning. What great record this keynote speaker Tillerson has, and, in the end, he’s as ballless as the lot of the millionaires\billionaires, afraid to criticize the deviant, stupid and reckless Trump.

Where do these people come from? Which DNA-warped womb do they exit from? Which felonious family raised them? Which two-bit schools educated them? Which insane people hire them and then promote them?

A two-day trip back to Arizona is like a two-year LSD trip, floating around with mushrooms on the tongue daily, as bottles of mescal run through the veins. I am telling you, when you get out of your routine – I am a social worker in a veterans’ homeless shelter, where the word “chaos” describes the totality of my time there, daily – and this rushing hot wave of air sucks the oxygen from the lungs for a minute or two. Arizona is California is Oregon is Washington . . . .

And exactly what is the US of A, with so much junk, so much materialistic droning, and yet, poverty is growing, big time, and the fear of the future in terms of no one achieving affordable housing and clean public transportation and free education and decent jobs is like us all whistling as we walk past the graveyard which is Western Capitalism.

Arizona, like any other state, is defined by the kleptomaniacs in government, on boards, in corporations and in the political class. Arizona is defined by a schizophrenia of faux opulence and real indebtedness and our fellow citizens struggling, dying, really, in a world that is upside down when it comes to clean air, clean water, real medicine, and affordable life.

Arizona is the mix of Eastern seaboard accents and southern twangs and amazingly mean people who are in it for themselves, for their backyard in-ground pools, for the 6,000 square foot Barcelona- style triple-decker home. We are talking about leathery skin from all the sun and leathery pools of empathy in the hearts and minds of most Arizonans.

Yet, here I am, 61, wishing my niece good tidings, as she embarks on the journey of medical school applications, and then, what? What world is it we have to give or anoint our children with? I am flabbergasted at the stupidity of the NAU graduation, the bloodlessness of the speakers, the lack of verve, the paucity of an event that for many has cost a pretty penny in debt for parents and children alike.

I end with 2011 commencement speech at Olympia’s Evergreen State College, Angela Davis:

Commencement speakers frequently assume that their role is to encourage graduates to go out and conquer the world. The task I have set for myself is much more modest. I want to urge you to be able to retrieve and sort through and rethink and preserve memories of your time here, which may very well turn out to be the most important period of your lives. Like the philosopher Walter Benjamin, I emphasize the past as the key to your future.

And so as you move on, some of you will go to graduate school, right? Some of you will find jobs. Unfortunately, some of you may not find jobs. Some of you will make families, some of you will engage in activism, some you will be involved in cultural work, and there are all kinds of permutations and combinations of all of these. But I would like you to periodically stop and reflect about the extent to which your lives were radically transformed by your experiences here. And I hope that you will have courage to draw upon the education you have received here from your most challenging professors, as you try to imagine more equitable ways of inhabiting all of our worlds. If you continue to think and act in the tradition of your college you will respect all of the inhabitants of our environments, and not simply assume that the environment must be preserved for the sake of future human generations, but rather for all the future generations of plant life, future generations of all animal life.

How do we extricate ourselves from enduring hierarchies, class, race, sexual, religious, geopolitical? This question, I think, is the question that needs to be posed. Posing that question is the mark of educated human beings. So I might then ask you to think about education as the practice of freedom. Education is the practice of freedom. And so freedom becomes, not an imagined condition in the future, not the set of achievements that will fulfill some desire, but rather an unrelenting, unending, collective effort to reconstruct our lives, our ways of relating to each other, our communities, and our futures. Congratulations to The Evergreen State College class of 2011.

Charter School Promoters Terrified of Teachers Organizing to Affirm Their Rights

In recent weeks and months Americans have seen large teacher strikes and protests erupt in several states simultaneously. These unprecedented strikes are sharply bringing to the fore the long-standing poor and humiliating working conditions faced by millions of teachers in America as a result of the destructive neoliberal agenda of the rich.

While such strikes and actions always terrify the ruling elite, they have struck a bitter chord with charter school promoters in particular, including the Center for Education Reform, the American Enterprise Institute, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

These and other school privatization forces are dedicated to undercutting teacher pay, benefits, voice, unity, security, and working conditions while promoting the illusion that they are deeply committed to the well-being of teachers. Charter school promoters deliberately distort thinking so as to make it seem like their antisocial offensive is human-centered, serves the general interests of society, affirms the rights of all, and is the only way forward. Their goal is to conceal the real context of things and overwhelm modern social consciousness with anticonsciousness and dogmatism.

The desperate extremes to which charter school proponents have recently gone to in order to demonize and discredit teachers, and normalize their antisocial agenda, is remarkable. The right-wing American Enterprise Institute (AEI) goes so far as to derogatorily declare that there is no problem with teacher pay. Indeed, teachers are supposedly over-paid. The AEI even treats teachers as a derogatory “cost” so as to “argue” that they should not even have pensions and security in retirement. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools conceals its assault on teachers and retirement security by calling for “innovation” in teacher pension plans. By “innovation” they mean neoliberal restructuring to pay the rich. For its part, the Center for Education Reform continually presents teachers as lazy, self-serving, and divisive, and as having the opposite interests of parents and students.

To render phenomena in this fashion is not simply a matter of “a different perspective” or “another way of looking at things.” It is a form of violence against consciousness and the human factor. It is an attempt to sabotage the ability of humans to cognize, think, investigate, and draw warranted conclusions. Charter school promoters frequently repeat anticonscious absurdities to protect and “justify” their ability to annually siphon billions of public dollars from the public purse.

A big part of what worries charter school promoters about militant protests by public school teachers is that these bold actions may also inspire charter school teachers to organize to defend their rights. Charter school teachers typically work longer days and years than their public school counterparts, are often younger than the average public school teacher, and also have fewer credentials and fewer years of experience than public school teachers. They are also paid less on average and generally leave charter schools within the first 3-4 years. Their working conditions are far from great.

The rich and charter school proponents rightly see the fight for teachers’ rights as a contagious one. Teacher unions have always represented a serious, if not existential, threat to charter schools, which is why more than 90% of charter schools are not unionized and why charter school promoters regularly intimidate any employees who try to unionize.

There are two worlds in combat: a human-centered world and a capital-centered world. The latter, which includes charter school supporters, is laser-focused on blocking the emergence of the former.

Do “We” All Really Want What’s Best “For The Kids”?

As evidence against charter schools increases, charter school supporters have started to assert more frequently that charter schools are not a panacea, they cannot fix everything. And even though they have many problems, they should always be supported nonetheless. Charter schools are said to be a “viable option” for some and people should have “choices.”

After all, at the end of the day, “we” are all supposedly working for the same thing, “we” all want what is best “for the kids.” That is what is important according to charter school advocates, not all the serious problems plaguing charter schools and the harmful effects these schools are having on education and society. Both supporters and critics of charter schools supposedly want what is best “for the kids.” They allegedly do not have profoundly different and irreconcilable visions of education and society. If anything, they have only reasonable and harmless differences of opinion over secondary issues.

