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Betsy DeVos Watch: At the G20 Summit, DeVos shares her Neoliberal Education vision while Argentinians hold a massive strike

September 12, 2018

In late July, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos traveled to Argentina to participate in the G20 Summit forum on education.

The G20 meets annually and is made up of the the countries with the 20 largest economies. These gatherings are designed primarily for heads of state from those countries and the leading global financial institutions to figure out how to continue expand neoliberal economic policies that will benefit these 20 countries at the expense of the rest of the world.

These gatherings are always met with significant opposition and this year’s summit was no different. There were major demonstrations with a massive strike organized by labor unions in Argentina, as you can see in the video below.

This is the context for the education forum at the G20 Summit, which included Betsy DeVos and her counterparts from other other countries. A major focus of the education forum was to discuss the link between education and work

This link was also part of Betsy DeVos’ brief message delivered at the summit, where she said: 

This gathering provides an important opportunity to learn from each other, acknowledging the vital link between education and the economy. Here, we can discuss our respective challenges, and, importantly, discuss ways to improve education for all students on their lifelong learning journeys as they prepare for today’s and tomorrow’s careers.

Indeed, education and the economy are indivisible, especially given the interconnectedness of the world today. In the United States, we are focused on expanding pathways to success. We recognize that a dynamic and changing economy requires dynamic and changing approaches to education.

We must first acknowledge that every student is an individual. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that works for every student – and there is no such thing as an “average” student. Each of them come to learn with different experiences, different needs, different learning styles and different dreams. Their education must be equally customized and individualized.

DeVos makes it clear that her vision and that of the US administration is to focus on: 1) what those within the neoliberal education model identify as talent creation, where education is a means to create future workers; and 2) that the best way to create future workers is to change the education system that is more focused on job skills, especially outside of the current public school structure.

In the end, what Betsy DeVos and the other G20 participants were doing was to further a world agenda that the people in Argentina were protesting outside the summit. Betsy DeVos is not only dangerous to the future of education in the US, but the future of education globally.

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