"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Schools As Public Institutions Is Just So Old School

The move to privatize public education is in full swing and there are many out there stepping on the gas. We have  covered the issue of making money off the public sector through the charter system many times in this blog. It unfortunately does enjoy bi-partisan support so we get little attention from our legislators when we balk at things like charter schools and parent triggers. Such tools appear to embrace free market solutions which satisfies those who believe the free market can fix anything. It ignores the fact that the education market will never be free because the government has a vested interest in controlling how future voters are educated. Such tools appeal to the conservative right because they appear to put the parent back in the equation for raising children and that is a position parents have not held for a couple decades now. But these tools offer false choices and bring people, who do not have education in the forefront of their thinking, into the system that provides education.

An interview on CNBC's Street Signs demonstrates, with painful clarity, that the focus of charter schools has little to do with children and education, and everything to do with making a profit.

It is eerie to hear the interviewee brush off the failure of some charters as a mere nuisance that fortunately doesn't really impact their bottom line because of the way they have structured their investment. The word to investors is, "Come on in. The water's fine."

To make sure that these investments function as good "businesses" the Eli Broad Foundation is working to put entrepreneurs into top administrative positions within the school districts and government to make sure that the business education reform measures are carried out well. Like a TFA for administrators, Broad's new Leadership Academy draws participants from outside the field of education and reduces “the experience level required for entering [the] training program.” According to the Washington Post, the Academy’s revised program of study "will aim to prepare leaders for positions beyond the superintendency of districts to include leaders of charter management organizations and state education departments."  Got that?  They are actively working to put people who have little education background or even interest into state education departments that will deliver your child's education.

But hey, as long as these business whiz kids do a great job, who cares that they aren't totally focused on education? Well, ask the parents of Prince George's County Maryland Public Schools who have enjoyed Broad leadership for the last several years.

The Broad Academy acolytes that have honored us with their presence barely stay in their positions for three years, getting out when they realize their Broad ways aren't going to work. PGCPS is a mixture of urban and suburban areas. When "Dr" John Deasy's illegitimate doctorate came to light, he left. Now Dr. Hite is leaving for Philly where he won't have to listen to parents. He told parents in PGCPS that he didn't have the time to visit every school. He ran into a concrete wall when he tried to close suburban schools in Bowie and bus all the kids to a massive, 900 student elementary factory school (Fairwood , which is not going to be built). Their deputy Bonita Potter Coleman is leaving for Mississippi to be close to home. 
And we see the failure of Broads in Philly (Ackerman) Rochester (Brizzarre) and Seattle (Monica Goodman?). 15 years of failure from Eli.
Prince George's County Public Schools has had several Broad disciples, all who have used PGCPS as resume padding. "Dr" John Deasy left for the Gates Foundation when his questionable doctorate came to light and spends his time running LAUSD and telling lies to Rick Hess. Dr. Hite, who claimed he wanted to turn gray while at PGCPS yet told parents he didn't have time to step from his chauffeured driven Denali to visit all the schools (though he did visit a classroom at Duval HighSchool twice), has left for Philly where he doesn't have to answer to the parents. 
For more background on the Broad Foundation, check out Parents Across America's Guide to the Broad Foundation's Training Programs and Education Policy.

The future of education will no longer be the Three R's, it will be ROI.

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