This is straightforward disinformation, which is more harmful than misinformation or hype. Charter school supporters do not want the same thing as supporters of public schools. Proponents of public schools and champions of charter schools want different things because they have different aims and interests. They are on “different planets” as the saying goes. They do not actually share the same interests.

Among other things, charter school promoters never offer any deep analysis of education, social relations, and social conditions. They seldom investigate fundamental questions about the nature of education in a modern society based on large-scale industrial production. Disciplined intellectual inquiry into major concepts and their meaning and significance are routinely avoided by charter school supporters.

Instead, charter school supporters continually overwhelm people with facile answers, ready-made views, and self-serving tautologies that block discussion, elaboration, and analysis. Anti-consciousness prevails. All sorts of irrational assertions are made about families, students, education, and society by charter school supporters in order to hide the privatization, marketization, and corporatization of education. Such assertions usually involve buzz phrases with words like “parents,” “kids,” “innovation,” or “choice” in them. Charter school supporters even characterize evidence against charter schools as “propaganda.” For charter school supporters, everything rests on an expedient capital-centered approach to education and society.

More than a century of study of social class relations, and life itself, confirm that there are antagonistic and irreconcilable class interests in society, and that these historically defined incompatible interests are often self-servingly concealed by those who have usurped power by force so as to create the illusion that “we” are “one nation” or “one people” with the same interests, supposedly striving for the same things (e.g., “equal opportunity,” “serving the kids,” a “free” society). In this no-class ahistorical outlook, the top one percent and bottom 99 percent have the same interests. There is no sharp contradiction between them. They supposedly share the same values and destiny.

In reality, the narrow antisocial interests behind the privatization and marketization of education have nothing in common with those defending public education and the general interests of society. They represent antagonistic and irreconcilable interests. Public and private even mean the opposite of each other.

The privatization of education directly harms public schools, negates the public interest, and undermines modern nation-building. Under the veneer of high ideals, charter school proponents are determined to transfer as much public money, facilities, infrastructure, resources, and authority as possible to major owners of capital. To cynically characterize the privatization of education as an “innovation” to “improve schools” and provide parents with “choices” and “opportunities” is irrational and diversionary. It is designed to fool the gullible.

Students, teachers, parents, education, the economy, and society do not benefit from more segregated, deunionized, deregulated, unaccountable, and privately owned-operated charter schools constantly plagued by waste, fraud, nepotism, corruption, scandal, frequent closures, poor performance on a broad scale, and very high student and teacher turnover rates. Such phenomena are a drag on education and society, they move life backward and contribute to anti-consciousness.

Privatization is an assault on individuals, our economy, our health, education, society, and democracy. Funneling more social wealth to the rich means less social wealth for society, infrastructure, and social programs millions depend on. Privatization in all its forms should be condemned and opposed everywhere and at all times. The public interest and narrow privatization interests are contradictory interests that cannot be harmonized.

Instead of approaching education as a modern social responsibility that government is duty-bound to guarantee for all, charter school promoters want as many major owners of capital (“service providers”) to operate schools on the basis of the chaos, anarchy, and violence of the “free market.” They embrace a system of winners and losers, along with the behaviorist “punishment-and-rewards” psychology that accompanies such an outmoded system. Charter school promoters believe that the constant opening and closing of deregulated nonprofit and for-profit schools—charter school “churn”—is a virtue even though it ensures instability in the education sector and causes stress, dislocation, and anger for millions of families, the same families charter school supporters claim to want to serve.

The problem is not a simple difference of opinion over what is “best for the kids.” The intense differences between charter school supporters and defenders of public schools are part of the larger struggle over the future of education and society. It is part of the protracted fight between those who represent outdated capital-centered interests versus those who represent a modern human-centered approach to life, education, society, and the human personality. These two worlds, the old and the new, the neoliberal and the pro-social, are in combat and have nothing in common. One is slowly decaying and dying, while the other is gradually rising. This is the harsh reality in class-divided society.

More important than how charter school proponents present their vision, agenda, and activities, is the actual aim, content, and results of their vision, agenda, and activities. Deeds matter more than words. Through relentless disinformation, desperate over-promises, an anti-intellectual orientation, many astroturf groups, and millions of dollars, charter school promoters have managed to confuse millions. They have taken advantage of an anti-inquiry culture to mislead parents, educators, legislators, and others.

Understanding requires an act of conscious participation of the individual, an act of finding out. Charter school supporters do not embrace “conscious participation” or an “act of finding out” because this would expose their narrow antisocial interests and open the door to greater opposition to charter schools and privatization. By definition, informed views require disciplined conscious investigation. The last thing charter school supporters, privatizers, and neoliberals want, is people affirming their rights—their interests—through actions with analysis.

The Exploitation of Medical Students and Residents is a Metaphor for the Post-New Deal Barbarism

I was happy, secure, and mostly unafraid until med school. I recall in vivid detail the first orientation day. Our anatomy professor stood before an auditorium filled with 125 eager, nervous, idealistic would-be healers and said these words: ‘If you decide to commit suicide, do it right so you do not become a burden to society.’ He then described in anatomical detail how to commit suicide.

— “Why Doctors Kill Themselves”, by Pamela Wible,, March 23, 2016

The exploitation and bullying of medical students and residents is pervasive, and stories of the most egregious and diabolical hazing are not uncommon. So oppressive are these working conditions, that each year approximately four hundred medical students and doctors take their own lives. Indeed, with the betrayal of the American worker by the liberal class, which is too busy chasing Russian spies to notice that our once proud middle class lies in ruins, the decimation of unionization continues unabated. Compelled to work outrageously long hours by corrupt hospital administrators, while also forced to negotiate a landscape of diminished autonomy due to the takeover of the medical profession by private insurance companies, a young doctor’s ability to help their patients can be steadily degraded over time, and their spirit broken.

This abuse and exploitation of medical students and residents is something that we cannot afford to ignore, for these inhumane working conditions place both the lives of these young doctors as well as the lives of their patients in grave jeopardy.

In “Medical Residents are Abused More Than Chinese Factory Workers”, an anonymous physician writes on

I began my internship…and worked up to 160 hours per week, though I only reported 80 hours of my time due to the pressure by hospital administration and fellow residents. That year, a fellow intern, Tony, a compassionate doctor, was killed in a single car accident when he fell asleep at the wheel after working too many consecutive hours without sleep. I too have fallen asleep post-call at the wheel when paused at a stop light, only to be startled awake by blaring horns indicating the light change.

