Note: This article first appeared in the July edition of the Counter Markets newsletter.
In 1982, Special Advisor to the Department of Education’s Office of Research and Improvement, Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, blew the whistle on Project BEST (Better Education Skills through Technology). A sub-project of President Ronald Reagan’s Private Sector Initiative, Project BEST was a plan to corporatize the American education system through public-private partnerships with Big Tech companies which replace human teachers with Skinnerian “teaching machines” programmed with psychological conditioning algorithms that train students for workforce placement in a planned economy.
Now, almost fifty years later, the next phase of Project BEST is being rammed through under the duress of COVID-19 lockdown, which has forced the entire US education system to shut down brick-and-mortar classrooms with human teachers in order to convert to virtual schools that deliver online instruction through “adaptive learning” software (the modern digitalized version of the “Skinner box” teaching computers engineered for Project BEST) and “socio-emotional learning (SEL)” biofeedback wearables (devices that data-mine students’ “stimulus-response” biometrics to implement Skinnerian operant-conditioning).
While teachers and students are held virtual hostage during COVID lockdown, “Disaster Capitalists” are using the “Shock Doctrine” of “Creative Destruction” to exploit the crisis by deregulating the new federal rules for “Distance Learning and Innovation” (85 FR 18638), which relax the oversight requirements for “adaptive learning” systems of “artificial intelligence,” such as Knewton and Clever, which are both funded by Bilderberger Peter Thiel: the speech writer for former US Secretary of Education Bill Bennet, who was in charge of Project BEST. At the same time, emergency COVID funds are being dished out by the current Secretary of Ed, Betsy DeVos, as the Department of Ed is paying out federal CARES Act aid to finance school districts in their efforts to “upgrade” their “technology infrastructure” with adaptive-learning AI and SEL data-mining that can be facilitated through virtual charter-schooling corporations, such as K12 Inc., which was set up by Bennett and funded by DeVos.
Fueled by this windfall of CARES stimulus, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on May 5th his emergency COVID plans to “Build Back Better” through a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Bilderberger Eric Schmidt, who is “Technical Advisor” of Alphabet Inc., which is Google’s parent company. This partnership between the State of New York, the Technical Advisor of Google’s parent company, and the Gates Foundation is called “Reimagine Education”: the same subtitle that Secretary DeVos has given to a special CARES competition called “Reimagine Workforce Preparation.”