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Is money from other countries shaping American education policy?

Do you ever wonder what’s driving this data-driven, education reform?  It certainly isn’t coming from the parents or the teachers, those closest to the students. Teachers and parents seem to have lost all control of  how and what is taught. Instead, it is a race to keep up with the mandated curriculum, mandated use of technology, and tests.   This Race-to-the-TEST, is all about DATA and Return on Investment.  (By the way, the tests will soon switch to online “Personalized Learning” which is code for hidden data collection in the form of  computer based Competency Based Education and Assessments–asking for paper pencil options will be your best way to opt out.)  It seems if you don’t have money, you don’t get a seat at the corporate education stakeholder table.   So where is all that “corporate stakeholder” money coming from?  We know that Bill Gates has invested Billions of this reform movement, as has Facebook’s Marc Zuckerberg, and all the edtech companies like  Microsoft, Pearson, Google certainly have a $multi-billion seat at the table that is driving the use of technology and the American education agenda but what about other countries, like say…Russia?   Could money from Russia be influencing American Education?

Did you know that the US government has a US-Russian collaboration on education?  Ever hear of Skolkovo?

us russia bilateral

Following his 2009 visit to Moscow, President Obama announced the creation of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, which has a Sub-Group on education, seen here. The goal of the US-Russian education sub-group was, among other things,

“we propose exchange projects for US and Russian scientists, scholars and university administrators that focus on innovation and commercialization of technology and research as well as the application of new technologies to education.”

However, apparently funding for this project has been halted due to sanctions against Russia. The website states,  “In response to Russia’s ongoing violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the United States has temporarily suspended several projects and meetings planned under the auspices of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission (BPC).”

As an aside,  WHY would American politicians,  bureaucrats, and NGOs  ever allow Russia to collaborate or influence American education, technology,  or military  policy and development?  What is the desired goal in this collaboration? Is it what’s best for America?

Another Russian – US technology and education collaboration was forged through Massachusetts Institute for Technology, MIT.  From June of 2011,

MIT and Skolkovo Foundation announce collaboration

This was a joint effort to establish a graduate research university in Russia as part of the new innovation city of Skolkovo.

 Under the proposed [ three year] collaboration, MIT will assist the Skolkovo Foundation in building SIST as a unique, world-class graduate research university.

  • Integrate education, advanced research, and entrepreneurship, based on academic excellence and innovation
  • Attract outstanding faculty, researchers, students and industrial participants from Russia and around the world to collaborate in Skolkovo
  • Organize education and research around multidisciplinary technological challenges, rather than traditional academic disciplines
  • Couple education, research, and practice in entrepreneurship and innovation with each of several multidisciplinary, multi-university research centers

Meet the Global Education Futures Group

gef map

Many of the Russian organizations affiliated with Skolvolvo and mentioned in From Russia with Money are also listed in the Global Education Futures Map 2015-35 (above) and another map here, and this ReFutureMe summary, as making significant contributions in creating the map:

GEF is a well funded, highly influential, international group which is transforming the future of education, via technology, online learning, artificial intelligence and schools without walls.  If you don’t recall the Global Education Futures (GEF) group, MEW wrote about the group here:

Tom Vander Ark, whose was instrumental in leading the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s Digital Learning Now Coalition   …which was instrumental in creating the “Ten Elements of Digital Learning”   …which were adopted by the American Legislative Exchange Council    …whose policies have now made their way into the ESEA rewrites and President Obama’s Testing Action Plan…  Vander Ark  is also a board member of Global Education Futures. So is Jose Ferreira, of Knewton.

Take a look at this recent (April 2015)  Global Ed Futures meeting in California.  Pay close attention to the panel presenters and the title of the session:

New Education: How to Unbundle the Potential of Multi-Billion Market?


Plenty of names on this Global Education Futures panel have ties to Skolvovo mentioned in the From Russia with Money.  From the sounds of it, these well connected folks are still looking to Cash-In on the Multi-Billion Bundle of American children.  And the politicians, bureaucrats and NGOs from various countries are ensuring this happens.


Speaking of Billions and Cashing-in on Crony Capitalism, where’s all this money coming from?

lavrov clinton march 2009 NY Post russian reset button

On July 31, 2016, The NY Post published this headline, Report raises questions about ‘Clinton Cash’ from Russians during ‘reset’

        There’s more “Clinton Cash” trouble for Hillary.

A report out Monday, “From Russia With Money — Hillary Clinton, the Russian Reset and Cronyism,” raises serious questions about the cash connections between the Clintons and participants in the State Department’s failed five-year effort to improve, or “reset,” US-Russia relations during Hillary’s reign as secretary of state.

Key players in a main component of the reset — a Moscow-based, Silicon Valley-styled campus for developing biomed, space, nuclear and IT technologies called “Skolkovo” — poured tens of millions of dollars into the Clinton Foundation, the report by journalist Peter Schweizer alleges.

