While teachers and parents are fighting cuts and closures of schools in the beleaguered country of Puerto Rico, education corporations are picking at the bones. Last month, a group of private equity companies demanded that Puerto Rico cut it's education budget in order to repay its 'debts' to them. Dozens of schools have been closed and, as we reported earlier this week, communities are fighting back.
Now it appears that it is not only private equity companies which are impoverishing education in the country. In a court case reported this week, it appears that the US company Rocket Learning has defrauded the Puerto Rican education budget of almost $1 million. Like the similarly named Rocket Ship academies in the US, Rocket Learning is big on educating through technology. According to its website: 'Rocket Learning reaches beyond conventional tutoring in order to take on one of our nation’s greatest challenges: preparing students to be successful in the 21st century knowledge economy.'
This is just the most recent and blatant example of private corporations accessing the trillions of dollars globally which constitute the education 'market'. It is particularly egregious in Puerto Rico, whose education budget is already desperately underfunded despite its being nominally a US territory. It is of a piece with the kind of profiteering being done by Pearson in countries in the global South, with their expanding chains of 'low-fee' private schools.