Corporate-fascist workforce training for the Hegelian state: The real meaning of Bruce Rauner’s cradle-to-career education

Last year, the union-busting governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, took his corporatist agenda to a new level as he pushed to rewrite the mission statement of the University of Wisconsin system by erasing the phrases “search for truth” and “improve the human condition” and overwriting them with a new objective for the college: to “meet the state’s workforce needs.” Just south of the Wisconsin border, Governor Bruce Rauner is touting a similar “cradle-to-career” overhaul of education policy in Illinois, which will deemphasize traditional academic studies while prioritizing corporate workforce training through privatized charter school curriculums.

Consistently, the Illinois governor has explicitly equated his cradle-to-career education reform with a policy of workforce development:

  • Rauner’s 2014 inaugural address: “From cradle to career, . . . [f]rom early childhood and K through 12 schools, to vocational and technical training, to community colleges and higher ed., we need to invest adequately in every neighborhood. . . . A high-quality education is essential for higher lifetime earnings, a competitive, world-class workforce and strong economic growth.”
  • Rauner’s 2015 State of the State Address: “From cradle to career, . . . we must also invest in technical and vocational training. . . . Let’s end the era of cutting funding for technical training and community colleges.”
  • Rauner’s 2016 State of the State Address: “The key to rising family incomes, more high paying jobs, and a better life for everyone in Illinois, is to have a high quality, fully-integrated education system from cradle to career . . . all the way to coordinated job training and technical training later in life.”

Workforce training programs might sound like a practical way to stimulate the budgetless economy of Illinois, which has the lowest credit rating of all fifty states. However, the “cradle-to-career” euphemism is a code word for fascistic public-private partnerships that repurpose public educational institutions into “conveyor belts” that manufacture students into literal human resources who are socially engineered for the sole purpose of supplying the labor demands of private corporations.

The “cradle-to-career” buzz-phrase is relatively new on the education scene. Nevertheless, the fascistic public-private infrastructure of cradle-to-career networks is rooted in the proto-Nazi philosophies of Hegel, which were imported to the United States education system by the infamous Yale secret society, Skull and Bones (Sutton 34–35, 56–57, 63–111). Likewise, the cradle-to-career pedagogy of reducing education to job-specific workforce training for a planned economy in a Corporate State can also be traced back to Hegel and the Prussianization of the American education system.

Corporate fascism and the Hegelian state

In my article titled “The Corporatization of Education: The Gates Foundation, Arne Duncan, and Bruce Rauner,” I explicate how Governor Bruce Rauner is leveraging the Hegelian-dialectical stratagem of artificial conflict management to manipulate Illinois’ manufactured economic crisis into a controlled demolition that implodes public education into a corporate-fascist charter school system that syphons tax dollars to bankroll privatized education companies.

According to former Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement for the US Department of Education Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, the fascistic public financing of privatized charter schools, such as Illinois’ Noble Network, was greenlighted when President Ronald Reagan authorized the “White House Private Sector Initiative which called for the corporate fascist merging of the public and private sector in order to initiate the planned economic Soviet workforce training initiative.”

The genesis of corporate fascism can be traced back to the rise of Nazism. Yet the Nazi origins of corporate fascism actually stem from the German philosopher, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, whose “Idealist” conception of “the State” influenced two eminent American educational theorists who were promoted by Skull and Bones: John Dewey and G. Stanley Hall (Sutton 83, 85–87, 101–105).

In the groundbreaking America’s Secret Establishment: An Introduction to the Order of Skull & Bones, by former Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution Antony C. Sutton, it is documented how the hijacking of American education by Skull and Bones is a culmination of the proto-Nazism of Hegel. Sutton writes, “[t]he right[wing] Hegelians, [sic] were the roots of Prussian militarism . . . and the rise of Hitler” (63), while Hegelianism was propagated by Skull and Bones through The Order’s academic liaisons in the US: Dewey and Hall (Sutton 83, 85–87, 101–105).

Like German National Socialism, or Nazism, the Hegelian ideology of Skull and Bones believes that “the State is absolute. The State requires complete obedience from the individual citizen . . . only to perform a role in the operation of the State” (Sutton 34). In a fascist Corporate State, like the United States, elite corporations are essentially the absolute; the State is effectively a conglomerate of private corporations, rather than a federation of public institutions. As such, obedience to the State under corporate fascism means subordinating the individual citizen’s talent to only perform a corporate workforce position in the operation of a planned economy, which is the focus of Governor Rauner’s cradle-to-career education initiatives.