These exploitative working conditions are emblematic of the authoritarian nature of post-New Deal America, where much of the increasingly debt-ridden workforce has been reduced to the status of serfs and indentured servants. This absence of democracy in the workplace is inextricably linked with the fact that there are at present approximately a hundred million unemployed Americans of working age, along with massive numbers of Americans working very low-paying jobs that do not support an independent existence. Consequently, conditions are ripe for corrupt employers to engage in ruthless forms of exploitation, and young people that enter fields where they seek to help others are marked for particularly heinous forms of abuse.

In “The Secret Horrors of Sleep-Deprived Doctors”, written for, an anonymous physician writes:

During intern year at a program with a nominal 80-hour work week, I worked 100 hours per week for most of a month. I was interviewing a patient when I suddenly realized that I could not remember what I had just asked. I excused myself abruptly and rushed down the hall where I collapsed on the bathroom floor. I leaned against the wall and felt relaxed for the first time in weeks. My face was wet, and I realized I was sobbing. I was so unaware of how exhausted and impaired I had become. I cried because I was tired, and also because the patient I was seeing deserved better attention and care than I was capable of providing. I couldn’t remember any details of his chest pain or risk factors for heart attack. I couldn’t even remember his name or his face. Only that he was friendly and he trusted me. I felt intensely guilty for not being able to stay awake, let alone think like a doctor. I nodded off while crying, propped up against the wall. I woke up and forgave myself. I think I was away from him for less than 10 minutes. I walked back into his exam room and said, ‘Where were we? Let’s start at the beginning to make sure I get this right. Because what you are saying is really important.’ That month during my evaluation, my program director told me that my total number of work hours was a sign of inefficiency.

Medical students and residents that suffer from anxiety, either due to being bullied or as a result of being forced to work outrageously long shifts, sometimes feel the need to see a psychiatrist and yet are fearful of doing so. This is because if a physician is treated for depression or anxiety, the stigma that follows can have a deleterious impact on their ability to maintain and renew their medical license.

Tragically, abused medical students and residents may go on to lose their sense of empathy and compassion, which can result in their becoming callous or even abusive towards their patients.

Some residents are indoctrinated into believing that this exploitation is for their own good, as if this will somehow make them a better doctor. Residents are also indoctrinated into believing that this exploitation is necessary “in the quest for perfection.” In-hospital medical errors are presently the third leading cause of death in the United States. Indeed, this is the “perfection” that hospital administrators and health insurance companies have blessed us with.

There are also significant parallels between the exploitation of young doctors with the exploitation of teachers, for the exploitation of the former is analogous to giving a high school English teacher hundreds of students per semester, which puts them in the impossible position of being unable to make detailed corrections to these essays. The loss of autonomy so acutely felt by doctors, where they are now forced to spend countless hours each week requesting permission from insurance companies so as to be able to prescribe a particular drug or order a particular test, again finds its mirror image in education, where a similar loss of autonomy has resulted in classic works of literature being jettisoned by book burning administrators, and replaced with teaching to standardized tests.

The grade inflation game that many teachers are forced to play can be no less soul-destroying, and undermines high school teachers and professors in many ways. Adjunct professors are easily fired at the drop of a hat should they receive negative evaluations from their students at the end of the semester, as the student is now regarded as a customer, and the professor as a disposable fool that has been hired to dumb down to the lowest possible level. How does one receive negative evaluations? Not giving enough A’s is indeed an excellent method of attaining such a result. This is not unlike a doctor receiving a negative online review for failing to prescribe opioids or antibiotics to a patient that simply doesn’t need it.

The brutality of neoliberalism cannot abide the altruistic. Capital is in the driver’s seat, and those who refuse to swear obedience at the Altar of Profit must be destroyed. Hence, gratuitous savagery and barbarism are unleashed on the kind, the generous, the merciful, and the idealistic. Public school teachers, professors, medical students, idealistic young doctors, nurses, social workers, and public defenders must be relentlessly tormented for their refusal to turn their backs on their fellow human beings. They must be punished without mercy for the crime of altruism.

As we have lost real communities in this country, and many Americans consequently identify with nothing other than their jobs, a career that does not come to fruition as it had when the New Deal was still in effect can be taken as incontrovertible proof that one is a failure, and this can have a devastating impact on one’s mind and spirit.

No amount of yoga, meditation, or Prozac is going to help a suffering resident or medical student. Only with a restoration of the humanities and solidarity will the soulful triumph over the soulless. And it is only then that compassion and empathy will triumph over alienation, hopelessness, and despair.

In “A Tragic Physician Story The Match Doesn’t Want You To Hear About”, published with, an anonymous physician describes his first days of residency:

It did not take long for my excitement to wane. Within only a few days of starting my residency, I was called ‘retarded’ and referred to with homophobic slurs. Women were commonly referred to with misogynistic labels. I was given no organized instruction on how to perform my duties…. There came a time in which a patient of mine died as a result of a procedure I’d performed. I was told that I needed to lie to the risk managers and make it look like my supervising attending physician was in the room even though he was nowhere to be found, and while I personally didn’t do anything wrong, it would just look bad if I was unsupervised. It became clear that the people I was working for did not live in a world in which accountability existed.

Crushed under the iron heel of the new untrammeled barbarism, the dream of helping others can fade into the night. This inhumane treatment places both young doctors and their patients in extremely grave danger. Caught in the diabolical machinery of merciless plunder, a sleep-deprived resident may even accidentally kill a patient – a mistake they will likely never forgive themselves for.

Secretary DeVos, Neurocore, and Competency-Based Workforce Training

Vice President Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote to confirm US Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, marks the first time in history that a VP has issued the deciding vote to officiate a presidential cabinet appointment. The contentious opposition votes have expressed that among their concerns are conflicts of interest between Secretary DeVos’s federal powers and her multimillion-dollar investments in a biofeedback corporation known as Neurocore, which provides neuroscience treatments for retraining cognitive habits through stimulus-response conditioning.

In a letter to Chairman Lamar Alexander of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), ten Democrat members of HELP, including Bernie Sanders, formalized the following request for extended investigation of DeVos’s corporate investments: “We believe it is important to ask her questions around companies she will continue to own that are directly impacted by the Department of Education and this administration’s education agenda.”

Although DeVos announced her resignation from Neurocore’s board of directors upon her confirmation to the office of US Secretary of Education, she has refused to sell her shares in the company. By refusing to divest her financial interests in Neurocore, DeVos has incited concerns that she may use her federal influence to advance Neurocore’s controversial biofeedback therapies as government-approved interventions for students who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other cognitive-learning disabilities.

Former White House ethics adviser, Richard W. Painter, who served under the George W. Bush administration, has criticized DeVos’s conflicts of interest:

[t]his is not an appropriate investment for the secretary of education . . . How schools respond to attention issues is a vitally important policy question and ties right into achievement. In my view, there should be support, including financial support, for alternatives to ADHD drug treatments that are covered by health insurance whereas alternatives often are not covered.  . . . The secretary would be barred from participating in that important policy decision if she or her husband owned an interest in this company.

