Pre-k profit: readyNation hosts global business leaders in New York City this November

by Alison McDowell

Alison McDowell is a parent of a public school student and a member of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools. Her blog, Wrench in the Gears, seeks to shine a light on the dark corners of education reform.  In her May 28th blog, Alison takes a deeper look into ReadyNation’s Global Business Summit on Early Childhood happening this Fall. The conference specifically excludes children’s advocates and policy experts in early childhood education. 

Business executives, government officials, and representatives of non-profits and NGOs from across the globe will gather in New York City this fall to discuss the business of early childhood. These are not people looking to open childcare franchises. No, that is not their “business.” The intent is more sinister, transforming our youngest learners into points of profit extraction under the guise of social justice and equity. Through technology and forms of “innovative finance” they aim to catalyze a speculative market in toddler data, using the lives of young, vulnerable learners as vehicles to move vast sums of social impact venture capital.

ReadyNation, a program of the Council for a Strong America, is hosting the summit, set to take place at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on November 1-2, 2018. Council for a Strong America, a bipartisan coalition of leaders from the law enforcement, military, business, religion, and athletics spheres, has placed influencers guiding early childhood education policy in every state. Their intent is to promote public-private partnerships that will generate investment returns for global finance while shaping children into a compliant citizenry conditioned to accept economic precariousness and digital surveillance while doing the bidding of the power elite.

The rise of pay for success, social impact bonds, development impact bonds, and outcomes-based contracting will usher in privatization of vast new areas of public services, including education and training at all levels from infants through human resource management (lifelong learning, reskilling). This is not merely a phenomenon of the United States; this summit is intended for a global audience, a neocolonial project driven by late-stage capitalism.

Remember the 2007 housing market crash? The fraud Goldman Sachs perpetrated, misleading investors to purchase financial instruments tied to sub-prime mortgage bonds? The $16.65 billion penalty Bank of America had to pay, the largest settlement between the government and a private corporation? Seeing financiers from both companies on stage at a 2014 ReadyNation event promoting early childhood social impact finance should give us pause. Watch the hour-long talk here. The excerpt below is taken from a two-minute clip where the moderator, Ian Galloway, introduces a panel on potential financing structures. Watch that here.
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“Christina Shapiro is a vice president at Goldman Sachs. You know, I’ve heard a lot that if you’ve seen one social impact bond, other people may have heard it, too. If you’ve seen one social impact bond, you’ve seen one social impact bond, right? That is true with one exception, and that is that just about every social impact bond out there has Goldman Sach’s fingerprints all over it. They are by far the leaders in the space. They are creating this marketplace out of thin air, and I commend Christina and her colleagues for their hard work on that front.”
Ian Galloway, Senior Research Associate, San Francisco Federal Reserve
To dig the hole deeper, the Council for a Strong America has accepted over $10 million from the Gates Foundation since 2006, including a $4.2 million grant in October 2015 to “engage stakeholders around the Common Core and high quality preschool.” Last summer in the run up to the fall 2018 elections, Gates granted the organization $300,000 to “educate potential future governors about the importance of college and career readiness in their state.”

ReadyNation’s speakers range from the World Bank, UNICEF, Omidyar Network, and the Girl Scouts to KPMG, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, Learn Capital, and Sorenson Media (founded by Jim Sorenson, Utah tech entrepreneur and impact investor). A previous summit launched early-childhood campaigns in Romania, Australia, and Uganda in 2015. ReadyNation Romania and The Front Project (formerly ReadyNation Australia) will be participating.

What do summit attendees get for their $200 registration fee? ReadyNation touts the event as “the only training ground in the world for business people from outside the children’s sector to become unexpected and uniquely influential advocates for public and private investments in early childhood…Summit attendees from the U.S. must be business people or public officials; those from outside the U.S. can come from other sectors.” Children’s advocates and policy experts in early childhood education are specifically excluded from the conference unless they attend with at least four business people. In order to attend, one must to submit an online request.

Why is ReadyNation so emphatic about excluding early childhood educators and policy advocates? Find out in Part 2: Making Childhood Pay: Arthur Rollick, Steven Rothschild and ReadyNation.

Find this blog posted on Wrench in the Gears here, along with charts, illustrations, and additional information.

Comments 0

  1. In all fairness, our government has been coming up with a lot of projects that will benefit its people, most especially the children. Children are indeed our future that’s why we need to invest to them. If the government has been coming up with numerous projects for its people, who are we not to support these projects? As long as we can, we need to support them!

  2. SMART (Science & Mathematics Academy For Real Talents), instituted in 2004, has already made considerable contributation to the Academic growth and achievements of numerous students, through its various courses for Students from Stds.VI-XII over the years and recently for students from Stds.I-V through the after School hour classroom programs & integrated School Tie-up programs.
    Hundreds of SMART students, have entered prestigious Universities like IITs, IISc, BITs, NITs etc. and recently even to Medical Institutions like AIIMS, MMC, etc. infact, students of SMART have further moved on to even the Top Universities of the world like MIT, Stanford, Harvard, UC, Berkeley, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, John Hopkins, NUS, NTU etc.
    Though SMART will continue and constantly upgrade itself in Academics and other aspects, the situation now is considerably different from what it was even five years back especially because of the steady increase in the national level competition among students preparing for Engineering and Medical Entrance Exams. Also more time, attention and efforts are required to harness the full potential of the talented students while imparting knowledge & skills in the diversified fields of Academics and training in Advanced Syllabus, moulding them to attain a greater competence to excel in Olympaids & Competitive Exams. Furthermore, the requirements of the 21st Century learning are different. More importantly, special focus is required to enable the students to be future innovators as well, In addition, the substantial gap that exists between the Primary Education of Formal School and the academic requirements of a talented student needs to be addressed.
    The above scenario inspired me to conceptualize an Institution of excellence paving the way to the birth of Smart Minds Academy(SMA), an Alternate school Nurturing Gifted & Talented Children for achieving Holistic Academic Excellence. It has been designed to provide a world class education,creating an environment for the future innovators, leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals. SMA will strive to do the best for the students community, with a commitment to make the students excel in their academic life and be responsible citizens, giving the parents a sense of pride.