UNESCO’s Vision for School Choice
How They Plan to Use Backpack Funding Bills & Government Regulations to Ensure "Equity" in Private Choice Options
Proponents of legislation that make public education funds available for use in the private education sector have incredible marketing slogans. “Fund students not systems” they say. The accompanying mantra that parents should be able to “take the money that belongs to them” and “choose what education is best for their child” offers hope to droves of desperate parents looking for an easy exit to an incompetent system that seems hell-bent on indoctrinating their kids. Unfortunately, those same proponents who are very vocal when it comes to the supposed benefits of ESAs and vouchers are eerily silent when it comes to being honest about the strings attached to public money and how it could be used to bring regulation into private and homeschools.
One entity who is very transparent about the strings attached to government money is UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, who’s been charged with seeing the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 (Quality and Inclusive Education for All) through to completion by 2030. This subject was addressed in a background paper commissioned for their Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report that was highlighted in the article The Strings of School Choice. In it, the authors lay out how public money funding private schools through school choice (and the public regulation that comes with it) can be utilized “as the main policy option to tackle education inequalities resulting from private actors’ involvement in the provision of education.” The paper states that the regulation of evaluation (assessments) and accountability frameworks “play a strategic role in promoting that all publicly-funded schools, independently of their ownership, are correctly aligned with quality standards and also with the equity goals and objectives set by the government.” It then describes just some of the “equity”-oriented regulatory strategies than can be enforced in the private education sector:
This strategy of using regulatory measures through public funding to have “controlled school choice” is repeated in the Global Education Monitoring Report, which itself has some interesting funders. In the report’s rallying call - “Who Chooses? Who loses?" - UNESCO grapples with the involvement of non-state (private/homeschool) actors in education. While they believe nations should commit first and foremost to supporting public education, they also see the value that these other education pathways have in providing learning for all children. At the same time, they bemoan the inequities (unequal outcomes) that result from school choice—allowing for wealthier families to have better options and greater results.
UNESCO’s solution is to #RighttheRules, urging governments to “see all institutions, students and teachers as part of a single system. Standards, information, incentives and accountability should help governments protect, respect and fulfill the right to education of all, without turning their eyes away from privilege or exploitation.” It’s clear that they view the infusion of public money into private education as their opportunity to fix the inequities arising from school choice and institute educational pluralism: a school system in which the government funds and regulates, but does not necessarily provide, public education. In essence, this #RighttheRules campaign in concert with the school choice movement is a power grab to allow governments to regulate far more in the private education sphere than they’ve been able to in the past, including enforcement of their equity and inclusion initiatives.
Unsuspecting parents are cheering what they view as educational freedom through school choice legislation that allows public money to be used for private education and permits them to escape the indoctrination caused by these intiatives. Little do they know that UNESCO is eagerly anticipating the ability this gives them to stick its regulatory camel nose into the hole this creates under the tent and worm their way into private education to demand those same initiatives. UNESCO’s mission to provide children an education built around achieving the Sustainable Development Goals has infiltrated the standards, assessments and accountability measures in U.S. public education. Private and homeschool environments have largely been able to avoid being influenced by this simply because they don’t use public money and therefore do not fall under the purvue of the state like public schools do, who are required to adopt state standards that are accountable to federal regulations.
The introduction of public money into private and homeschool through “money following the student” bills would change that, giving entities like UNESCO and their government minions full access to all avenues of education and all children to push their programming. In time, private and homeschools will be required (just like public schools ) to teach Transformative Social Emotional Learning, Climate Change, Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Gender Fluidity in order to pass the assessments written into these bills which are tied to taking the public money. UNESCO even identifies this strategy of bringing public funding into the private education sector through vouchers, education saving accounts and scholarship tax credits as part of their “vision” to regulate non-state education in the United States:
What’s more is that the face of the “school choice” movement (who is traveling the nation and appearing in the media to advocate for these types of bills to be passed) has recently been discovered to be an expert for UNESCO’s Inclusive Policy Lab and a member of their E-TEAM, Education and Digital Skills. The purpose of UNESCO’s Inclusive Policy Lab is to “help design and deliver more inclusive, equity-weighted, and SDG-oriented policies.” Considering that passing these bills would assist in making UNESCO’s vision of regulating private education become a reality, it begs the question as to why Corey DeAngelis is involved with both.
As Dr. James Lindsay so aptly observed, “It would be a real coup de neoliberal grace if this call [for school choice] gets answered by a bunch of already prepared corporate “4.0 Schools” franchises that look anti-Woke but are all kinds of ESG and SEL compliant while being massive data-mines of the kids…I don’t trust Koch, Walton, Jeb Bush (FEE), etc., (to say nothing of the UNESCO Inclusive Policy Lab) to put tens of millions behind a push without a payoff in the mix…Does the school choice lobby benefit from improving public schools? It doesn’t. How does it benefit from school choice? Oh. It has something ready to go to make a shitload of money off it.”
School choice isn’t just a money-making racket; it’s a trap to allow for government control of every educational option through regulations and accountability measures tied to public funding. It will allow for the collection of all children’s social and emotional data to measure compliance for their future social credit system driven by ESGs. Don’t fall for it. Parents can either make sacrifices to exercise their educational freedom without government assistance or sacrifice their children on the alter of an illusion of school choice designed to destroy educational freedom for generations to come.
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As a parent who made the sacrifice and pulled my kids from public school, we arrived at a private catholic school to find the situation worse. Why? Because private schools are accepting fed funding and state accreditation, so they have to comply with the SEL requirements, etc. parents - be vigilant! Know what you are up against. Then will sell you school choice and you will do a victory lap while the door to the hen house is wide open. I know how desperate you are for even the smallest win, but school choice is a wolf identifying as a sheep.
These battles have to be fought. Maybe it's hopeless, any government involvement in education will corrupt it totally. If so, our problems are much bigger than education. But then why are we even having a public policy discussion? In theory at least, government should be accountable to the people, and so government-regulated education should be accountable to what parents and communities want it to look like.