Nevertheless, touted as the cutting edge of operant conditioning psychotherapy, Neurocore’s biofeedback treatments could be readily advocated in the halls of academia by behaviorist pedagogues and Skinnerian educational philosophers if given the nudge from a DeVos Department of Education. At the same time, Neurocore’s hi-tech occupational biofeedback therapies may be eagerly promoted by corporatists at the new White House Office of American Innovation (OAI) who are seeking to capitalize on DeVos’s “competency-based” workforce education initiatives under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Finally, as an alternative medical procedure, Neurocore stimulus-response conditioning could potentially be institutionalized as a publicly subsidized treatment for cognitive-learning disabilities classified under ESSA Sections 2103 and 4108, which will be amplified by state-level P-20 fusion of education and healthcare through fascistic public-private partnerships.

In sum, as President Trump’s OAI drives hi-tech workforce training initiatives that capitalize on ESSA/P-20 medicalization of privatized workforce education, DeVos’s Neurocore Corporation could exploit a windfall of burgeoning biofeedback niches for hi-tech innovations in education, healthcare, and corporate business. The prospects of such quid pro quo cronyism will be exacerbated by the fact that Neurocore CEO, Mark Murrison, has announced that the Michigan-based corporation is branching out into “national expansion,” beginning with the opening of two new Brain Performance Centers in Florida last year.

If you think that a DeVos-financed healthcare corporation would never be charged with exploiting federal programs for profit, it should be noted that Billionaire Betsy has earned capital gains dividends through investments in Universal Health Services (UHS)1, which is a nationwide chain of psychiatric hospitals that is currently under federal investigation for Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

The School as Psychological Laboratory from Behaviorism to Operant Conditioning

Although some critics dismiss Neurocore’s brain-training treatments as “quack[ery],” biofeedback therapies are rooted in the behaviorist methodology of stimulus-response psychological conditioning. According to licensed biofeedback psychologist, Dr. Christopher Fisher, biofeedback is actually a form of B. F. Skinner’s operant conditioning behaviorism. In fact, the Neurocore website states that it uses the operant conditioning techniques of “positive reinforcement and repetition” to retrain brainwave frequencies to conduce better attention and memory spans.

As such, Neurocore’s Skinnerian conditioning therapies are grounded in the very same stimulus-response psychological methodology that has been the scientific basis of American education pedagogy for over a century. Throughout the early 1900s, the proto-behaviorist laboratory method of schooling was bankrolled across the nation by Secretary Abraham Flexner of the General Education Board (GEB) of the Rockefeller Foundation philanthropies, which funded teaching labs across America, including labs at the premier Columbia University Teachers College (Lionni 72-81). It is worth noting that the Rockefeller Foundation was also funding the biofeedback research of Norbert Weiner as early as the 1920s.

In The Leipzig Connection, Paolo Lionni documents how Rockefeller’s GEB propagated stimulus-response pedagogies through financing the research of such academic figureheads as James McKeen Cattell, James Earl Russell and Edward Lee Thorndike at Columbia University Teachers College where Thorndike adapted his stimulus-response experiments on animal behaviors and applied them to human youths (Lionni 30-41, 64-65).

Based on these proto-behaviorist animal training experiments at Columbia Teachers College, E. L. Thorndike systematized teaching as “the art of giving and withholding stimuli with the result of producing or preventing certain responses. In this definition of the term stimulus is used widely for any event which influences a person,—for a word spoken to him, a look, a sentence which he reads, the air he breathes, etc., etc. The term response is used for any reaction made by him,—a new thought, a feeling of interest, a bodily act, a mental or bodily condition resulting from the stimulus. The aim of the teacher is to produce desirable and prevent undesirable changes in human beings by producing and preventing certain responses” (qtd. in Lionni 32-33).

Compare Thorndike’s methodology here to Neurocore’s biofeedback brain-training procedures: Neurocore reprograms ADHD by utilizing quantitative electroencephalography to monitor brainwave responses to video stimuli; whenever the ADHD patient exhibits an undesirable brainwave response that indicates distraction, the video stimuli is halted or altered until the patient exhibits a focused brainwave response that indicates concentrated attention. Hence, the only difference between Neurocore’s biofeedback science and Thorndike’s “art of giving and withholding stimuli” is that the former aims to condition the autonomous nervous system while the latter targets more of the voluntary nervous system.

Fast-forward to as recently as 2007, and Columbia Teachers College is still practicing this art of stimulus-response conditioning through Comprehensive Applied Behavior Analysis in Schools, a new behaviorist instructional methodology that was developed by Skinner’s protégé, Doug Greer, who is Professor of Psychology and Education at Columbia.

Buttressed by this hundred-year institutional tradition of stimulus-response educational psychology, Neurocore’s behaviorist therapies for learning disabilities are primed to be legitimized by the intelligentsia of US academia if incentivized by a DeVos Department of Ed.

At the same time, biofeedback conditioning is being advocated through numerous scholarly journal publications authored by contemporary educational psychologists such as the Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Kansas, Steven Wayne Lee, and the Director of the Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology at the Boston University School of Education, Steven N. Broder. With such support from current leaders of university education departments, the biofeedback neuropsychology underlying Neurocore’s cognitive-behavioral therapies is already being advocated in the disciplines of educational methodology and pedagogy.

A History of Outcomes-Based Behaviorism for Workforce Education

Neurocore is also likely to be promoted by captains of industry who seek to capitalize on the company’s occupational biofeedback therapies. The Neurocore website states, “[m]any . . . business professionals also use neurofeedback to improve mental performance and productivity through increased focus and better stress management.” With these neuro-behaviorist applications for businesses to enhance workforce output efficiency, Neurocore’s operant conditioning therapies could be promoted by corporate lobbyists as government-subsidized treatments for occupational-learning disabilities that are paid for by employer-based health insurance. To be sure, Neurocore procedures are already covered by certain insurance providers.

Such subsidies for employer-funded biofeedback therapies would help business partners to fulfill “outcomes-based” workforce education contracts under public-private partnerships that are being championed by DeVos and the Trump administration. After meeting with seventeen CEOs from megacorporations such as IBM, GE, Walmart, General Motors, PepsiCo, and the Cleveland Clinic during Trump’s April 11th Strategy and Policy Forum Listening Session, Secretary DeVos released the following statement from the Department of Ed:

[t]he best workforce is an educated workforce, and this Administration is committed to increasing access to career and technical education for college students and adults alike. By encouraging public-private partnerships, we can help connect students with prospective employers and provide those students with the necessary skills to find a good-paying job in their communities.

