"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pearson eCollege, Privatization Outfit Announce Partnership in K12 Education Expansion; A Preview of the For-Profit Future

Peppered with neoliberal, market-based logic and blatant doublespeak, the NonPublic Educational Services, Inc, is teaming up with Pearson's eCollege to "enter into new online markets," and achieve "greater, measurable success for NESI and its students." From the PRWeb [my bolds]:

Pearson eCollege and NonPublic Educational Services, Inc. (NESI) Partner to Increase K12 Online Education Opportunities

NonPublic Educational Services, Inc. to Use Pearson eCollege to Enter New Online Markets

Denver (PRWEB) July 22, 2009 -- Pearson eCollege and NonPublic Educational Services, Inc. (NESI) have announced a multi-year partnership to increase online K12 education opportunities for a wide range of high school students, including students from military families. NESI will use Pearson eCollege's integrated education technology environment to offer high school students a complete online learning solution, leading to greater, measurable success for NESI and its students.

Pearson eCollege is the leading global provider of online education technology, content solutions and support services at hundreds of successful blended and fully online academic programs and institutions. NESI, which operates education and training programs and services for K12 students and members of the US military, selected Pearson eCollege because the company offers more than just a learning management system--Pearson eCollege combines on-demand cloud computing capabilities with Pearson's world-class content, digital media and academic services.

Partnering with Pearson eCollege will enable NESI to enter new online markets serving more students with capabilities unmatched by any other provider. These new opportunities include an international, dual-degree program that allows high school students outside the US to earn both a local in-country degree and an online degree from Richard Milburn High School (RMHS), a subsidiary of NESI. For the past five years, RMHS has operated a summer credit recovery program for the Department of Defense Education Authority (DODEA) serving high school-age dependents of US serviceman living abroad. RMHS offers a 12-month credit recovery program and a full academic year program for US high school students. NESI and RMHS are also developing other online programs to serve evolving student needs for flexible online education options.

"We needed a partner who was willing to work directly with NESI, creatively and collaboratively, to create online learning solutions for our students. Pearson eCollege is a breath of fresh air," said Rochelle Schneickert, Division Vice President at NESI. "They were the only provider willing to support our concept for best-in-breed online education delivery. With Pearson eCollege, we now have a learning environment partner that provides the most reliable learning network available, student information service (SIS) integration, support services we know we can trust, and a vast choice of curriculum."

"Both Pearson eCollege and NESI continually invest in services that enhance student achievement," said Matt Leavy, CEO of Pearson eCollege. "Our partnership with NESI will offer greater access to education opportunities via our connected learning environment, helping more students to compete in today's competitive, technology-driven marketplace."

"We researched several online platforms before deciding that Pearson eCollege was the smart choice," said Greg Shield, director of the Milburn High School Online programs at NESI. "NESI chose a proven industry leader with a comprehensive solution that included the technology we needed. The Pearson eCollege cloud-computing model reduced the overall risk of delivering courses online."

About Pearson eCollege
Pearson eCollege enables educators to achieve measurable success for academic programs through on-demand solutions that advance and improve the teaching and learning experience for learners in multiple types of educational institutions and programs. Pearson eCollege provides integrated technology and services, content solutions and multi-level user support that help students reach their academic goals. Pearson (LSE: PSON, NYSE: PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, reaches and engages today's digital natives with effective and personalized learning, as well as dedicated professional development for their teachers. Pearson is dedicated to helping people of all ages to learn at their own pace, in their own way. In addition to Education, Pearson's primary operations include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, visit www.ecollege.com orwww.pearson.com.

The for-profit privatization outfit - pardon me, "NonPublic Educational Services, Inc." - does include a few nonprofit charter schools, but majority of their work if mighty lucrative: NCLB tutoring, military training, and for-profit schools. I'll let the privatizers to explain their current financial stake in education. Right from their website (it's from the Military section, but describes the entire organization's financial statement; my bold):

Corporate Experience

RMHS Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of NESI, was founded in 1975 to provide educational and management services in nonpublic and nontraditional settings across the nation. In 2006, RMHS and NESI employed more than 1,000 personnel and achieved total consolidated revenue over $30,000,000. The company is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with corporate headquarters in Woodbridge, Virginia and Salem, Massachusetts Currently, NESI and RMHS are managing instructional support programs in 30 locations within 12 states, and internationally in Korea.

Looking at their map of operations, you'll notice their K12 experience is right in states where NCLB has ripped open the moneybags for privatization outfits (although I suppose you could say NCLB opened up additional funding for privatization in every state). Thirty million per year - and they know the Obama/Duncan plan includes even more potential payouts as the DOE searches for operators of the 5000 new schools Duncan hopes to see turned over.
It should not be a surprise to see for-profit enterprises teaming up with the US Military to provide educational services and training. In fact, many of the neoliberal and neoconservative reformers would love many of the aspects of the Department of Defense's educational arm, the DODEA: high level of discipline, strict academic standards and curricula across all schools, and the "all kids can learn" positivism (note: the majority of their students live on military bases and have full medical and dental care, food, housing, and other essentials either provided for free or for low cost - which is certainly not the case for the rest of America). An Education Sector intern recently gushed about the DODEA's K-12 education system without the slightest consideration bit of irony.
But this isn't about education; it's all about profits, expanding markets, creating good little worker bees, and the assault on all things public. We have former corporate CEO's investing in online MBA programs, textbooks ignoring global warming even in one of the nation's most progressive cities, and former charter school proponents jumping to the online schooling gig where they can find even higher salaries as they schlock online software and data programs. "All children can learn!" is the simplified drumbeat that permits the denial of vast social injustices of poverty, inadequate healthcare, environmental toxins, and the oppressive nature of American society as currently constructed - all in the name of profits or small government. Such is the logic behind the new wave of hyper-efficiency, technology-driven reforms, and standardization preached by the various school reformers. Pearson and the NonPublic Educational Services, Inc. couldn't be much happier.

1 comment:

  1. What I noticed was a lack of details when it came to how well they educate kids.