A Look at Some of the Driving Forces behind the School Reform Movement and the Effort to Privatize Public Education

SchoolClassroomSubmitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

In recent years, we have heard and read a lot about the failure of public schools in the United States. “Our schools are failing” has almost become a mantra with members of the media, many of our politicians, and the advocates of school reform. I have seen few people who have questioned the assertions made by the media, elected officials, and school reformers that schools in this country are not adequately educating our youth and that our educational system is a total and abject failure.

Many of those who criticize our public education system offer charter schools and the privatization of public schools as solutions to the “education problem” in this country.

I’m a retired public school educator. I have known and am friends with many current and former public school teachers. I know that there are many fine classroom practitioners working in our public schools today…and many excellent schools where our children receive a quality education. I am aware that there are also many schools where children may not be receiving the highest quality education. (What often go unmentioned in the media are the real reasons—including poverty—why some schools in this country may be failing.)

One problem with the “our schools are failing” mantra—as I see it—is that  all our schools are lumped together in one basket labeled “failing.” How did this come to be? Do we Americans really believe that NO public schools in this country provide their students with an adequate education? Do we believe that all schools need to be reformed? If not, do we believe that even the schools which are actually doing an estimable job of educating their students need to be reformed?

I think it is time we start taking a good look at the individuals and organizations that are behind the push to establish thousands of charter schools and to use taxpayer money to fund private and religious schools as the means of raising the quality of education in this country.

ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council)

Last May, education historian Diane Ravitch wrote the following about one group that has been driving the school reform movement:

Since the 2010 elections, when Republicans took control of many states, there has been an explosion of legislation advancing privatization of public schools and stripping teachers of job protections and collective bargaining rights. Even some Democratic governors, seeing the strong rightward drift of our politics, have jumped on the right-wing bandwagon, seeking to remove any protection for academic freedom from public school teachers.

This outburst of anti-public school, anti-teacher legislation is no accident. It is the work of a shadowy group called the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. Founded in 1973, ALEC is an organization of nearly 2,000 conservative state legislators. Its hallmark is promotion of privatization and corporate interests in every sphere, not only education, but healthcare, the environment, the economy, voting laws, public safety, etc. It drafts model legislation that conservative legislators take back to their states and introduce as their own “reform” ideas. ALEC is the guiding force behind state-level efforts to privatize public education and to turn teachers into at-will employees who may be fired for any reason. The ALEC agenda is today the “reform” agenda for education.

Ravitch continued:

A recent article in the Newark Star-Ledger showed how closely New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s “reform” legislation is modeled on ALEC’s work in education. Wherever you see states expanding vouchers, charters, and other forms of privatization, wherever you see states lowering standards for entry into the teaching profession, wherever you see states opening up new opportunities for profit-making entities, wherever you see the expansion of for-profit online charter schools, you are likely to find legislation that echoes the ALEC model.

ALEC has been leading the privatization movement for nearly 40 years, but the only thing new is the attention it is getting, and the fact that many of its ideas are now being enacted. Just last week, the Michigan House of Representatives expanded the number of cyber charters that may operate in the state, even though the academic results for such online schools are dismal.

ALEC Exposed provides a wealth of information about how—through ALEC—“corporations, ideologues, and their politician allies voted to spend public tax dollars to subsidize private K-12 education and attack professional teachers and teachers’ unions…” (You can find the information in Privatizing Public Education, Higher Ed Policy, and Teachers–the ALEC report prepared by The Center for American Democracy.)

Michelle Rhee and StudentsFirst

In addition to ALEC, there is another organization called StudentsFirst that has been helping to spearhead the effort to “reform” our public schools. According to Stephanie Simon, Michelle Rhee, founder and CEO of StudentsFirst, has “emerged as the leader of an unlikely coalition of politicians, philanthropists, financiers and entrepreneurs who believe the nation’s $500 billion-a-year public education system needs a massive overhaul.” Simon added that Rhee, the former chancellor of the D.C. public schools, “has vowed to raise $1 billion” for StudentsFirst, and “forever break the hold of teachers unions on education policy.”