To achieve these corporate-fascist workforce planning outcomes, public-private partnerships between businesses and educational institutions will implement a form of outcomes-based education (OBE) methodology, which is deeply rooted in the stimulus-response method of psycho-behavioral conditioning that is the core of Neurocore science. The rationale for outcomes-based workforce education asserts that public-school funding should be contingent upon student attainment of predetermined career-readiness outcomes that can be quantified through standardized tests or performance-based assessments. What better way to control workforce learning outcomes than the scientific method of behaviorist psychological conditioning? Indeed, OBE for workforce training has a long pedagogical history of stimulus-response psycho-behavioral conditioning.

In an article titled “The Death of Free Will (Part 2 of 5),” former senior policy advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement for the US Department of Ed, Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, explains that “[t]he type of so-called education being promoted throughout the United States is not truly ‘education.’ It is a system of Skinnerian/Pavlovian group-oriented, collectivist, brainwashing/training in lower level skills and the necessary attitudes and values for the workforce, using the computer (the operant conditioning machine) in conjunction with ‘programmed’ learning (mastery learning/direct instruction) software.” Iserbyt elaborates that “[t]his is the same Skinnerian Outcomes-Based Education rat lab program . . . that was funded by my old office in the U.S. Dept. Of Education” under President Ronald Reagan.

If the Trump Administration lives up to its many historical comparisons to the Reagan Administration, OBE behaviorism for workforce education will be a cornerstone of Trump’s education policies. So far, the comparisons have proven to be apt; the University Herald reports that “Betsy DeVos has acknowledged the significant role that community colleges will play in the advancement of President Donald Trump’s workforce agenda.” At the National Legislative Summit of the Association of Community College Trustees, DeVos stated that community colleges are “absolutely essential engines of workforce and economic development — locally and regionally . . . [Community colleges] help identify and close the skills gap between employers and job seekers, so U.S. businesses and industries can thrive and expand.”

Secretary DeVos’s commitment to both Trump’s workforce education and Neurocore’s biofeedback behaviorism is likely to stir up a recipe for revamping Reagan-era OBE workforce behaviorism that was perpetuated under former President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB). An example of OBE behaviorism during the reign of NCLB is described in a 2006 scholarly journal article from the School Psychology Review. In this peer-reviewed article titled “Integrating Frameworks from Early Childhood Intervention and School Psychology to Accelerate Growth for All Children,” educational psychologists evaluated “patterns of child performance over time and in response to certain stimuli, [so that] conditions, and consequences can be quantified.  . . . to improve child outcomes in a more efficient fashion through iterative problem-solving attempts . . . [by] determin[ing] what additional supports and services might be needed and . . . whether the additional supports and services are meaningfully accelerating child growth”. (VanDerHeyden and Snyder 530)

Clearly, this stimulus-response method of outcomes-based teaching is merely a revision of not only Skinner’s operant conditioning, but also the proto-behaviorist psychology of Wilhelm Maximillian Wundt.2 The founding father of psychological science, Wundt created the world’s first experimental psychology laboratory in Leipzig, Germany, where he evangelized a cadre of American psychologists, such as G. Stanley Hall3, James McKeen Cattell, and Charles Judd, who returned to the United States to propagate proto-behaviorist pedagogies for workforce training curriculums (Lionni 1-27; Sutton 63, 85-87, 101-102, 107-109).

By 1948, at least 689 postgraduate students were awarded psychology doctorates from these three Wundtian disciples, Hall, Cattell, and Judd (Sutton 91)4, many of whom were bankrolled through Rockefeller’s GEB funds for school laboratories designed to develop stimulus-response conditioning methods for corporate-industrial workforce training (Lionni 43-89).

In the 1916 GEB publication Occasional Papers No. 1, Chairman of the GEB, Fredrick T. Gates, professed the corporate-fascist directive of Rockefeller-financed laboratory schools: “[w]e shall not try to make these people or any of their children philosophers or men of learning, or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, editors, poets, or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have an ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is . . . to train these people as we find them to a perfectly ideal life just where they are . . . and [to] teach them to do in a perfect way what their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way, in the homes, in the shops and on the farm.”(6). Stated differently, Gates’s mission as GEB Chairman aimed merely to condition the working-class masses to adapt to America’s economic evolution from “imperfect” manual labor into “perfect” mechanical labor managed by corporate industrialization for mass production.

A major recipient of GEB funds was Teachers College at Columbia University where E. L. Thorndike conducted stimulus-response experiments on animals such as mice and monkeys to refine proto-behaviorist conditioning methodologies for collectivist workforce training (Lionni 29-41, 61-65, 72, 78-81). Thorndike asserted that “we believe it will be found that the best interests of the individual and society will be served by providing a certain number of pupils least gifted in intelligence with the equipment needed to begin their vocational career by the completion of the junior high school period or even earlier in a few cases. Other individuals will advance their own welfare and that of society by securing but one more year, others by two, others by three additional years. Thus although the great majority of children should spend some time in the junior high school, not all of them should be expected to continue to the completion of the senior-high-school course. Each child should have as much high+-school work as the common good requires” (qtd. in Lionni 40).

Fast-forward after one hundred years of GEB funding, and compare Thorndike’s early system of vocational “tracking” to current “career pathways” curriculums, which DeVos is promoting as Secretary of Education. The US Department of Ed issued a press release stating that, on May 9th, Secretary DeVos visited Granite Technical Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, in order to “highlight innovative career pathways for high school students made possible through strong business-education partnerships.” In my article entitled “Corporate-Fascist Workforce Training for the Hegelian State.” I expound how career pathways are nothing more than job-specific workforce-training curriculums that are assigned to students whose learning outcomes “track” them out of traditional academic curriculums for university preparation.

Once students are tracked into prescriptive career pathways, Wundtian-Skinnerian stimulus-response pedagogies are applied to achieve workforce planning outcomes in accordance with workforce development mandates under federal laws such as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act (or Perkins III).

Under such federal workforce planning laws, even education administrators are psycho-behaviorally conditioned to attain workforce development outcomes through operant-conditioning management incentives. According to a 2005 scholarly journal article published in New Directions for Institutional Research, educational institutions receiving federal aid under the provisions of WIA and Perkins III must “report outcome data to a central state administrative agency that in turn aggregates these data and reports them to the U.S. Department of Education. Both laws introduced potential rewards and consequences for states that do or do not improve student performance” (Kent 60). Adding another layer of administrative operant conditioning, these financial “rewards [‘positive reinforcement’] and consequences [‘punishments’]” impel educational institutions into regimenting operant conditioning pedagogies in the classroom to achieve government-mandated workforce-training outcomes.

Will DeVos compound yet another layer of stimulus-response conditioning into this corporate-fascist stratagem by using her cabinet position to push Neurocore’s occupational biofeedback therapies as government-subsidized treatments for cognitive-learning disabilities that impede federal workforce-training outcomes? To be sure, the Neurocore Corporation does, in fact, provide specialized biofeedback therapies for corporate clients through the Neurocore Pro website, which offers biofeedback procedures that can catalyze “higher productivity for a business unit.”

