Global Education Futures says, ““the best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Talk about a surefire investment policy! If you build it, and pump it through the right connections, they will come buy it. They will have to. But first you have to figure out what “it” is. GEF is a highly influential group that has a process for that. Conveniently for us they have laid out exactly where the want the future of education to go on this handy chart.


Notice that educational trajectories will soon be commodities which will ultimately “impose limitations on special skills development.” In 2 years, IT companies will be the leaders in global education. We will have net-centric cultural values, which will unfortunately lead to “mass predictive texting induced learning disorders” in about a decade. All of this culminates with the Death of Renaissance Man by 2030. Where do I sign up?

Save Maine Schools blog explained the process that GEF uses to plan the future and shows how it fits into the about to voted into law revised ESEA.

According to the group’s [GEF] website: “We don’t expect change, we find a way to make it.”

Using a technique called “Rapid Foresight,” which involves putting “objects of the future” on note-cards and then voting on whether or not they earn a place on the “map,” Global Education Futures and the organizations it consults with literally map out the future they wish for the rest of us.

Now, if we knew the people planning our futures for us were saints, we might not need to worry so much.

But let’s be real. These people are politicians and heads of big corporations. Chances are pretty good that we’ve got at least a sprinkling of megalomaniacs in this bunch.

According to the group’s website: “the vision for the future which we create during foresights leads to “start-ups and/or change management strategies for corporations & educational institutions” and “policy-making initiatives & civil society action.”

Again, we might be able to laugh this stuff off, if it weren’t apparent that this group appears, in fact, to be remarkably influential.

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…   is a board member of Global Education Futures.

So is Jose Ferreira, of Knewton.

Now take a look at this diagram for a comprehensive picture of the plans that Global Education Futures and the groups it “foresights” with have developed for us:


Do you see “blended learning?” I do.

Do you see “personalized learning?” I do.

Do you see “competency” based portfolios? I do.

(Now try something, if you dare: look up the current versions of the ESEA rewrites, and search for some of these very same terms.)

Right now, we are being told that we simply cannot wait for the new ESEA to pass – that children and families have waited too long.

But  I’m left wondering: who is it, really, that can’t wait for these changes?

BTW  Global in this case is US and Russia. You can get GEF reports in English and Russian.

In a separate post Talmage published a letter to Mark Zuckerberg intended to show him where his support for education reform measures is misplaced. The teacher exposed the marketing lie that is the new fad of “personalized learning” which is supposed to save education and is mentioned more than once in ESEA.

Let me assure you that “personalized learning,” as it is being pushed by the Gates Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Digital Learning Now Council, as well as countless educational technology companies, start-ups, and venture capitalists who have invested millions into personalized learning experiments (they call them “innovations”), is a far, far cry from the type of education we got at Exeter [the private college prep school that both Talmage and Zuckerberg attended]…

These are the constraints under which “personalized” learning models operate. Standards, competencies, learning targets and progressions, all of which must be tracked and monitored and controlled in order to work, are the ingredients of “personalized learning.” Students may be in control of their “learning trajectory,” in such a model, but not of their own minds, as we were at Exeter…

Of course, you can see why venture capitalists, educational technology companies and their related foundations (yes, I do mean Gates) would see a prime opportunity for profit through this type of model…

Computers can, indeed, do this type of work.

And please read her excellent explanation of the fallacy of competency based education here. That will be one of the central buzz words coming from school leaders in the very near future.

Very smart, organized and well funded people are working behind the scenes to create the next bubble in America. The education bubble. Our legislators are lapping it up like feral cats with a saucer of cream.

Anne Gassel

Anne has been writing on MEW since 2012 and has been a citizen lobbyist on Common Core since 2013. Some day she would like to see a national Hippocratic oath for educators “I will remember that there is an art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding are sometimes more important than policy or what the data say. My first priority is to do no harm to the children entrusted to my temporary care.”

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