Simon continued:

StudentsFirst has its own political action committee (PAC), its own SuperPAC, and a staff of 75, including a cadre of seasoned lobbyists Rhee sends from state to state as political battles heat up. She has flooded the airwaves with TV and radio ads in a half dozen states weighing new policies on charter schools, teacher assessment and other hot-button issues.

To her supporters, Rhee is a once-in-a-generation leader who has the smarts and the star power to make a difference on one of the nation’s most intractable public policy issues.

But critics say Rhee risks destroying the very public schools she aims to save by forging alliances with political conservatives, evangelical groups and business interests that favor turning a large chunk of public education over to the private sector. She won’t disclose her donors, but public records indicate that they include billionaire financiers and wealthy foundations.

In January the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign published its review of Rhee’s StudentsFirst State Policy Report Card for 2013:

Here’s an excerpt from the summary of the campaign’s review:

On Monday, the pro-privatization education group StudentsFirst, led by former D.C. public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, released a State Policy Report Card, ranking states and giving each a letter grade based on their implementation of a slew of education reform policies. Rather than focus on issues facing students and families, particularly those affected by unequal access to school resources, the policy benchmarks in the new report reveal StudentsFirst’s obsession with charter schools and de-professionalizing the teaching profession. The report pushes policies that are either untested or disproven — but happen to be welcome in the halls of right-wing think tanks and politicians.

The National Opportunity to Learn Campaign listed five reasons why the StudentsFrirst Report Card is “a veritable wish list for privatization advocates and a recipe for failure for everyone else”:

1.      Ironically, It Ignores The Needs of Students

2.      It Opposes Personalized and Student-Centered Learning

3.       It Argues That We Don’t Have Enough Quality Teachers… While Advocating That We Lower the Bar for Teacher Preparation

4.       It Continues the Disastrous High-Stakes Testing Drumbeat

5.      It Advocates “Equal Funding” and “Equitable Access” for Charter Corporations and Private Schools, Not Students

The DeVos Family

In May of 2011, Rachel Tabachnick wrote an article for AlterNet about the DeVos family, a wealthy family that has “remained largely under the radar, while leading a stealth assault on America’s schools” that has the “potential to do away with public education as we know it.”

Quoting Tabachnick:

Vouchers have always been a staple of the right-wing agenda. Like previous efforts, this most recent push for vouchers is led by a network of conservative think tanks, PACs, Religious Right groups and wealthy conservative donors. But “school choice,” as they euphemistically paint vouchers, is merely a means to an end. Their ultimate goal is the total elimination of our public education system.

The decades-long campaign to end public education is propelled by the super-wealthy, right-wing DeVos family. Betsy Prince DeVos is the sister of Erik Prince, founder of the notorious private military contractor Blackwater USA (now Xe), and wife of Dick DeVos, son of the co-founder of Amway, the multi-tiered home products business.

According to Tabachnick, the Devoses, who are big contributors to the Republican Party, spent millions of dollars “promoting the failed voucher initiative in Michigan in 2000.”  Following that defeat, Tabachnick claims that the family decided to alter its strategy.

Tabachnick:

Instead of taking the issue directly to voters, they would support bills for vouchers in state legislatures. In 2002 Dick DeVos gave a speech on school choice at the Heritage Foundation. After an introduction by former Reagan Secretary of Education William Bennett, DeVos described a system of “rewards and consequences” to pressure state politicians to support vouchers. “That has got to be the battle. It will not be as visible,” stated DeVos. He described how his wife Betsy was putting these ideas into practice in their home state of Michigan and claimed this effort has reduced the number of anti-school choice Republicans from six to two. The millions raised from the wealthy pro-privatization contributors would be used to finance campaigns of voucher supporters and purchase ads attacking opposing candidates.