On the “Corporate Health” page of the Neurocore Pro website, it describes the company’s “Corporate health program, Core Health . . . By optimizing the autonomic nervous system, . . . we improve productivity and performance in a manner most corporate wellness programs cannot.  . . . We have seen incredible change in the professional athletes, executives, politicians, and entrepreneurs who run our program. Now, we are introducing this program to entire executive teams and business units.” If green-lighted by a DeVos Department of Ed, such Neurocore treatments for entire corporate staffs could be adapted to treat entire classes of learning-disabled students who are being trained in career pathways courses to fulfill federal workforce planning outcomes.

Competency-Based Workforce Training and the Medicalization of Hegelian Education

Currently, corporate-fascist workforce planning under the Trump-DeVos Administration is shifting away from OBE rhetoric and switching to “competency-based education” directives under the new ESSA legislation. In particular, the ESSA law stipulates federal provisions for “the development of comprehensive academic assessment instruments . . . that emphasize the mastery of standards and aligned competencies in a competency-based education model.” Admittedly, competency-based education is simply a rendition of OBE workforce training. According to a 1994 whitepaper titled Outcome-Based Education: Final Report, which was published by the US Department of Ed, “Competency-Based Education (CBE), originally conceived to ease the transition from school to work, contained elements of OBE.  . . . Rather than being accepted as a holistic approach to school reform, CBE survives chiefly as a vocational training program.” Indeed, when conducting a peer-reviewed journal search for the simple phrase “competency-based education” in the EBSCOhost Academic Search Complete research database, over 70% of the articles in the first 40 search results are tabulated with the key-phrase “outcome-based education” in the detailed record.5

Attorney Jane Robbins, who is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project, concurs with this comparison between OBE and CBE workforce schooling. In a recent Federalist report, Robbins exposes cronyism between Secretary DeVos and Jeb Bush’s CBE lackeys from his “school choice” nonprofit, the Foundation for Educational Excellence. The article, entitled “Why ‘Competency-Based Education’ Will Deepen America’s Education Crisis,” demonstrates how “CBE is essentially the same thing as outcome-based education (OBE) . . . OBE and now CBE posit that the government should establish outcomes it wants students to achieve and then work backwards, setting interim benchmarks along the journey to that goal. Students would work at their own pace to establish ‘competency’ at each benchmark.” In a subsection titled “Plugging Kids into a Planned Hole in a Planned Economy,” Robbins explains “that the entire CBE/Common Core scheme is designed for workforce development. When the government has such intensely personal algorithms on all citizens, it’s easier to slot those people into the workforce needs of politically connected corporations.” As I document in my article titled “Billionaire Betsy DeVos, Big Data, and the Public-Private Planned Economy“, hi-tech data-mining of America’s student body is integral to tracking students into competency-based career-pathways algorithms that are programmed for corporate-fascist workforce planning under DeVos’s Department of Education.

Robbins’s analysis of OBE-CBE workforce planning under Secretary DeVos is affirmed in the ESSA bill. Subsection 4205(a)(14) stipulates federal provisions for “build[ing] career competencies and career readiness and ensur[ing] that local workforce and career readiness skills are aligned with the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (20 U.S.C. 2301 et seq.) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3101 et seq.).”

Currently, the trend in OBE-CBE workforce education is hi-tech training for healthcare job competencies needed to operate the IT and other digital technologies that are being increasingly integrated into the new national healthcare system. It should be noted that Billionaire Betsy’s husband Dick DeVos, who is also heavily invested in Neurocore, campaigned for the governorship of Michigan in 2006 by pledging to upgrade the state’s healthcare technology infrastructure. According to Chimes, the official student news publication of Dick’s alma mater, Calvin College, Mr. DeVos promised “[t]o combat rising health care costs . . . [with] a streamlined system that utilizes technology to reduce hospital errors by making medical records more efficient.”

While Dick has been pushing hi-tech healthcare at the state level, the enactment of Obamacare has been rolling out federal provisions for OBE-CBE workforce training that cultivates medical technology competence.

In 2010, the RAND Corporation published a whitepaper study titled “Use of Outcome Metrics to Measure Quality in Education and Training of Healthcare Professionals.” This document examines “the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) stipulat[ions] [for] the establishment of a National Health Care Workforce Planning Commission to undertake comprehensive workforce planning in healthcare and so help synchronising federal investments into workforce development.” That same year, the Annual Review of Public Health published an article entitled “Outcome-Based Workforce Development and Education in Public Health,” which “recommend[s] a framework for workforce education in public health, integrating . . . competency-based education . . . This framework provides a context for designing and developing high-quality, outcome-based workforce development efforts and evaluating their impact, with implications for academic and public health practice efforts to educate the public health workforce.”

To streamline this national healthcare workforce, Betsy DeVos is promoting educational institutions that are pioneering innovations in healthcare technology, such as Arizona State University. On May 9th, at the 2017 Arizona State University and Global Silicon Valley Summit in Salt Lake City Utah, DeVos lauded ASU’s Entrepreneurship (PLUS) Innovation program for its invention of the G3Box, which re-engineers shipping containers into portable medical clinics that can be transported anywhere at relatively inexpensive prices. To facilitate such new healthcare technology infrastructure, OBE-CBE initiatives are commencing specialized training for competencies in hi-tech treatments for all patient populations across the lifespan from pediatrics to geriatrics.

A 2015 issue of the scholarly journal Pediatrics published an article entitled “Blueprint for Action: Visioning Summit on the Future of the Workforce in Pediatrics.”  This article studies the “need for outcomes-based research” so that “the field of pediatrics and its workforce [can] adapt to meet challenges created by such changes” resulting from “[t]echnology and electronic medical record (EMR) systems” as well as other “health care delivery system” changes.

In 2011, the Journal of the American Society on Aging printed an article titled “A Competency-Based Approach to Educating and Training the Eldercare Workforce.” This article explores “ongoing initiatives that address geriatric workforce competency and how these efforts support and can be supported by the goals of the ACA [Affordable Care Act]” (Mezey et al. 53). More recently, a 2015 issue of the same journal published an article entitled “Ensuring Care for Aging Baby Boomers: Solutions at Hand.” In this peer-reviewed article, the authors recommend eldercare initiatives that “maximiz[e] how we deploy our existing [eldercare] workforce, [by] incorporating quickly evolving technology” (Bragg and Hansen 96). In particular, the authors recommend workforce competencies in geriatric-care technologies such as “robot caregiver[s],” “health information technology,” and “smart technolog[ies],” including “telephone-based symptom monitoring system[s]” as well as “personalized apps, wearable sensors, and social networks that encourage behavioral change” by recording and sharing “health status in real time” (94, 96).

