Story originally appeared at PolicyMic.com
The wait for Superman has finally ended. Later this afternoon, the Obama administration will unveil a "historic overhaul" of the nation's public school system, including an unprecedented plan to fire all public school teachers and replace them with unmanned drones.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will announce the landmark changes in a televised speech at 4:15 p.m. EST from the Harlem Children's Zone charter school in New York City. The Department of Education is calling the proposed changes a "signature initiative" that will "dramatically alter the course of education in this country for years to come."
Construction is set to begin later this month on three different teaching drone models -- some as tiny in size as insects -- at a cost of $5 billion to the American taxpayer. One drone prototype will reportedly spit out rapid-fire math and reading trivia to students to promote rote memorization of facts. Another variant will proctor tests and quizzes by hovering over the classroom and monitoring students for cheating. A third type will covertly follow children home after school and spy on them to ensure they are doing their homework.
Duncan will announce concrete goals to accompany the new teaching method, including: Raising education standards and performance, improving reading and math scores, and reducing the nation's achievement gap. His plan sets a two-year target to meet these goals, and will place at least one of each type of unmanned drone in every American school before July 2012.
The DOE has already commissioned Boeing to construct the nearly 450,000 drones to service U.S. K-12 public and charter schools. The drones will be operated by expert teachers hand-selected by Duncan at heavily-guarded, secret locations across the country. The DOE has begun accepting bids from private security contractors to defend and protect these compounds.
An employee for the DOE, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, praised the new plan for "once-and-for-all solving the problem of recalcitrant teachers' unions and mediocre teachers by eliminating them altogether." He noted, "A decade ago, this radical approach to education reform would have raised so many moral, legal, and economic flags, it never could have been approved. But, given the near-universal consensus in Washington that drones are the answer to our foreign policy challenges, we acted."
The initiative is still subject to Congressional approval, but DOE officials seemed confident it would be approved. One official noted, "We thought that Democrats, after years of opposing the Bush administration's expansion of covert warfare, would have worked to roll back CIA-led kill/capture raids and drone strikes. But, Dems have stood by as the Obama administration has dramatically expanded the use of drone strikes across the world, even in countries where the U.S. doesn't have a stated declaration of war. We think we can capitalize on this bipartisan commitment to targeted killing and bring the technology back home."
Another DOE official who also spoke anonymously remarked, "With Congress set to approve the military's request of over $5 billion dollars for the construction of new spy and kill machines despite the country's soaring debt and budget deficit, we believe this approach to reform may be the best way to generate the domestic spending we need on education."
The ACLU is reportedly preparing to file a class action suit on behalf of public school teachers, while Human Rights Watch plans to release a statement that condemns the plan for "replacing public servants with machines" and "taking the human element entirely out" of education.
But, the DOE remains undeterred, and the pilot program is generating buzz amongst other agencies in Washington. If successful, the Justice Department is considering introducing similar types of drones into the FBI force to assist in new efforts to spy on Americans domestically.
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