Cradle-to-career Hegelianism in two case studies

To illustrate the Hegelian philosophy that is the cornerstone of Rauner’s cradle-to-career workforce training, the following two cradle-to-career enterprises are provided for analysis:

  • The National Center for Community Schools (NCCS) of the Children’s Aide Society, which has collaborated with Rauner’s charter school crony, former US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
  • The Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), the nonprofit education corporation that launched the quintessential prototype for the cradle-to-career model of public-private workforce schooling.

The NCCS: A recent cradle-to-career partnership between the NCCS and JPMorgan Chase exemplifies the Hegelian pedagogy of reducing students to cogs in the Corporate State’s political-economic machine. The NCCS announced that JPMorgan Chase donated a $1,000,000 grant to support a “cradle-through-career collective impact initiative” that will “improve education, workforce and economic outcomes for South Bronx children and families” by “creating cradle-to-career pathways” for “workforce readiness and economic development.” Notice the near-verbatim parallels between these goals of this NCCS grant and the objectives of Rauner’s cradle-to-career policy statements.

The NCCS boasts the fact that its public-private network of “community schools” partnerships “can be traced back to social reformers such as [Hegelian] John Dewey.” According to Sutton, the Skull-and-Bones puppet John Dewey “can be recognized as the pre-eminent factor in the collectivisation [sic], or Hegelianization, of American Schools” (102). Compare the Hegelian parallels between cradle-to-career workforce pedagogy and the following excerpt from Dewey’s Lectures for the First Course in Pedagogy: “[e]ducation consists either in the ability to use one’s power in a social direction or else in ability to share in the experience of others and thus widen the individual conscienceness [sic] to that of the race” (qtd. in Sutton 103). If we delete “the race” and substitute it with “the economy,” then this quote from Dewey will fit seamlessly into any contemporary cradle-to-career mission statement. For Dewey, the individual learning experience is subordinate to the collective “race”; for cradle-to-career champions, like Rauner and the NCCS, the individual learning experience is subordinate to the planned economy; and for Hegel, the individual is subordinate to “the State.”

The HCZ: Consider the Deweyan-Hegelian deindividuation that underpins the methodology of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), which “popularized the idea of a ‘cradle to career’ pipeline,” according to PBS NewsHour. The HCZ, which was founded by NCCS collaborator, Geoffrey Canada, is based on a “conveyor belt” system that emphasizes job skills training for students who matriculate through an integrated public-private network of charter schools, community organizations, and social services.

In an HCZ whitepaper, under a sub-section with the Hegelian-dialectical title, “Poverty in America: Turning a Crisis into an Opportunity,” the Harlem Children’s Zone states, “America today also faces an unparalleled challenge to its economic strength and stability. To meet this challenge, the U.S. needs to build a workforce in which all of its members can contribute the full measure of their talents and skills.” Advocating for “public/private partnerships” as cost-effective innovations to educational management, the whitepaper investigates the question: “Are investments in the education and training of today’s children creating a workforce that will allow society to compete effectively in tomorrow’s global economy?”

The HCZ, which sets the mold for cradle-to-career methodology, clearly conflates education with workforce development in this whitepaper by examining a cost-benefit analysis of the moneys invested in education versus workforce outcomes and other economic returns on those investments. In other words, the HCZ’s cradle-to-career methodology aligns with the collectivist philosophies of Hegel and Dewey by subordinating individual learning outcomes to workforce outcomes for the national economy. Moreover, the adoption of the HCZ model of workforce schooling by Rauner and the NCCS demonstrates that the HCZ pilot has set the Hegelian standard for cradle-to-career workforce pedagogy.

The corporatization of Prussian kindergarten:

Although the HCZ’s brand of cradle-to-career schooling is a relatively new trend in education, its pedagogy of deindividuation and its bent towards corporate-fascism is nothing novel to the American school system, which is rooted in Hegel’s philosophical predecessor, the proto-Nazi Johann Gottlieb Fichte, who was connected with the Bavarian Illuminati (Sutton 34). [1] According to the American Political Science Review, “[n]ext to Hegel and Nietzsche, Fichte is the German philosopher most frequently blamed as one of the principle inspirers of the National Socialist [Nazi] ideologies of state despotism” (460), and it was Fichte who conceptualized Prussia’s national-socialistic education system.