As the Obama administration’s top diplomat, Hillary Clinton was at the center of US efforts on the reset in general and Skolkovo in particular, Schweizer argues.

Yet, “Of the 28 US, European and Russian companies that participated in Skolkovo, 17 of them were Clinton Foundation donors” or sponsored speeches by former President Bill Clinton, Schweizer told The Post.

“It raises the question — do you need to pay money to sit at the table?”

In one example cited by Schweizer, Skolkovo Foundation member and then-Cisco CEO John Chambers donated between $1 million and $5 million in personal and corporate cash to the Clinton Foundation, the report says.

But Skolkovo wound up making America less safe, Schweizer argues, because it shared advanced US technology that Russia can develop for both civilian and military applications, a concern raised already by Army and FBI officials. Read more here.


WSJ Hillary

The Wall Street Journal published this headline on July 31, 2016, The Clinton Foundation, State and Kremlin Connections  Why did Hillary’s State Department urge U.S. investors to fund Russian research for military uses?  

The article is written by Peter Schweizer, who also authored the book and short movie/documentary,  Clinton Cash.  He writes  in the WSJ,

“…her [ Secretary Clinton’s]  handling of a major technology transfer initiative at the heart of Washington’s effort to “reset” relations with Russia raises serious questions about her record. Far from enhancing American national interests, Mrs. Clinton’s efforts in this area may have substantially undermined U.S. national security.

Consider Skolkovo, an “innovation city” of 30,000 people on the outskirts of Moscow, billed as Russia’s version of Silicon Valley—and a core piece of Mrs. Clinton’s quarterbacking of the Russian reset.

Following his 2009 visit to Moscow, President Obama announced the creation of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. Mrs. Clinton as secretary of state directed the American side, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov represented the Russians…”

Soon, dozens of U.S. tech firms, including top Clinton Foundation donors like Google, Intel and Cisco, made major financial contributions to Skolkovo, with Cisco committing a cool $1 billion. In May 2010, the State Department facilitated a Moscow visit by 22 of the biggest names in U.S. venture capital—and weeks later the first memorandums of understanding were signed by Skolkovo and American companies.

By 2012 the vice president of the Skolkovo Foundation, Conor Lenihan—who had previously partnered with the Clinton Foundation—recorded that Skolkovo had assembled 28 Russian, American and European “Key Partners.” Of the 28 “partners,” 17, or 60%, have made financial commitments to the Clinton Foundation, totaling tens of millions of dollars, or sponsored speeches by Bill Clinton.

Russians tied to Skolkovo also flowed funds to the Clinton Foundation. Andrey Vavilov, the chairman of SuperOx, which is part of Skolkovo’s nuclear-research cluster, donated between $10,000 and $25,000 (donations are reported in ranges, not exact amounts) to the Clinton’s family charity. Skolkovo Foundation chief and billionaire Putin confidant Viktor Vekselberg also gave to the Clinton Foundation through his company, Renova Group.”

At the end of the WSJ article is this notation: Mr. Schweizer is president of the Government Accountability Institute and the author of “ Clinton Cash.” A larger report on the subject of this article is available at Cronyism.com.  The 56 page report on the Clinton Foundation and Russian interests is linked below:

FROM RUSSIA WITH MONEY   Hillary Clinton, the Russian Reset, and Cronyism

From the Executive Summary (pg 3/56):

clinton $ 1

The ‘offshore LLC’ mentioned in the above report, Joule Unlimited, refers to a foundation set up by Mossack Fonesca, the world’s fourth-largest offshore law firm.  This was revealed in The Panama PapersSalon writes about The Panama Papers and John Podesta’s involvement with Russia:

A key gear in the Clinton machine that has sucked in hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying on behalf of the Saudi absolute monarchy has also worked for Russia’s biggest bank.

 The Podesta Group is one of the most influential Democratic Party-linked lobbyists in the U.S. And it is headed by a top Hillary Clinton fundraiser who has been referred to as the “Hillary moneyman.”

Sberbank, the largest financial institution in Eastern Europe, hired the Podesta Group to help powder up its public image, The Observer reports.

This is just one of the many findings in the so-called Panama Papers, a trove of 11.5 million documents that expose how political and economic elites from around the planet are stashing their money in secretive tax havens.

In March, the Podesta Group registered with the U.S. government as a lobbyist for Sberbank.

Several other media outlets published about the Clinton Foundation money and trust issues. See Truth Out’s piece,  War and Wall Street: Clinton’s Bleak Record:  Hillary Clinton’s Record a US Horror Story   and Town Hall’s  column entitled,  The Clinton Foundation Sure Benefited From Relationships With The Russians . 

Regardless of where you stand politically, there are enough questions raised that folks on all sides of the aisle seem to be paying attention and realizing this is bigger than partisan politics.   Read the full  report in Russia with Money  and make your own decisions on the veracity of the findings. 


This post was Co-written by Gretchen Logue and Cheri Kiesecker



Cheri Kiesecker

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