Dick DeVos advocates “stealth” strategy, Heritage Foundation, December 3, 2002

Last April, Daniel Denvir wrote an article for City Paper about the push for a school voucher program in the state of Pennsylvania. He said that names on the fliers of “legislative hopefuls” sounded like the names of “homegrown” candidates. He said that a “different picture” emerged when one followed the money:

that of a statewide campaign, funded by wealthy donors, to stack the Pennsylvania primary battles on April 24 in favor of those supporting school vouchers, which allocate taxpayer funds for private and religious school tuition. The pro-voucher political action committee (PAC) Students First — funded by Pennsylvania hedge-fund managers and American Federation for Children, a Washington, D.C., pro-voucher group headed by Amway heiress and major right-wing donor Betsy DeVos — emerged on the state’s political scene with a bang for the 2010 elections. And they are back to spend big in 2012.

Lawrence Feinberg, co-chairman of the anti-voucher Keystone State Education Coalition, said, “I see a move by essentially a handful of very wealthy people who want to privatize public education for a wide variety of reasons. Not the least of which has to do with crushing labor unions, but they also want tax dollars going to private and religious schools.”

School Reform and The Profit Motive

In his Salon article The Bait and Switch of School “Reform,” David Sirota writes about the profit motive behind some of the reforms being advocated by “Big Money” interests.

Sirota:

As the Texas Observer  recently reported in its exposé of one school-focused mega-corporation, “in the past two decades, an education-reform movement has swept the country, pushing for more standardized testing and accountability and for more alternatives to the traditional classroom — most of it supplied by private companies.”

A straightforward example of how this part of the profit-making scheme works arose just a few months ago in New York City. There, Rupert Murdoch dumped $1 million into a corporate “reform” movement pushing to both implement more standardized testing and divert money for education fundamentals (hiring teachers, buying textbooks, maintaining school buildings, etc.) into testing-assessment technology. At the same time, Murdoch was buying an educational technology company called Wireless Generation, which had just signed a lucrative contract with New York City’s school system (a sweetheart deal inked by New York City school official Joel Klein, who immediately went to work for Murdoch.

Such shenanigans are increasingly commonplace throughout America, resulting in a revenue jackpot for testing companies and high tech firms, even though many of their products have not objectively improved student achievement.

At the same time, major banks are reaping a windfall from “reformers’” successful efforts to take public money out of public schools and put it into privately administered charter schools. As the New York Daily News recently reported:

“Wealthy investors and major banks have been making windfall profits by using a little-known federal tax break to finance new charter-school construction. The program, the New Markets Tax Credit, is so lucrative that a lender who uses it can almost double his money in seven years…

“The credit can even be piggybacked on other tax breaks for historic preservation or job creation. By combining the various credits with the interest from the loan itself, a lender can almost double his investment over the seven-year period.

“No wonder JPMorgan Chase announced this week it was creating a new $325 million pool to invest in charter schools and take advantage of the New Markets Tax Credit.”

SOURCES

Ravitch: A primer on the group driving school reform (Washington Post)

Activist targeting schools, backed by big bucks (Reuters)

5 Ways Michelle Rhee’s Report Puts Students Last (National Opportunity to Learn Campaign)

The DeVos Family: Meet the Super-Wealthy Right-Wingers Working With the Religious Right to Kill Public Education (AlterNet)

Right-Wing Campaign to Privatize Public Ed Takes Hold in Pennsylvania (AlterNet)

Big corporate money in support of school vouchers hits primary races statewide. Will it tip the scales in Philly? (City Paper)

The bait and switch of school “reform” (Salon)

The Deep Pockets Behind Education Reform (Forbes)

Privatizing Public Education, Higher Ed Policy, and Teachers (The Center for American Democracy)

433 thoughts on “A Look at Some of the Driving Forces behind the School Reform Movement and the Effort to Privatize Public Education”

  1. This article appears in the January 28, 2005 issue of
    Executive Intelligence Review.

    Cato Institute: Anti-Capitalist Clique
    Leads the Attack on Social Security
    by Richard Freeman

