From 2013: Gove’s Connections to Murdoch’s Online Education Business

Commend him for announcing the Savile investigation

Michael Gove, former Murdoch journalist and supporter of Murdoch’s plans to expand into British education. And privatise it.

This is from Private Eye for 1st – 14th November 2014.

More on the close relationship between education secretary Michael Gove, former Times journalist, and the US online education business owned by his old boss, Rupert Murdoch.

Gove responded to the recent one-day strike by British teachers by going to Boston on one of his frequent fact-finding trips to learn from US schools policy. The highpoint was the keynote speech he gave to the annual conference of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a “reform” charity founded by Jeb Bush, brother of former US president George “Dubya”. The event was funded by Rupert Murdoch’s online education firm, Amplify, a regular supporter of Bush events.

Amplify wants to replace trained teachers with online material supplied by Murdoch’s News Corp; but its computer systems have already failed in some schools. Nevertheless it is still well connected – not least to gove. Before the hacking scandal broke, Murdoch and his staff, including Amplify boss Joel Klein, had regular meetings with the education secretary to discuss setting up News International schools in the UK.

Shortly before Gove spoke in Boston this month, Bush’s foundation was accused of being “a dating service for corporations selling education products to school chiefs”. American liberal group Progress Now challenged its tax-free status, arguing that the foundation was breaking tax rules by paying for school administrators to have private “VIP” meetings with its for-profit sponsors. The foundation described these meetings as “scholarships” for education official so they did not have to be disclosed on tax forms.

The Foundation also receives funds from Financial Times publisher Pearson, which has a lucrative sideline running tests and exams for schools. Other sponsors of the conference at which Gove spoke included “K-12”, a US company that replaces state schools with “virtual” schools, where pupils don’t see teachers but sit at a computer either at home or in a lab. How long before Gove proposes cyber schools in the UK?

Gove is thus partly pushing the privatisation of the British school system for the profit of his old employer, Rupert Murdoch. Once again Murdoch is seen standing behind and influencing government policy. As for Virtual schools, I can remember that my old university was experimenting with the idea of recording some lectures and making them available over the Net in a form of Virtual distance learning following experiments with the idea in some Spanish universities. I have a feeling the idea has had to be abandoned simply because it doesn’t work. Not that this seems to have got through to Gove and the Americans, like K-12. Proper, qualified teachers cannot be replaced, and Gove attempt to replace and downgrade them will lead to a disastrous decline in educational standards. But as private firms stand to profit, and the kids affected are only working and lower middle class, he certainly won’t be worried.

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4 Responses to “From 2013: Gove’s Connections to Murdoch’s Online Education Business”

  1. Mike Sivier Says:

    Reblogged this on Vox Political.

  2. jaypot2012 Says:

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal.

  3. sdbast Says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  4. stewilko Says:

    Reblogged this on stewilko's Blog.

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