Governments should use tax subsidies for private schools to bring them under government control and impose regulations mandating “equity” and other goals, according to a report commissioned by the controversial United Nations’ “education” agency known as UNESCO.
The document adds urgency to longtime concerns expressed by opponents of “vouchers” and other so-called “school choice” schemes. Critics have long warned that “free” government money will come with strings attached at some point — and will eventually eliminate genuine school choice.
Of course, it is easy to see the appeal of tax money. Frustrated by the escalating indoctrination of children in government schools, desperate families — along with countless conservative and libertarian voices — have latched on to the idea of having education tax money “follow the child.”
Republican-controlled states across the nation have adopted a wide array of such policies, and more are being passed on a regular basis. In many states, those tax-funded schools still retain a great deal of autonomy. But efforts to limit that are well underway under the guise of equity, stopping “discrimination,” and more.
The little-noticed report, released late last year and commissioned by UNESCO’s “Global Education Monitoring Report,” argues that there is a “need to establish appropriate governance and regulatory frameworks” over private schools funded by government. This is supposedly to ensure that UN-backed goals such as “equity” are achieved.
The alleged “need” to regulate private education providers is taken for granted. “Regulatory reforms must clearly define what public interest in education is and fix the rules under which private providers may participate,” states the report, dubbed “Regulating Public-Private Partnerships, governing non-state schools: An equity perspective.”
Even more alarming, the report starts with the outrageous premise that the government — not the parents — is primarily responsible for the education of children. Citing the UN’s so-called “Sustainable Development Goals,” described by UN bosses as the “master plan for humanity,” the report claims that “the State remains the duty bearer of education as a public good.”
From there, it proceeds to argue that any “collaboration” with the private sector on education “requires regulatory and accountability measures to ensure it is line with the principle of education as a public good.” Of course, education does not fit the traditional economic definition of a “public good” — think of a light house, for instance — because it is not non-rival and non-excludable.
Critics are sounding the alarm about the report and the sentiment behind it. “School choice isn’t just a money-making racket; it’s a trap to allow for government control of every educational option through regulations and accountability measures tied to public funding,” warned Lisa Logan in a recent article about the report commissioned by UNESCO.
“It will allow for the collection of all children’s social and emotional data to measure compliance for their future social credit system driven by ESGs,” she added. “Don’t fall for it.” Parents
Incredibly, parents are described variously in the report commissioned by UNESCO as “stakeholders” and even “vested interests” to be overcome by the government. Enter “Public-Private Partnerships,” often known as PPPs.
These PPPs represent a model in which profits can flow to private interests, as long as those interests do what the government wants. Critics have regularly derided the approach — widely supported among global elites at the World Economic Forum — as state socialism, corporatism, and fascism. Think Nazi Germany: Companies could remain in private hands, as long as they served the state.
According to the report, PPP schools are not “exempt from complying with centrally defined curricula, learning standards or student admissions criteria, among other public regulations,” the report says, ominously.
In fact, government testing requirements “play a strategic role in promoting that all publicly-funded schools, independently of their ownership, are correctly aligned with quality standards and also with the equity goals and objectives set by the government.”
In other words, “private” schools will become government schools once they take government money — regardless of “their ownership.”
The paper also cites the views of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). The controversial organization similarly argues in favor of using government money to impose “clear guidelines and goals” on private schools.
The UNESCO-commissioned report outlines a variety of policy options available to regulate non-government schools that nevertheless take public money. These include setting up standards for “authorization of providers” as well as “centralization and control of the school choice and admissions procedures.”
Perhaps even more alarming, under the banner of “autonomy, evaluation, and accountability,” the report proposes “integration of private subsidized schools into the monitoring and evaluation framework in place for the public sector.”
The report makes clear that private schools taking government money can (and will) be forced to submit to the same government “monitoring and evaluation” as traditional government schools. Eventually, the UN is hoping to bring all schools under government control, as it has made clear repeatedly.
Government money for private schools and home educators appears to be the cheese in the mousetrap. It looks free and delicious. But as soon as private schools and homeschoolers grab the money and become dependent, the trap will spring shut and the government will end up crushing genuine school choice.