    “Since its founding in 1977 by Ed Crane, currently its President, and Charles G. Koch, the heir of an oil and energy fortune who is a leading figure of the Mont Pelerin Society, Cato has methodically built up a far-flung network to propagandize for, and enact privatization. Some of that network is hidden, just out of public view; some is public, but the average observer would not know it belonged to Cato—which designed it that way.”
    (read all):
    http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2005/site_packages/ss_privatization/3204dracula_cato.html
    ===========================
    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/02/21-6
    Published on Thursday, February 21, 2013 by Common Dreams
    Investigation Finds High-Class, Crisis-Peddling ‘Astroturf Supergroup’ Behind ‘Fix the Debt’ Campaign

  2. Trickle down freedom: Supply side Power
    =============================================
    http://www.commondreams.org/views01/1213-05.htm
    Published on Thursday, December 13, 2001 in the San Jose Mercury News
    Lynne Cheney-Joe Lieberman Group Puts Out a Blacklist
    by Roberto J. Gonzalez

    AN aggressive attack on freedom has been launched upon America’s college campuses. Its perpetrators seek the elimination of ideas and activities that place Sept. 11 in historical context, or critique the so-called war on terrorism.

    The offensive, spearheaded by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a Washington-based group, threatens free speech, democratic debate and the integrity of higher education.

    “…The American Council of Trustees and Alumni was founded in 1995 by Lynne Cheney, the vice president’s wife, and Sen. Joseph Lieberman. Its Website claims that it contributed $3.4 billion to colleges and universities last year, making it “the largest private source of support for higher education.” Cheney is cited several times in the report, and is reportedly a close associate of its authors, Jerry Martin and Anne Neal.

    Although the council’s stated objectives include the protection of academic freedom, the report resembles a blacklist. In a chilling use of doublespeak, it affirms the right of professors to speak out, yet condemns those who have attempted to give context to Sept. 11, encourage critical thinking, or share knowledge about other cultures. Faculty are accused of being “short on patriotism” for attempting to give students the analytical tools they need to become informed citizens.

    Many of those blacklisted are top scholars in their fields, and it appears that the report represents a kind of academic terrorism designed to strike fear into other academics by making examples of respected professors.

    The report might also function to extend control over sites of democratic debate — our universities — where freedom of expression is not only permitted but encouraged. ”

  3. Author and historian Gray Brechin reports on the organized selling off of the University Libraries and the export of brains. According toBrechin, this plan is to make the UC a privatized corporation for billionaire regents and the corporations.
    Brechin outlines the history of UC and how the now rapid push for profits through privatization threatensa great public university built over generations by the people in California.

  4. Professor George Wright from Skyline Community College who is also a member of AFT 1493 puts historical context into the present privatization and destruction of public education. He also looks at how capitalism in the post war period has driven the present crisis. George Wright is also on the Steering Committed of United Public Workers For Action which hosted the conference. It was held on January 22, 2012 at Laney College in Oakland.

    A more complete document is at
    http://www.upwa.info/documents/GREENHUT-Wright.pdf

  5. Privatization & The War Against California Teachers-Fired CTC Attorney Carroll Speak

    “Teacher Bashing Has To Stop”
    CTC Fired Lawyer Carroll on Conflicts Of Interests & Lobbyists
    Whistleblower and Fired Commission On Teacher Credentials lawyerKathleen Carroll on 1/22/2012 made a presentation on Conflicts Of Interest, Lobbyists & Privatization Of California Public Education.
    For further video on Kathleen Carroll go to:

  6. http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org/
    We are many. There is power in our numbers. Together, we will save our schools.
    THE NETWORK FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION
    “Our public schools are at risk. As public awareness grows about the unfair attacks on public education, parents, teachers, and concerned citizens are organizing to protect our public schools.

    Public education is an essential institution in a democratic society. We believe that we must stand together to resist any efforts to privatize it.

    We must also stand together to oppose unsound policies that undermine the quality of education, like high-stakes testing and school closings.