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, Fichte wrote his Addresses to the German Nation, in which he states, “[b]y means of the new education we want to mould the Germans into a corporate body, which shall be stimulated and animated in all its individual members by the same interest” (15). [2] In his “Second Address: The General Nature of the New Education,” Fichte professes, “[t]he new education must consist essentially in this, that it completely destroys freedom of will in the soil which it undertakes to cultivate, and produces on the contrary strict necessity in the decisions of the will, the opposite being impossible. Such a will can henceforth be relied on with confidence and certainty” (20). In the twenty-first century, the new cradle-to-career education system embodies Fichte’s philosophy by conditioning each student’s “freedom of will” to conform to the collective workforce needs of the planned economy in the Corporate States of America.

Fichte’s pedagogy became the basis for Prussian military schooling, which was transplanted to the United States education system at the behest of prominent educational theorists such as Horace Mann (Gatto 145), who was a Skull and Bones liaison with Bonesman Alphonso Taft at Antioch College (Sutton 83). In “Against School,” the renowned New York State Teacher of the Year, John Taylor Gatto, records the Prussian kindergarten history behind modern American education: “what shocks is that we should so eagerly have adopted one of the very worst aspects of Prussian culture: an educational system deliberately designed to produce mediocre intellects, to hamstring the inner life, to deny students appreciable leadership skills, and to ensure docile and incomplete citizens—all in order to render the populace ‘manageable’” (145).

In the 1918 book, Principles of Secondary Education, Harvard’s first Professor of Secondary Education, Alexander Inglis, sets forth a pedagogy that is clearly an adaptation of the Fichtean-Prussian method of education. Gatto paraphrases Inglis’s “six basic functions” of education, three of which are the basis of the contemporary cradle-to-career methodology:

“3. The diagnostic and directive function. School is meant to determine each student’s proper social role. . . . 4. The differentiating function. Once their social role has been ‘diagnosed,’ children are to be sorted by role and trained only so far as their destination in the social machine merits—and not one step further. . . . 6. The propaedeutic function. The social system implied by these rules will require an elite group of caretakers. To that end, a small fraction of the kids will quietly be taught how to manage this continuing project, how to watch over and control a population deliberately dumbed down and declawed in order that government might proceed unchallenged and corporations might never want for obedient labor” (146–147).

Applying these three “basic functions,” the Neo-Prussian cradle-to-career system of workforce schooling utilizes learning outcomes data to diagnose and differentiate which students are best conditioned for which job-specific “career pathways” curriculums, and which students will be promoted to the elite class of “managers.”

Indeed, Gatto points out how Prussian education was adapted to suit the purposes of corporate education for the Corporate State: “[m]en like [J. P. Morgan partner] George Peabody, who funded the cause of mandatory schooling throughout the South, surely understood that the Prussian system was useful in creating not only a harmless electorate and a servile labor force but also a virtual herd of mindless consumers. In time a great number of industrial titans came to recognize the enormous profits to be had by cultivating and tending just such a herd via public education, among them Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller” (147).

The Gates Foundation from cradle-to-career

Today, the Neo-Robber Baron Gates Foundation has taken much of the education spotlight from the corporate philanthropies of the Carnegie Institute and the Rockefeller Foundation.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is one of the biggest charter school philanthropies in the United States, donated at least $600,000 in grants to the cradle-to-career poster child, the Harlem Children’s Zone. In addition, the Gates Foundation has financed several other cradle-to-career programs, including a $305,000 grant to “the Road Map Project’s cradle-to-career education work in South King County, WA”; a $1,000,000 grant to “provide technical assistance to Promise Neighborhoods [3] implementation and planning grantees, and issue-based technical assistance for key areas of the cradle-to-career pipeline of expanded learning”; and a $100,000 grant to the Portland Schools Foundation (PSF) as a supplement to “a $100,000 investment by JPMorgan Chase for its [PSF’s] expanding work around the Cradle to Career (C2C) partnership.”

