This is a bit ironic.
Ravitch included the following commentary:
“Blow the whistle. Call foul. Speak up. Now.”
Well, now I have to call foul on one of Diane’s posts.
Yesterday, Ravitch disclosed that she was one of the judges for the MacArthur Foundation’s “100&Change” grant competition.
“This is what real philanthropy looks like,” she said of the competition.
But it isn’t.
The MacArthur Foundation, which is up to its ears in next-gen education reform – promoting and investing in concepts like “personalized learning,” digital badging, and digital, behaviorist-based interventions – is among many foundations planting seeds to sprout the Social Impact Bond (SIB’s, also known as Pay for Success) market.
In a nutshell, SIB’s are a way for private investors to profit from public programs. They provide upfront capital to start a program, and if the program meets a set of agreed-upon success metrics, investors get repaid with interest.
It’s an “innovative financial model” still in its infancy, but foundations like MacArthur are busy laying the groundwork for it to take off.
MacArthur is a member and financier of the Global Impact Investing Network, which is building a massive catalogue of “performance metrics” that can be used to determine the risk of social investments.
It’s one of the major reasons that social institutions like public schools and public health programs are now being pillaged for data at every turn – and why everything we do must be “measurable.”
MacArthur is also a prime driver of the datafication and digitalization of public education, supporting – along with the Gates Foundation – organizations likes IMS Global and Mozilla, as they work to develop standardized, digital credentialing systems.
At least one of MacArthur’s 100&Change finalists is exactly the type of behaviorist-based intervention that allows for the quick and easy data collection that investors are looking for: a collaborative between Sesame Street Workshop and the U.K.’s “Behavioural Insights Team” (better known as the “Nudge Unit” ) that plans to bring “cost-effective strategies, including digital platforms” to help Syrian refugee children develop “social-emotional” skills.
And if that alone doesn’t cause you to raise an eyebrow, I don’t know what will.
Now, I won’t speculate on Diane’s motivation for linking up with MacArthur.
Maybe she will explain?
But, a foul is a foul, and I’m blowing the whistle.