    High-stakes testing takes the joy out of learning. It crushes creativity and critical thinking, the very qualities our society needs most for success in the 21st century. High-stakes testing does not tell us whether and how well students are learning or teachers are teaching; it does waste precious time and resources.

    Bruce E. Woych 1, March 11, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org/network-membership/

  7. http://www.privatizationwatch.org/2013/03/
    Advocacy Group to Monitor Reform Efforts in Public Schools. Diane Ravitch, the historian and former assistant education secretary who has become an outspoken critic of those who favor high-stakes testing, tenure reforms and other controversial measures aimed at the public schools, has joined with other education advocates to form a group that will grade and endorse political candidates. . . With wealthy individuals like Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg as well as groups like Students First (the organization created by Michelle A. Rhee, the former schools chancellor in Washington) donating large sums to individual campaigns and ballot measures in support of test-based teacher evaluations and charter schools, Ms. Ravitch said that her group would help foment a grass-roots movement to oppose them. New York Times…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/education/diane-ravitch-joins-group-to-monitor-public-schools.html?ref=us
    Advocacy Group to Monitor Reform Efforts in Public Schools
    By MOTOKO RICH
    Published: March 8, 2013
    Diane Ravitch, the historian and former assistant education secretary who has become an outspoken critic of those who favor high-stakes testing, tenure reforms and other controversial measures aimed at the public schools, has joined with other education advocates to form a group that will grade and endorse political candidates.

    The group will be called the Network for Public Education and is co-founded by Anthony Cody, a former teacher and now a blogger on education issues. It will try to bring together parents, teachers and other local interest groups from across the country through social networking.

  8. http://epsl.asu.edu/ceru/Documents/cace-00-01.htm

    Colonizing Our Future: The Commercial Transformation Of America’s Schools*

    John Dewey Memorial Lecture
    Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Conference
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    By
    Alex Molnar
    Center for the Analysis of Commercialism in Education
    School of Education
    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    PO Box 413
    Milwaukee WI 53201
    414-229-2716
    March 2000
    http://epsl.asu.edu/ceru/Documents/cace-00-01.htm
    Widely comprehensive and historically in depth:
    (One excerpt pertaining to contemporary education):
    “The Growth of Schoolhouse Commercialism in the Nineties

    For the past two years (1998 and 1999) I have conducted an annual analysis of advertising trends in the schools by tracking the number of citations relating to each of seven areas of schoolhouse commercialism. In doing my analyses I conducted searches of four media databases, the popular press, the business press, the marketing press, through Lexis-Nexis, and the education press, through Education Index. Press citations were used to attempt to understand the scope and the development of marketing activities directed at schools because primary data are largely unavailable. Firms engaged in school-based commercial activities may, at different times, have an interest in making exaggerated claims about the number of children reached (in order to attract clients);remaining silent (to shield market research and product introduction information from competitors); or minimizing the size of their efforts (to lessen the possibility of a negative public reaction). In addition, the varied and particular purposes for which organizations gather data on school-focused commercializing activities results in information that is fragmentary and often not comparable, and, therefore, not reliable as a basis for identifying over all trends.

    The seven areas of schoolhouse commercialism I have identified are:

    1) Sponsorship of Programs and Activities. Corporations paying for or subsidizing school events and/or one-time activities in return for the right to associate their name with the events and activities. This may also include school contests. The number of citations related to sponsorship of programs and activities increased250% between 1990 and 1998-99.

    2) Exclusive Agreements. Agreements between schools and corporations that give corporations the exclusive right to sell and promote their goods and/or services in the school or school district. In return the district or school receives a percentage of the profits derived from the arrangement. Exclusive agreements may also entail granting a corporation the right to be the sole supplier of a product or service and thus associate its products with activities such as high school basketball programs. The number of citations related to exclusive agreements increased 1,668% between 1990 and 1998-99.

