Capitalizing on the COVID Crisis: the Ford Governments Move to Privatize Public Education for EdTech

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Capitalizing on the COVID Crisis:
the Ford Government’s Move to Privatize Public Education for EdTech

Natalie Coulter

In The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein demonstrated how neoliberalism was not always advanced in society through democracy, but was instead pushed on society by powerful elites behind the public’s back in times of crisis. As Milton Friedman put it, “Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.”

Recently, Klein coined the term “disaster capitalism” to describe how corporations profit from crises with help from the right-wing governments that pick up and implement the... ideas that serve them. Often, governments will wait for a crisis, declare that the crisis necessitates extraordinary politics, suspend normal democratic processes, and then ram through a “corporate wish list” as quickly as possible.

From defunding social services to selling off of public green spaces, the Doug Ford Government has picked up and implemented many discredited neoliberal ideas that have been “lying around” Ontario for decades. And in the context of the COVID crisis, the Ford Government’s pro-business advisors and MPs have followed disaster capitalism’s four-step playbook to a tee when trying to privatize public education and erode the collective power of the province’s four main teachers’ unions.

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