Education Business and the Deep State

What are the consequences of the shadow government’s network of multinational global education corporations and the supporting networks of venture philanthropy, and national education policymakers? While it’s difficult to measure, certain hypotheses can be made. First, global knowledge industries create a level of uniformity in global education culture as the result of the marketing of for-profit schools, the international use of testing products, global databases, and, most importantly, the publishing of textbooks for global markets. Secondly, global knowledge industries can exert corporate control of the ideologies disseminated through schools around the world. Thirdly, while textbooks might reflect differing ideologies (as discussed in Chapter 3), it seems unlikely that global publishers would distribute textbooks containing ideas that might threaten their control of global markets.

Exemplifying the global education industries are Bertelsmann, HCIRN, Holtzbrinck Publishers, Informa, Pearson Education, Reed Elsevier, The McGraw-Hill Companies and Thomson.30 All of these companies include publishing and vast information systems.

The shadow education government’s global publishing and information conglomerates are vast. With home headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, Holtzbrinck Publishers describes its company as follows:

Today these common qualities characterize the seven dynamic and globally structured businesses in which the Group is invested— Springer Nature, Macmillan Publishers and Holtzbrinck

Buchverlage, Macmillan Learning, Holrzbrinck Digital, Digital Science, DIE ZEIT Group, as well as Funds & Investments.31

Informa, which advertises itself as a “Specialist Information for Global Markets,” owns an array of publications including Taylor Sc Francis Group comprised of Routledge, Garland Science, and Psychology Press.32

Pearson, headquartered in England, boasts that it “is the world’s leading education company. From pre-school to high school, early learning to professional certification, our curriculum materials, multimedia learning tools and testing programmes help to educate millions of people worldwide—more than any other private enterprise.”33

“We are the world’s learning company,” Pearson declares, with more than 22,500 employees operating in 70 countries. “We provide content, assessment and digital services to learners, educational institutions, employers, governments and other partners globally.”34 Pearson presents its strategic priorities as: “Grow market share through the digital transformation. Invest in structural growth opportunities that promote lifelong learning. Become a simpler, more efficient, and sustainable company.”35

Pearson, Stephen Ball writes, advertises solutions to “national policy of raising standards and achieving educational improvements linked to both individual opportunity and national competitiveness ... [it] is a globalizing actor ... through its publishing, assessment ... [and] English language teaching and administration and management products.”36

The global reach of McGraw-Hill Education stretches into 44 countries, with publications in 60 languages. In 2013, McGraw-Hill Education was sold “to investment funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, LLC.”37 In the same year, the company jumped on the technology bandwagon by offering an adaptive e-book called SmartBook as an adaptive e-book that was supposed to revolutionize college learning.38

Many global information and publishing corporations target developing countries such as Springer Science Business Media Corporation. Springer Publishing describes itself as:

an award-winning publisher of healthcare and behavioral sciences content, featuring books, apps, journals, and digital products. With an acute understanding of how educators teach, how practitioners work, and how students learn, our digital and print products are designed with optimal outcomes in mind: for the learner, the patient, and the client ... Our product portfolio includes the fields of nursing, public health, healthcare administration, social work, counseling, gerontology, psychology, and, under our Demos Medical imprint, the specialties of neurology, oncology, and physical medicine and rehabilitation.39

In summary, globally and in the United States education industries are part of a network of foundations and government policymakers forming the shadow education government. In the deep state, this shadow government is outside the direct control of citizens. In the education industry, policy decisions are, in most cases, based on profit. This is one thing driving the testing industry.

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