    3) Incentive Programs. Corporate programs that provide money, goods, or services to a school or school district when its students, parents, or staff engage in a specified activity, such as collecting particular product labels or cash register receipts from particular stores. The number of citations related to incentive programs increased 83% between 1990 and 1998-99.

    4) Appropriation of Space. The allocation of school space such as scoreboards, rooftops,bulletin boards, walls, and textbooks on which corporations may place corporate logos and/or advertising messages. The number of citations related to appropriation of space increased 270% between 1990 and 1998-99.

    5) Sponsored Educational Materials. Materials supplied by corporations and/or trade associations that claim to have an instructional content. The number of citations related to sponsored educational materials increased 963% between1990 and 1998-99.

    6) Electronic Marketing. The provision of electronic programming and/or equipment in return for the right to advertise to students and/or their families and community members in school or when they contact the school or district. The number of citations related to electronic marketing increased 106% between 1990and 1998-99.

    7) Privatization.Management of schools or school programs by private for-profit corporations or other non-public entities. The number of citations related to privatization increased 2,000% between 1990 and 1998-99.

    Overall, between1990 and 1999 the number of press citations related to schoolhouse commercialism increased 303 percent. Between 1997-98 and 1998-99 the increase was 11 percent. Graphs 1 and 2 and Figure 1 illustrate the overall trends in schoolhouse commercialism in the nineties and the relative size of each area of commercialism tracked.”

  9. (well first attempt was a total blunder…) Here is a limited effort, since i do not know how to get (as Gene H. calls it…) to get under the hood to fix this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/education/philadelphia-officials-vote-to-close-23-schools.html?ref=us&_r=0

    Philadelphia Officials Vote to Close 23 Schools

    By JON HURDLE
    Published: March 7, 2013
    PHILADELPHIA — Officials on Thursday night approved closing 23 public schools, about 10 percent of the city’s total, largely backing a plan by the school district to erase a huge budget deficit and reduce the number of underused schools.

    The decision was made after the police arrested 19 protesters, including Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, charging them with disorderly conduct. The protesters blocked doorways into a meeting room in an attempt to prevent members of the School Reform

  10. Elaine: Thanks to Gene H. advising me that I ” have quite a few posts in stuck in the moderation filter.” (as a result of…)
    “The default setting for maximum links in posts (a way to control spam) on WordPress is two. That is what this blog is set at as well. I tell you this because almost no one ever goes into the moderation queue to clear it so it is effectively limbo.”
    By way of explanation, I am assuming that any (yellow tagged) moderation notice on my posts (that do show up on my end) are actually not posted for outside viewers. Since I am no computer wiz on navigating, I am going back and repost those tagged items within the two link fire wall set point barrier for entry.
    In the event they are duplicated, I apologize but they are all good links to resources and consolidating them (at this late term) on the comment stream may provide an odd service to interested readers. With that prelude, please excuse a longer set of posting that follow.

  11. Bruce,

    You certainly have helped by seeking out and providing us with more information on the subject. There is so much more to the story of corporate attempt to privatize public schools…to make a bundle of money off of public education.

  12. http://www.alternet.org/economy/wall-sts-next-profit-scheme-buying-every-piece-your-home-town?paging=off

    Michael Hudson’s blog / By Michael Hudson
    101 COMMENTS
    Wall St.’s Next Profit Scheme — Buying Up Every Piece of Your Home Town
    Across America, schools, roads, and water systems are for sale to the highest Wall Street bidder.
    September 27, 2012

    (excerpt)
    “By depicting local employees as public enemy #1, the urban crisis is helping put the class war back in business. The financial sector argues that paying pensions (or even a living wage) absorbs tax revenue that otherwise can be used to pay bondholders. Scranton, Pennsylvania has reduced public-sector wages to the legal minimum “temporarily,” while other cities are seeking to break pension plans and deferred-wage contracts – and going to the Wall Street casino and play losing games in a desperate attempt to cover their unfunded pension liabilities. These recently were estimated to total $3 trillion, plus another $1 trillion in unfunded health care benefits.