The Gates Foundation even paved the way for C2C takeover in Illinois by funding the charter privatization of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system under the management of CPS CEO Arne Duncan, who went on to push charter school reform on a national scale as the US secretary of education. In my article, “The Corporatization of Education,” I document the collusion between Duncan and the Gates Foundation.

Following in the footsteps of the Duncan-Gates coalition, Governor Rauner has been carrying the C2C privatization torch as he fanned the flames of his workforce training agenda during a visit to Harper College. The Daily Herald reports that the Republican governor “called Harper College a model for what Illinois’ community colleges need more of: partnerships with employers and training for technical jobs.” In praising Harper College’s public-private partnerships, Rauner stated, “[w]e should think more strategically and holistically . . . Education includes vocational training, occupational training, technical training. It’s all part of education. We should think strategically cradle to career.”

P-20 legalization of corporate-Hegelian workforce schooling

To stimulate the expansion of more cradle-to-career networks like Harper College’s public-private partnerships, Governor Rauner has proclaimed in his 2016 State of the State Address that he aims to “[c]onsolidate the majority of our councils and task forces under the P20 and Early Learning Councils.”

What is the Illinois P-20 Council?

In 2009, the Illinois P-20 Council was voted into law by the state legislature. The Illinois P-20 Council website states, “[t]he ‘P’ in our name represents Preschool and ‘20’ stands for grade 20, education after college.”

Although the P-20 mission statement does not explicitly incorporate the cradle-to-career brand name, notice the near-synonymous parallels between the lifecycle span of “cradle to career” and the lifecycle span of “preschool to grade 20.” These rhetorical similarities between the C2C and P-20 labels are more than mere semantics. In fact, the P-20 law is written extensively with keywords borrowed directly from the cradle-to-career workforce development lexicon.

Illinois State Statute 105 ILCS 5/22–45 establishes “an Illinois P-20 Council [that] will develop a . . . pre-kindergarten through grade 20 agenda [that] will strengthen this State’s economic competitiveness by producing a highly-skilled workforce.” The council will be appointed to “[i]mprove the rigor and relevance of academic standards for college and workforce readiness[;] . . . [t]o advise the Governor, the General Assembly, the State’s education and higher education agencies, and the State’s workforce and economic development boards and agencies on policies related to lifelong learning for Illinois students and families[;] . . . [t]o articulate a framework for systemic educational improvement and innovation that will enable every student to meet or exceed Illinois learning standards and be well-prepared to succeed in the workforce and community.” The state statute also authorizes that “[t]he chairperson of the Illinois P-20 Council may authorize the creation of working groups focusing on areas of interest to Illinois educational and workforce development, including without limitation the following areas: . . . (7) The assessment, alignment, outreach, and network of college and workforce readiness efforts.”

Note the linguistic overlaps between the letter of the law in these statutory clauses and the cradle-to-career rhetoric of the Harlem Children’s Zone, the Gates Foundation, and the National Center for Community Schools quoted throughout this article. It is important to stress here the significance of C2C language drafted into the P-20 statute. In essence, 105 ILCS 5/22–45 incorporates the slogans of the HCZ corporation and codifies them into workforce development mandates in the Illinois civil code, thus blurring the lines between public policy and corporate bylaws while incentivizing the proliferation of fascistic public-private mergers.

Cradle-to-Career 2.0

Now, after an entire year of operation without a state budget in Illinois, Rauner has just vetoed a $3.9 billion education and human services spending bill.

Judging from this executive decision, it appears that Rauner is manipulating Hegelian crisis control to actuate one of his “ten long-term goals” professed in his 2016 State of the State Address: “10. . . . better align our health and human services with our cradle to career education initiatives, in order to provide higher quality, fully integrated services for our young people.” By stonewalling on the budget impasse, Rauner can essentially bankrupt both public education and public health and human services so that they will effectively be forced to integrate into P-20 and other privatized cradle-to-career partnerships to gain access to private funds in place of missing tax dollars.