This “cradle-to-end-of-life” education of the healthcare workforce parallels the “cradle-to-career” charter schooling system for corporate-fascist workforce training that is being pushed by the Trump-DeVos Administration. Likewise, this cradle-to-grave system of healthcare workforce planning at the national level parallels the public-private P-20 (preschool-to-age-twenty) council systems of workforce education at the state levels, which are already merging public education departments with public health and human services agencies. For a thorough breakdown of the P-20 fusion of public schooling and public health, see my following two articles: “National Charter School Fascism” and “Corporate-Fascist Workforce Training for the Hegelian State“.

As I explicate in the latter article, this public-private collectivization of clinical medicine and public education stems from the Hegelian roots of corporate-fascist political-economic planning in the United States. Moreover, in “Billionaire Betsy DeVos, Big Data, and the Public-Private Planned Economy“, I document how Carnegie-funded national learning benchmarks for outcomes-based workforce education are rooted in the Hegelian ideology of Skull-and-Bonesman Daniel Coit Gilman6, who was the first President of the Carnegie Institution.7 Gilman, as the first President of Johns Hopkins University, fused Hegelianism with Wundtian proto-behaviorism by appointing the Wundtian Hegelianist, G. Stanley Hall, to the Chair of Psychology and Pedagogy at Johns Hopkins (Sutton 82, 90, 101).8. Thus, the public-private merger of clinical healthcare and public schooling for OBE-CBE workforce planning is the culmination of over a century of Hegelian-collectivist philosophy steering classroom implementations of Wundtian stimulus-response psychology techniques that have been propagated by Robber Baron capitalists to manage the health of the Corporate State.

ESSA, IDEA, WIOA: Neurocore Therapies for Disabled Workforce Incompetency:

As privatized P-20 collectivization of public education with public health blurs the lines between traditional classroom learning and “community-based” lifelong learning, educational institutions will incorporate more clinical approaches to conditioning student learning/cognition and psychosocial development for workforce competency. In time, under sections 1005, 1008, and 4108 of the ESSA law, a student’s workforce incompetency could be pathologized as a cognitive-behavioral disability that requires psychological and/or biomedical intervention, which could be administered through Neurocore biofeedback therapies.

Clause 1008(b)(7)(A)(iii)(I-III) of the ESSA legislation obligates schools to “‘(iii) address the needs of all children . . . at risk of not meeting the challenging State academic standards, through activities which may include—‘(I) counseling, school-based mental health programs, specialized instructional support services, mentoring services, and other strategies to improve students’ skills outside the academic subject areas; ‘(II) preparation for and awareness of opportunities for postsecondary education and the workforce, which may include career and technical education programs . . . ; [and] ‘(III) implementation of a schoolwide tiered model to prevent and address problem behavior, and early intervening services, coordinated with similar activities and services carried out under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.” In simpler terms, this clause authorizes the employment of various psycho-behavioral health support services to accommodate the workforce handicaps of students with cognitive-learning disabilities and “problem behavior[s]” that impede their competencies in “career and technical education programs.”

Clause 1005(b)(2)(B)(vii)(II) mandates that assessments of workforce competencies must “(vii) provide for— . . . (II) . . . appropriate accommodations, such as interoperability with, and ability to use, assistive technology, for children with disabilities (as defined in section 602(3) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1401(3))), including students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, and students with a disability who are provided accommodations under an Act other than the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.), necessary to measure the academic achievement of such children relative to the challenging State academic standards or alternate academic achievement standards described in paragraph (1)(E).” In other words, this clause permits the use of “assistive technolog[ies],” such as Neurocore’s biofeedback technologies, that can reduce the symptoms of cognitive-behavioral disabilities that hinder a student’s competencies in “alternate academic achievement standards” such as workforce training through career-pathways curriculums.

In fact, charter schools are already experimenting with assistive biofeedback technologies, such as emWave PC®, for reducing student stress and anxiety levels that result from scholastic pressures to achieve academic competency outcomes. In a 2015 issue of the academic journal Biofeedback, Steven C. Kassel of the Biofeedback and Family Therapy Centers in Santa Clarita, California, published an article entitled “Stress Management and Peak Performance Crash Course for Ninth Graders in a Charter School Setting.” Kassel reports the findings of a study in which “[s]eventeen 9th-grade students at [an undisclosed] charter school were selected to participate in a 3-week stress management/peak performance training program that integrated biofeedback into the overall educational schedule.  . . . Students were guided through relaxation exercises and . . . worked with the emWave PC®, a heart rate variability biofeedback instrument.  . . . The students showed mild to moderate improvement on test anxiety and behavioral measures.  . . . This study suggests that . . . integration of [biofeedback] relaxation techniques into a secondary school setting can improve important measures of students’ scholastic achievement” (90). At the collegiate level, student support services are currently offering counseling sessions that utilize StressEraser, RESPeRATE, Healing Rhythms, and other assistive biofeedback technologies at colleges such as Northwestern University, the University of Notre Dame, and Iowa State University.

In the business world, occupational biofeedback therapies have already been implemented to improve healthcare workforce outcomes at companies such as BlueCross BlueShield. Employees at the Tennessee branch of the corporation underwent HeartMath biofeedback conditioning to reduce “stress [that] can affect businesses in the form of employee health problems, retention troubles and decreased productivity,” according to a 2008 issue of Workforce Magazine.

Altogether, there are already several precedents set for the application of assistive biofeedback technologies in the corporate world and academia to improve the workforce and scholastic “competencies” of employees and students. Hence, as the lines are faded between traditional academic education and job-specific workforce training, public-private/school-business partnerships can combine cognitive-learning therapies for students and occupational therapies for employees into singular biofeedback treatments for students who are tracked into career pathways curriculums that partner with specific corporations.

To administer such assistive biofeedback technologies and other psycho-behavioral accommodations for disabled students, subsection 4108(4-5)(B)(i-ii)(I-II)(bb-cc) of the ESSA legislation stipulates requirements for “ACTIVITIES TO SUPPORT SAFE AND HEALTHY STUDENTS,” which “(4) may be conducted in partnership with an institution of higher education, business, nonprofit organization, community-based organization, or other public or private entity with a demonstrated record of success in implementing activities described in this section; and (5) may include, among other programs and activities— . . . (B) . . . (i) school-based mental health services, including . . . appropriate referrals to direct individual or group counseling services, which may be provided by school-based mental health services providers; and (ii) school-based mental health services partnership programs that—(I) are conducted in partnership with a public or private mental health entity or health care entity; and (II) provide comprehensive school-based mental health services and supports and staff development for school and community personnel working in the school that are— . . . (bb) coordinated (where appropriate) with early intervening services provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.); and (cc) provided by qualified mental and behavioral health professionals who are certified or licensed by the State involved and practicing within their area of expertise.”  

Translation: publicly funded educational institutions are permitted to basically “outsource” their mental/behavioral-health accommodations for students with disabilities by employing public-private partnerships with private healthcare corporations, such as Neurocore, and other community-based healthcare nonprofits.

