The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has barred a US professor from entering its borders because he has spoken out against abuses of labour in the country, which is notorious for its use of migrant bonded labour.

Last week Dubai, part of the UAE, hosted the Global Skills and Education Forum, which was attended by elites from all over the world such as Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and various heads of government, including monarchs, as well as a roll call of private companies and foundations, which are furthering for-profit education globally such as the Varkey Foundation and Geoffrey Canada of the US Harlem Children's zone. 

The forum also hosted the Global Teacher Prize, which is sponsored by among others, the Varkey Foundation and Price Waterhouse Cooper global consultancy corporation. The prize was won by Nancie Atwell, a US educator who has spoken out frequently against the encroachment of corporate reform in US education and for a more enlightened pedagogy. The problem with this is that by awarding her the prize, the event has now achieved currency with many groups who are fighting education reform such as the Badass Teachers group in the US.

This is one of the most cunning and difficult to fight tactics of the corporate reform movement - to co-opt the ideas of those of us fighting their project and thus attempt to disempower them. World Bank documents are littered with exhortations to critical thinking - empty of content but none the less there. OECD documents now advocate constructivist pedagogy, while promoting the ultimate teach to the test incentive - PISA. This is to say nothing of the social justice rhetoric of most of these international institutions not to mention of companies like Pearson.

The true colours of the corporate reform movement are shown by its choice of venue - a country with such an appalling record on its treatment of labour and immigrants that it is afraid to allow into the country an academic and teacher who tells truth to power.