The timing is perfect. Rauner vetoed the education and human services bill just a few months after he bypassed the legislative process and went over the heads of the Illinois State Congress to issue Executive Order 2016–03, adding another element of fascist authoritarianism to the recipe. This Executive Order Establishing the Governor’s Cabinet on Children and Youth implements “a cohesive strategy among our education and health and human services agencies in producing education outcomes that will improve the quality of education and well-being for the children of Illinois.” [4]

It seems highly unlikely that the coordination of this executive order and Rauner’s veto could be a mere coincidence, especially considering that the State of Illinois’ government website declares that “[t]he Children’s Cabinet will work closely with the P20 Council, Early Learning Council, Human Services Commission and others to ensure that the recommendations of private partners and stakeholders are communicated to agency directors and to the Governor.” As Rauner holds the State of Illinois financially hostage, public education and social services will be financially broken into privatized integration with P-20 partnerships under the auspices of 105 ILCS 5/22–45 and Executive Order 2016–03.

At the federal level, Republican Rauner’s cradle-to-career policies are even being mirrored by Democrat President Barack Obama to complete the left-wing-right-wing Hegelian dialectic. The Illinois Review reports, “[b]oth Governor Bruce Rauner and President Barack Obama are focused on revamping the state’s early childhood education program into one that ranges from ‘cradle to career.’ . . . The President has made providing a complete and competitive education for all Americans—from cradle to career—a top priority, a White House press release confirms.” At the same time, cradle-to-career workforce training is being instituted through a series of “P-20” education projects across the nation, including the Wisconsin P20 Data Sharing and Analysis project, the P-20 Council of Connecticut, the Minnesota P-20 Education Partnership, the Delaware P-20 Council, and the P-20 Leadership Council of Maryland.

How far will this nationwide trajectory take us down the rabbit hole to cradle-to-career fascism? Taken to the logical extreme, the progressive merger of public education and the corporate economy is on course to streamline the “career pathways” “conveyor belts” so seamlessly into corporation-specific job training that students will one day cease to matriculate through academic departments to earn diplomas and degrees. In time, students will no longer earn degrees in scientific fields such as computer software engineering; rather, students will earn technical certificates in Windows engineering directly from the Microsoft Corporation.

Is this what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they drafted the Constitution “to form a more perfect union”?

Footnotes:

[1] Sutton documents that “Fichte, who developed these ideas before Hegel, was a freemason, almost certainly Illuminati, and certainly was promoted by the Illuminati. For example, Johann Wolfgang Goethe (Abaris in the Illuminati code) pushed Fichte for an appointment at Jena University” (34).

[2] Compare the Hegelian parallels between this quote from Fichte and the following quote from Dewey: “[e]ducation being a social process, the school is simply that form of community life in which all those agencies are concentrated that will be most effective in bringing the child to share in the inherited resources of the race, and to use his own powers for social ends” (qtd. in Sutton 102).

[3] According to the US Department of Education, the Promise Neighborhoods program is designed for “[b]uilding a complete continuum of cradle-to-career solutions of both educational programs and family and community supports, with great schools at the center.”

[4] Under Clause IV. Composition and Function” of Executive Order 2016–03, it decrees that “[t]he Children’s Cabinet shall consist of: a. The Governor, who will serve as Chairman of the Children’s Cabinet; b. Lieutenant Governor; c. The Deputy Governor; d. The Director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget; e. The State Secretary of Education; f. The Superintendent of the State Board of Education; g. The Director of the Department of Children and Family Services; h. The Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity[;] i. The Director of the Department of Employment Security[;] j. The Director of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services; k. The Secretary of the Department of Human Services;1. The Director of the Department of Juvenile Justice; m. The Director of the Department of Public Health; n. The Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development; o. The Director of the Guardianship and Advocacy Commission; p. The Executive Director of the Board of Higher Education; q. The Executive Director of the Community College Board; r. The Executive Director of the Student Assistance Commission; and s. The President of the Illinois Math and Science Academy.”

References:

Fichte, Johann Gottlieb. Addresses to the German Nation. Trans. R. F. Jones and G. H. Turnbull. Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company, 1922. Print.

Gatto, John Taylor. “Against School.” Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. 9th ed. Eds. Gary Colombo, Robert Cullen, Bonnie Lisle. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. Print.

Sutton, Antony C. America’s Secret Establishment: An Introduction to the Order of Skull and Bones. Updated Reprint. Walterville, OR: Trine Day, 2002. Print.

John Klyczek has an MA in English and is a college English instructor, concentrating on the history of global eugenics and Aldous Huxley’s dystopic novel, Brave New World. He is a contributor to the Dissident Voice, News With Views, and Natural News. He is also the Director of Writing and Editing at Black Freighter Productions (BFP) Books.

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