In sum, the implications of these three ESSA clauses authorize private biofeedback corporations, like Neurocore, to capitalize on federal education funding by partnering with public schools through P-20 councils and other State-level public-private partnerships which provide mental/behavioral health treatments for students with disabilities that hinder academic and workforce competencies.

Final Analysis

It would not be the first time that a presidential appointment, such as DeVos, finagled personal corporate holdings into government contracts. Recall the employment of Dick Cheney’s Haliburton Corporation to support military operations in Iraq during his vice presidency under George W. Bush. Considering this historical precedent, there should be little surprise if DeVos’s Neurocore Corporation scores government contracts to treat public-private charter-school students who have academic/workforce incompetency disabilities.

Nonetheless, one thing is for certain: competency-based education under Secretary DeVos will perpetuate America’s long history of conditioning the student body with stimulus-response methods of psycho-behavioral programming.

  1. To be sure, in a January 19th, 2017, letter to the Designated Agency Ethics Officials of the US Department of Education, DeVos pledged to divest her financial interests in Reinhart Partners Inc., which manages the portfolio that holds DeVos’s UHS investments.
  2. It is worth noting that former Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Antony C. Sutton, documents that “Wundt’s grandfather on the paternal side is of significant interest: Kirchenrat Karl Kasimir Wundt (1744-84) was Professor at Heidelberg University in the history and geography of Baden and pastor of the church at Wieblingen, a small neighborhood town. The Illuminati-Order documents show that ‘Raphael’ in the Illuminati is identified as this same Professor Karl Kasimir Wundt and is referred to in the Illuminati Provincial Report from Utica (i.e., Heidelberg) dated September 1782” (86).
  3. Hall was picked up as the Chair of Psychology and Pedagogy at Johns Hopkins University by the college’s first president, Skull-and-Bonesman Daniel Coit Gilman. At Johns Hopkins, Gilman provided Hall with laboratory facilities and $1000 per year for psychological testing equipment to carry on the proto-behaviorist conditioning experiments that were pioneered at Wundt’s seminal lab in Germany (Sutton 90-91).
  4. Hall’s most prominent student was perhaps John Dewey, who went on to spread Hall’s Wundtian gospel throughout the classrooms of US academia as the Director of the University of Chicago School of Education and as Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University Teachers College (Lionni 15-20, 64-65; Sutton 84-87, 101-105, 109).
  5. This search was conducted on September 1st, 2017.
  6. A June 1993 article titled “Outcome-Based Education: An Overview,” which was published by the Education Commission of the States, documents how outcomes-based education was formulated by the Eight-Year Study of the Progressive Education Association’s Commission on Relation of School and College. The Eight-Year Study was funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as well as Rockefeller’s GEB (Iserbyt Deliberate Dumbing Down 36-37).
  7. In America’s Secret Establishment: An Introduction to the Order of Skull & Bones, Antony C. Sutton records the fact that Gilman, who also served on Rockefeller’s GEB, left America to study Hegelian philosophy under Karl von Ritter and Friedrich Trendelenberg “at the University of Berlin, where post-Hegelian philosophy had a monopoly” (63). It is worth noting here that the Rockefeller family was also inducted into the cult of Skull and Bones through the initiation Bonesman Percy Rockefeller in 1900 (290).
  8. Like Gilman, Hall studied at the University of Berlin under the Hegelian philosopher Trendelenberg (Sutton 63, 82). During the time of Gilman’s presidency, John Dewey studied for his doctorate at Johns Hopkins under Hegelianist Hall as well as Hegelian philosopher George Sylvester Morris (Lionni 16; Sutton 90-91, 101). In turn, Dewey spread Hegelianism through his eminent posts as the Director of the University of Chicago School of Education and as Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University Teachers College (Sutton 91, 101).

New York Magazine Fails to Rescue Charter Schools

As the failures of charter schools across the country multiply, and as more people become aware of these failures, the rich and their media have intensified their relentless disinformation campaign about charter schools. They are deeply dismayed that exposure of charter school problems and criticism of charter schools is becoming more mainstream and common place. Fewer people seem to be buying the charter school hype.

On September 6, 2017 New York Magazine chimed into the news fray with a short article on charter schools with the confused title: “Charter Schools Are Losing the Narrative But Winning the Data.” New York Magazine maintains that charter schools really are good schools overall but somehow this “fact” does not always get captured and communicated well because it is eclipsed by many “anecdotes” about the failures of charter schools.

New York Magazine specifically laments some of the harsh but correct characterizations of charter schools found in some New York Times articles, especially those that report on the chaos and anarchy in the charter school sector in Michigan. It wants readers to abandon their consciousness and believe that charter schools are generally fine. Indeed, the troubled charter school movement is, according to New York Magazine, “performing extremely well.”

New York Magazine uses the ideological device of “data journalism” verses “narrative journalism” to introduce confusion into the consciousness of readers. It wants readers to believe that so-called objective and meaningful data in the form of scores on curriculum-narrowing high-stakes standardized tests produced by for-profit companies show that charter schools are “successful,” but unfortunately a “narrative” has taken hold that has cast a dark cloud over charter schools and caused doubt about charter schools in the minds of many.

Disinformation refers to the deliberate distortion of information for the purpose of causing people to ideologically and politically abandon their own social consciousness, experience, and interests, and to instead adopt ideas, views, and an outlook that directly violates their interests, namely the ideas, views, and outlook of capital-centered interests. Confusion, amnesia, diversion, dogmatism, and anti-consciousness are some key features of disinformation.

New York Magazine adds an additional layer of confusion by making a false distinction between “regulated charter schools,” which are supposedly “good,” verses “less regulated charter schools,” which are supposedly “bad.” This goes hand in hand with more confusion that charter schools are “good” when they are “less private.”

“Charter Schools Are Losing the Narrative But Winning the Data” is really an exercise in multi-layered disinformation. It shows the muddled and desperate thinking and efforts of the rich and their media to preserve and expand pay-the-rich schemes like charter schools in the context of a continually failing economy and discredited political system.

It is important to appreciate the dangerous and reckless nature of this disinformation because it reveals the irrationalism and impunity with which the political and economic elite operate and the extent to which they will go to prevent the improvement of schools and society. The lesson here for the broad American polity is that if you want institutions and a society that serve the general interests of society, then those depriving us of our power to decide our affairs must be deprived of their power to violate our rights. This tiny privileged elite is a historically superfluous class unable and unwilling to solve any problems confronting society. They are unfit to govern. For them, no interests exist outside their own egocentric interests.

The “choice” is not between the chaos, anarchy, and violence of charter schools verses public schools mandated to fail by the rich and their state through testing, chronic under-funding, racist policies, and endless media demonization.

A modern, fully-funded public school system available to all everywhere is the call of the times. Parents and students should not be treated as consumers who have to be “chosen” by a “good” or “bad” charter school—not in 2017.

Modern society cannot move forward without a mass public education system under full and exclusive public control.