    Although it is Wall Street that engineered the bubble economy whose bursting has triggered the urban fiscal crisis, its lobbyists and their Junk Economic theories are not being held accountable. Rather than blaming the tax cutters who gave bankers and real estate moguls a windfall, it is teachers and other public employees who are being told to give back their deferred wages, which is what pensions are. No such clawbacks are in store for financial predators.

    Instead, foreclosure time has arrived to provide a new grab bag as cities are forced to do what New York City did to avert bankruptcy in 1974: turn over management to Wall Street nominees”

    http://www.alternet.org/economy/wall-sts-next-profit-scheme-buying-every-piece-your-home-town?paging=off

  13. Elaine: You may well have accomplished the best single resource for history, information and critical education that is consolidated in and under one article: my congratulations and gratitude!
    ====================================
    of interest:
    Glen Ford: Corporate Assault on Public Education
    Published on May 9, 2012

    In the space of less than 20 years, the public school privatization movement has emerged from the narrow, right wing fringes to dominate both major political parties. From vouchers to school choice to charter schools, the issue has divided even Black Americans, who were once public education’s most fervent supporters. Glen Ford explains how this came about by wealthy individuals buying black politicians and promoting their careers, particularly Corey Booker.

  14. http://www.privatizationwatch.org/
    March 12, 2013
    News
    CA: News Corp Spends Big on LA School Board Race, Sets Sights on Public Education “Market”
    A subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp – parent company of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal – has spent a whopping $250,000 on the Los Angeles school board race, just as the corporation focuses on making money off of public education. News Corp and its for-profit education subsidiaries are also members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the education initiatives promoted by News Corp’s preferred candidates track the ALEC agenda. PRWatch

    http://www.prwatch.org/news/2013/03/12014/tabloids-tablets-news-corp-spends-big-la-school-board-race-sets-sights-public-edu

    News
    From Tabloids to Tablets: News Corp Spends Big on LA School Board Race, Sets Sights on Public Education “Market”
    by Brendan Fischer — March 11, 2013 – 8:23am
    Projects: ALEC Exposed
    (excerpt)
    “A subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp — parent company of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal — has spent a whopping $250,000 on the Los Angeles school board race, just as the corporation focuses on making money off of public education. News Corp and its for-profit education subsidiaries are also members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the education initiatives promoted by News Corp’s preferred candidates track the ALEC agenda.

    Murdoch has called the for-profit K-12 education industry “a $500 billion sector in the US alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed” — and his News Corp is investing big to capture that market. In 2010, News Corp acquired Wireless Generation, a for-profit online education, software, and testing corporation, for $360 million. Its latest venture is a digital K-12 curricula to be sold and taught on a specialized “Amplify Tablet” that runs on the Android platform.”

  15. Bruce E. Woych,

    I just happened to be under the blog’s hood just now (correcting a typo on one of my posts) when I noticed you have quite a few posts in stuck in the moderation filter. The default setting for maximum links in posts (a way to control spam) on WordPress is two. That is what this blog is set at as well. I tell you this because almost no one ever goes into the moderation queue to clear it so it is effectively limbo. You post good links. Be a shame to loose some.

    1. Gene H. : Thank you so much ! I thought it was something with my own computer, and had no idea it was part of the fire wall system of the site.

      I am wondering now if any (or how much) went through on review? There was quite a lot of critical research material posted yesterday for anyone that wants to follow on the more extensive side of this growing crisis. Much of what is happening in education is also happening generally to medical health delivery systems being distressed and turned over to privatizing for profit extension networks or directly from non-profit to for profit interests. The same tactics are used, and the same values are obscured by appeals to financial debt overload (taxes raise reactionary support: profit ratios are called cost cutting / containment and service is based upon a cost/medical ratio (where revenue is measured by how much capital is “wasted” on actual medical costs) and tables are skewed with cost shifting tactics that obscure the upstream / downstream demand on those revenue sources and resources.

