"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Rhee's Secret Consultant Assures DC Council on Future of Secret Donations to Bribe Teachers

How do the Broads, Dells, Gates, and Waltons plan to implement teacher pay based on test scores, while killing tenure and due process in urban schools? They plan to pay to get it done, of course, except that it is not costing them a nickel because we taxpayers end up paying them to bribe, if they can, the teachers of DC to acquiesce. You see, every one of the 100 million dollars that the private foundations have pledged to the Fenty-Rhee plan to pay for their union busting comes with a dollar for dollar tax credit from Uncle Sam. See here and here for a little background on the DC battle between the union and the corporate welfare foundations that are pulling the strings for their marionette, Michelle Rhee .

The private non-profit foundations of the Waltons, for instance, function to launder corporate dough in order to buy social policy at taxpayer expense. And all of it is happening in DC without anyone knowing which misanthropists are behind this scheme, or which puppet masters they have hired to move Rhee's hand while she does their dirty work--not that she is not relishing her own performance. Talk about the soaring heights of non-transparency!

Some clips from WaPo:

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has said a financial consultant's report shows that her plan to pay teachers as much as $135,000 a year in salaries and bonuses can be sustained with District dollars after a promised five-year, $100 million contribution by private foundations is spent.

The District's long-term ability to pay for such an unprecedented compensation package is one of several important questions surrounding Rhee's proposal. Leaders of the Washington Teachers' Union have expressed concern about the risks of signing a contract with the District based in part on private funding, given the troubled economic climate.

"What we want is funding that is sustainable," said WTU President George Parker.

Appearing recently on WAMU's "Kojo Nnamdi Show," Rhee said an outside consultant, whom she did not identify, had vetted her compensation proposal.

. . . .

The Washington Post reported on Aug. 3 that people who attended private meetings with Rhee said she named several foundations prepared to underwrite the plan: Bill and Melinda Gates, Eli Broad, Michael and Susan Dell and Robertson. The organizations have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in efforts to improve K-12 education nationwide.

The Gates Foundation said it has had no discussions with Rhee about teacher pay and said so again last week. Dell, which did not respond to a request for comment last summer, said recently that they were briefed on the proposal last year but took no action. Robertson and Broad have declined to comment.

Another major philanthropic group has been mentioned recently as a possible donor by two sources, one familiar with the contract talks and another with knowledge of the private foundation world: the Walton Family Foundation of Bentonville, Ark. The organization contributed more than $100 million to education initiatives in 2007, much of it to charter schools and groups promoting school choice.

A Walton spokesman declined to comment. But in a November interview with Education Week, James C. Blew, Walton's director of K-12 education reform, said the foundation was looking for opportunities to work directly with school districts.

Union officials, who asked for anonymity because of the sensitivity of contract talks, said they were concerned that the prospective donors' identities are being so closely held. They're also concerned that the prospect of heavy foundation financing may be driving the inclusion of certain elements in Rhee's proposals, such as merit pay and the dimunition of teacher tenure.

The Walton Family Foundation, created in 1987 by the late Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, has invested heavily in nonunion charter schools, and critics say many of its contributions reflect an agenda that promotes privatization of public education. Blew told Education Week that the foundation is "totally agnostic" about whether a school is public, private or charter, as long as it is effective. . . . .

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