From the Files Tuesday: Down in the Valley

Have you ever heard of GSV? I know the company’s heard of you. How? GSV stands for “Global Silicon Valley”. Just what does GSV have to do with education, especially Common Core Standards?! I’m glad you are curious!

GSV (Global Silicon Valley) Advisors:
This body of advisors helps education ‘entrepreneurs’  and growth companies connect. In fact, here’s an excerpt from their website:
“A key part of our mission is to reimagine what education is—with a bias toward innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and others who look at learning differently.” (source: http://gsvadvisors.com/company/) GSV Adivsors are also partners with Arizona State University . GSV Advisors are affiliated with ASCD (A Gates Foundation funded curriculum resource for educators), with Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, among some other pro CC heavy hitters. The group is advocates for (you might want a drum roll sound, here) Teach for America, KIPP, Center for Education Reform among some other non-profits. In case you forgot or aren’t old enough to know this, Silicon Valley is home to Google, Cisco, Apple and others. In other words a mega hub of digital power. Hardly new to the education/corporate mix, GSV Advisors have been ‘at it’ about 20 years and helped create quite an impressive resume of holdings (among them & known CCS aligned; K-12, Inc., Leap Frog). See the long list & note the amount of money (http://gsvadvisors.com/experience/) A point the group likes to ‘brag about’, “focused on the Megatrends that are disrupting the $4 trillion global education market along with the innovators who are transforming the industry.” Well, at least we know with what brush they paint the educational landscape with. From the PDF “Fall of  the Wall: Capital Flows to Education Innovation”:

GSV Advisors: in education for the money.
GSV Advisors: in education for the money.

You can download a free copy of the PDF, but you must register to receive it. Simply visit the website and click on the screen with the white paper’s name as is scrolls by in the header. This report from July 2012 is certainly eye opening as to the motivation for education. In my opinion, it hardly appears it’s for the betterment of our students. You might especially enjoy their phrase, “Pre K to Gray”. Their executive summary includes an Education ROE, or ‘return on investment’. Not sure how you feel, but that’s hardly encouraging to the parents struggling with a student who has Common Core thrust upon them. From Pearson exec, CEO K12 Technology, Jonathan Harber, “In K-12, it is about achieving scale – scale is the most important reform. Anything that creates a real market rather than undermining it is the most transformative change that can be done.”  There are all kinds of other charts, graphs in the free report that are great for illustrating just how much money corporations have either sunk into education or see the potential to invest. Remember, this report is now a couple of years old. {from my researching background, this is a key piece of evidence in the fight against public, private partnerships in education}.

So, just how much data does GSV have on education?:

From 2012, here’s a gold mine that’s been in my saved file for quite a while: 2012 gsv education sector factbook Among the facts shared:

Global/USA market sizes (including testing & assessing, Global/USA literacy rates, PISA scores, the top global post secondary schools, the structure of public education in America, stats on private, charter, home schools in America, SAT data scores, post secondary stats, distance learning information & market for growth, for profit education industry leaders. Why all the figures? If you’re planning billions of dollars in return on your investment, you’d better have your facts, figures and forecasts to live by.

“Big, Hairy, Audacious  Goals”(BHAGs):

From the July 4, 2012 GSV Asset Management White Paper, “American Revolution 2.0”  {another gold mine of strategy & information worth downloading} I find the white paper quite disrespectful in nature, to not only our teachers and students, but to all Americans. When you view the resource, I’d be interested in your take on the overall impression you get. This paper lays out a 15 year battle plan to transform American education. Vernacular includes ‘battle plan, strategic partners, special op forces, etc.’. Topping the 15 year BHAG list?! Common Core Standards! Here’s a direct quote of how they wrote it, “To start, we adopt the Common Core in all 50 states and create incentives for innovators to develop disruptive, high-impact content. ”

Other goals include ditching certain current terminology in favor of phrases not so well known, universal preK, tax incentives, open scoring, more STEM, more Teach for America, revamp NCLB and make it work, computer coding would be mandatory and a considered a language, professors from other countries steeped in STEM given permanent residence in the USA, establish an education cheerleading squad lead by the US President and the media treating any international academic achievement as an Olympic-like competition, virtual credits earned wallets, open educational standards, eliminate local school boards, create an even more entrenched P3 system in school board’s place & create ‘education companies’, ditch the traditional school calendars. Here’s a picture of what this looks like:

BHAGs

What can we do?:

1) Spread the knowledge to begin with. Look at every company involved in the ‘special ops forces’. Find out more about them.

2) Depending on where the companies are, begin contacting them & expressing your views about how this Common Core laden battle plan is not the solution.

3) If you have a company or a corporation near you which is a P3 and heavily invested in your schools, work together to rid your schools of their influence. P3s, are NOT interested in your students education. Their ROE (return on investment) is their #1 goal. P3s are not educators and have run the education system amuck with treating schools as business models.

4) Work with your elected or appointed school board members, local and state politicians. Do they know about this massive effort to reinvent American education? What are their views about this? How does this type of strategy mock the U.S. Constitution or the state level Constitution? FIGHT BACK! No, we don’t have billions of dollars to make, but we DO have STUDENTS worth SAVING!

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