      Overall, these are relatively patterned but small town America is also being sold out to the highest bidder and “charter” governments are popping up that are run by committees (appointed) that are not even elected by the people but make major policy decisions. (Take a look at this article:
      Paul Buchheit: Five Poisons of Privatization
      http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/03/11).

      I was hoping that the material I posted yesterday would get to the hands of concerned Educators that are serious activists but do not realize that they are not alone.

      Once again I thank you for the message, I am in your debt.
      Bruce

  16. http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org/network-membership/

    Become a Member / THERE IS POWER IN OUR NUMBERS

    The Network for Public Education is an advocacy group whose goal is to fight to protect, preserve and strengthen our public school system, an essential institution in a democratic society. Our mission is to protect, preserve, promote, and strengthen public schools and the education of current and future generations of students.

    http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org/network-membership/

  17. http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org/
    We are many. There is power in our numbers. Together, we will save our schools.
    THE NETWORK FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION
    “Our public schools are at risk. As public awareness grows about the unfair attacks on public education, parents, teachers, and concerned citizens are organizing to protect our public schools.

    Public education is an essential institution in a democratic society. We believe that we must stand together to resist any efforts to privatize it.

    We must also stand together to oppose unsound policies that undermine the quality of education, like high-stakes testing and school closings.

    High-stakes testing takes the joy out of learning. It crushes creativity and critical thinking, the very qualities our society needs most for success in the 21st century. High-stakes testing does not tell us whether and how well students are learning or teachers are teaching; it does waste precious time and resources.

    No school was ever improved by closing it. Every community should have good public schools, and we believe that public officials have a solemn responsibility to improve public schools, not close or privatize them.
    Read more…
    http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org/2013/03/announcing-the-launch-of-the-network-for-public-education-2/

  18. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/education/philadelphia-officials-vote-to-close-23-schools.html?ref=us&_r=0

    Philadelphia Officials Vote to Close 23 Schools

    By JON HURDLE
    Published: March 7, 2013
    PHILADELPHIA — Officials on Thursday night approved closing 23 public schools, about 10 percent of the city’s total, largely backing a plan by the school district to erase a huge budget deficit and reduce the number of underused schools.

    The decision was made after the police arrested 19 protesters, including Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, charging them with disorderly conduct. The protesters blocked doorways into a meeting room in an attempt to prevent members of the School Reform Commission from entering.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/education/philadelphia-officials-vote-to-close-23-schools.html?ref=us&_r=0

  19. http://www.privatizationwatch.org/
    Under the model, a consortium of private companies would agree to build, renovate and operate city-owned schools for a given period in exchange for a set monthly fee that would be paid with city and state dollars. The school system would be the first in the nation to use this method to renovate and rebuild school buildings. The Journal News

    Yonkers report: Public-private schools partnership ‘doable’
    Mar 8, 2013
    Written by
    Gary Stern
    and Colin Gustafson

    http://www.lohud.com/article/20130308/NEWS/303080067/Yonkers-report-Public-private-schools-partnership-doable-?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|News&nclick_check=1

    “YONKERS — School officials have received a long-awaited report that they say supports a possible private-public partnership to rebuild the city’s aging and crumbling schools.

    Now they have started to share the report with city and state officials whose support they would need to move forward.

    “We now have a pretty clear idea that this is doable,” said Joseph Bracchitta, the school system’s chief administrative officer. “We have to out and get support.”

    The school district has spent several years researching the use of private-public partnerships around the world, seeing no other way to address more than $1.5 billion in renovations needed at its 40 schools.

    Under the model, a consortium of private companies would agree to build, renovate and operate city-owned schools for a given period in exchange for a set monthly fee that would be paid with city and state dollars. The school system would be the first in the nation to use this method to renovate and rebuild school buildings.

    Last year, the district chose three firms with private-public experience to study whether this route could be affordable and practical for Yonkers.

    Bracchitta would release only limited details before all city and state officials are briefed but said that the report concludes that a private-public partnership — known as a P3 — would work and looks at a first phase that would focus on six schools.”

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